Coconut yogurt is thick, creamy, probiotic-rich, gut-healthy, and oh-so delicious!
However, most store-bought yogurts often contain a lot of additives (like gums and carrageenan) and sweeteners and can be very expensive. Making your own coconut yogurt is super easy. Before I introduce the recipe, here’s a few key benefits of coconut milk.
Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, the fruit of the coconut tree. The solid flesh is mixed with water to make the milk, which is about 50% water.
Coconut milk is high in saturated fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which benefit weight loss, body composition, and metabolism. MCTs go from the digestive tract directly to the liver, where they’re used for energy (and less likely to be stored as fat). Studies have shown that MCTs help to burn calories, control body weight, balance satiety, and may help you lose fat in the abdominal area.1
About half the fat in coconuts comes from a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid, a compound that contains strong anti-inflammatory properties. When lauric acid is digested, it also forms a substance called monolaurin, which can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
For example, monolaurin has been found to help kill the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.
Coconut is also loaded with minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, which most people are deficient in yet is critical for maintaining healthy blood pressure and aids in water balance in the body to counteract too much sodium (bye-bye bloat!). The high folate content is essential for red blood cell function, healthy metabolism, and proper brain development in infants. The folate is a potent antioxidant that is important for preventing the yogurt from spoiling.
While not a complete source of protein, coconut is packed with amino acids.
Containing 17 out of the 20 amino acids needed for optimal protein formation, it is particularly high in threonine2, an amino acid needed to protect the liver, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and to support the formation of collagen in the body. For your muscles, it builds connective tissues and maintains elasticity in the body, even in the heart. Threonine also supports health tooth enamel and speeds up wound healing.3
What You’ll Need to Make Your Own Yogurt
You will need a sterile 16-20-ounce sterile jar and a plastic, wooden, or ceramic spoon (do not use a metal spoon). Use full-fat coconut milk with no additives (just coconut and water). The probiotics should be very fresh and have been stored in the refrigerator (and should not contain prebiotics or enzymes). You will also need a small, clean towel or some cheese cloth to cover the jar. Make sure that your hands are clean and that your jar, spoon, and cheesecloth are clean. Handle the spoon by the shaft only. You may want to rinse your clean jar and spoon with boiling water and allow to air dry as any bacteria will interfere with the fermentation process and spoil the yogurt.
If your yogurt turns an odd color or has a foul odor, this is likely due to bacteria. Discard this batch and start over. Be sure to use organic coconut milk in a BPA-free (bisphenol A) can or container.
Yogurt takes time to ferment, so begin making it a few days before you wish to enjoy it. If your kitchen is very cold, find a warmer place –the ideal temperature is 75 degrees. If your coconut milk has a top layer of cream and liquid on the bottom, either stir it to combine or if you want extra creamy yogurt, scoop off the top layer to make the yogurt and use the watery part in a smoothie (and reduce the probiotics to one or two capsules).
To thicken your yogurt even more after it’s made, place two layers of cheesecloth over a fine mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl and pour in the yogurt. Loosely cover the top and refrigerate, allowing it to chill for several hours.