Coconut aminos – yet another coconut product that is said to have an array of health benefits. What is it? What do you use it for and most importantly, does it fit into my diet plan?
Sold as a condiment, coconut aminos is a dark colored, sweet, salty alternative to soy sauce or tamari. Coconut aminos liquid is promoted for its low glycemic and low salt content. This natural nutrient-rich raw sauce is totally soy-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and rich in amino acids – hence its name.
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Definitely a popular product, coconut aminos has been embraced by the paleo diet, gluten allergy sufferers, and those looking for a substitute for unhealthy soy sauce. Let’s have a look at this food, its nutritional and health benefits so you can choose if coconut aminos deserves a place in your kitchen.
Table of Contents
What are Coconut Aminos?
Unlike coconut oil, coconut aminos is not made from the mature coconut nut, but from it’s natural fermented raw coconut ‘sap’ (coconut-blossom nectar) and mineral-rich sea salt.
The fresh coconut sap is tapped from the unopened flower and is used to make a variety different food products including sweeteners, syrup, vinegar, alcohol, and coconut aminos.
Coconut sap naturally ferments; this is due to the sugar, bacteria, and yeast content – no additives are required. The resulting special aged liquid has changed from its original oyster white color to a dark brown. This liquid is blended with unrefined sea salt to make the delicious tasting sauce called coconut aminos.
Coconut aminos is a natural whole-food that is pH neutral, containing various trace minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C and B complex vitamins. It also contains 16 essential and non-essential amino acids. 1
Are Coconut Aminos Liquid Healthy?
Can food that contains sugar and salt be healthy? If you look at the alternatives, such as soy sauce, then coconut aminos is a healthier option.
For a single serving (5g coconut aminos), there are 5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate, and zero fat.
Compared to soy sauce, the sodium content of coconut aminos is 73% less. One 5g serving of coconut aminos has 113 mg of sodium. That is 5% of the daily recommended allowance (RDA). 2
Coconut aminos is reported to have a low-glycemic index (GI) of 35. Foods that have a low-glycemic index are slowly broken down by the body, gradually raise the blood sugar levels, and make you feel fuller longer.
Health benefits of eating foods with a low GI index are important for individuals who suffer from diabetes to help control blood glucose levels. A low GI diet is a healthy way to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and maintain a healthy body weight.
Using coconut amino seasoning sauce in your diet as a substitute in Asian food cooking to replace soy sauce is a healthy option.
Next, we look at the benefits of coconut aminos for overall health.
Health Benefits of Coconut Aminos
There have been no specific scientific studies looking at coconut aminos and the potential health benefits of this food for the body. However, coconut sap has been studied in its fresh and fermented state and analyzed to find the nutritional content and chemical composition. The amino acids and phenolic compounds present in coconut aminos have been extensively researched for their health-promoting actions. 3
Coconut aminos contains 16 essential and non-essential amino acids. Amino acids are important for many functions in the body including being key to the transport and storage of nutrients. They are essential to healing and tissue repair as they are part of the building blocks of our body’s cells.
The natural fermentation process that fresh coconut sap undergoes increases the number of bacteria, yeasts, and organic acids. These organic acids help aid the digestion of food and the bacteria help promote healthy gut flora growth. 4
Fermented foods are believed to be a healthy way to improve the gut microbiome as fermented foods contain natural probiotics. Probiotics have been shown to have a positive effect on health as they help boost the immune system and prebiotic feed healthy bacteria thus improving the digestive tract, helping decrease allergy symptoms and aiding in the absorption of nutrients from food. 5 6 7
The prevalence of fungal infections has risen and affect many people in society. One of the most common is candidiasis overgrowth in the digestive tract. It is known to cause gastrointestinal symptoms – the most common being excess gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. Lactobacillus is one of the bacteria in coconut aminos. These bacteria have a positive effect on the body helping inhibit the growth of the fungal candida albicans. 8 9
Individuals who are sensitive to monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common food additive in soy sauce, can use coconut aminos as an alternative to soy sauce, as coconut aminos sauce does not contain MSG. MSG has been known to cause migraine headaches, increase blood pressure, and other negative effects on the body. 10
Coconut aminos is a gluten-free sauce meaning it is suitable for individuals who suffer from celiac disease. This food is a safe alternative to soy sauce which often contains wheat.
Coconut Aminos vs Soy Sauce
There’s a lot of talk about coconut amino being better than soy sauce so let’s take a look at what the hypes about!
- Not all soy is created equal – Soy sauce is either a fermented or unfermented product. Fermented soy sauce is a healthy condiment that is full of probiotic properties. Unfermented soy sauce is not and often contain wheat. 11
- A good deal of soy sauce products are GMO – Genetically modified (GMO) products are not as nature intended and the adverse effects on human health are not yet fully known. GMO foods are known to cause allergies, and soy is a common allergy food in children. 12 13
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – Soy sauce that has been synthetically fermented using a chemical process often contains MSG. MSG is known to be the cause of the ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’. Individuals who are sensitive to this common food additive suffer from varying symptoms including headaches, muscle pain, and weakness. 14 10
- High sodium content – Any diet high in sodium can cause high blood pressure. Soy sauce has 73% more sodium than coconut aminos. 15 16
There’s a rundown of the negatives of soy sauce and why many consumers are opting for alternatives to commercial soy sauce brands.
That’s where coconut aminos steps in with its lower salt, lower sugar, and GMO free credentials. Coconut aminos fits this niche in the market offering a tasty, condiment for gluten-free, vegan, and savvy green-minded consumers. It’s sustainability and organic status ticks boxes for consumers looking for 100% natural food.
How To Use Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos seasoning sauce is suitable for a variety of dishes and cuisines. It has a lot of applications in cooking marinades, sautés, salad dressings, dipping sauces and for use in any recipe to replace soy sauce.
Being similar in texture and taste to soy sauce, coconut amino seasoning adds a savory flavor to any Asian dish. Stir fry with vegetables, meat or fish this condiment suits all.
Although coconut aminos is derived from coconut sap it has no coconut taste, its sweet and savory with a slightly salty flavor. Get creative in the kitchen and utilize coconut aminos into everything from vinaigrette salad dressings, dipping sauces for sushi, a kick to your curries, a tartness to your soups and even to make an alternative Bloody Mary!
Coconut Aminos + Your Diet
Where does coconut aminos sauce fit into your diet? As discussed it is an alternative to soy sauce, non-GMO, no MSG, gluten-free, vegan friendly and 100% natural. Coconut aminos fits many dietary restrictions and is suitable for anyone on the following diets:
A healthy balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, protein, and healthy carbohydrates is recommended for optimal health. There are many diet plans that people follow to improve their health including choosing a vegan lifestyle.
Individuals can be restricted to a certain diet due to suffering from a food intolerance. Common food intolerances include soy, wheat, dairy, and the additive monosodium glutamate MSG. Another condition that restricts diet is celiac disease which is a common digestive condition caused by an adverse reaction to the dietary protein gluten and requires gluten-free foods.
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The growing popularity of the Ketogenic (keto) diet and Paleo diet restrict the intake of certain foods. In the case of the Paleo diet eliminating grains and legumes meaning no soy beans so an alternative to soy sauce is needed. For the Keto diet, soy sauce is not recommended as the high salt content can cause fluid retention.
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Then there is the autoimmune protocol diet (AIP). This is a diet that excludes foods and focuses on healing the immune system and gut inflammation. The AIP diet restricts legumes such as the soybean. Soy sauce is known to contain the artificial additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) which can increase inflammation so it is restricted on the AIP diet. Coconut aminos is MSG free and therefore is allowed as a replacement for soy sauce in the AIP diet.
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The Candida diet is an anti inflammatory diet designed to reduce your sugar intake, improve and rebalance good gut floras. Thus reducing the overgrowth of candida in the digestive system. Fermented foods are allowed on this diet and as stated above coconut aminos contains friendly bacteria which inhibit the growth of the fungal candida albicans.
Side Effects of Coconut Aminos
There are no known reported side effects of consuming coconut aminos. Although those individuals who are allergic to coconuts should avoid consumption of coconut aminos. There are no noted indications with medications. If in doubt seek the advice of your doctor prior to adding coconut aminos to your diet routine.
Availability and Cost of Coconut Aminos
There are many companies selling coconut aminos, you might not find it stocked on the shelves of your local convenience store. The larger health food stores will stock coconut aminos, but the internet has the largest choice of coconut aminos.
You should look for a coconut aminos product that is 100% organic and supplied in a glass bottle. It has a long shelf life and is suitable for many types of diet requirements.
Coconut aminos is more expensive than soy sauce but not overly costly. It is recommended to store your bottle of coconut aminos sauce in the refrigerator once opened.
The last word on coconut aminos: it is a 100% organic, sustainable, gluten-free, kosher, vegan and free of GMOs and MSG. A natural low salt alternative to soy sauce you can use in cooking. Great if you’re omitting soy from your diet and do not like the unhealthy side effects associated with soy sauce.
Coconut aminos sauce is an allowed food on the Keto, Paleo, Candida and AIP diets. This salty-sweet condiment is full of flavor, low in salt and has no trans fats. As a fermented food, it is great for maintaining a healthy gut flora balance.
However, if you’re after science proven health benefits of the coconut plant try sticking to coconut water and oil.
Take care you could see coconut products overtaking your cupboard space there are other foods that are healthy remember variety is the spice of life.
Coconut Aminos Sources & Citations
If you want to dig into the science behind coconut aminos – here’s some of the sources we cited:
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