Coconut is truly one of the most versatile foods, and it is fast becoming a kitchen staple in its myriad of forms -be it in its oil, water, sugar, flour and fresh nut forms. But now a lesser known coconut substance is making itself known, coconut aminos.
Coconut aminos is a liquid made from the aged sap of coconut blossoms and salt. The sap is fermented and then blended with sea salt to give a tasty alternative to soy sauce.
Coconut sap naturally ferments; this is due to the sugar, bacteria, and yeast content – no additives are required. The fresh coconut sap is tapped from the unopened flower and is used to make a variety of different food products including sweeteners, syrup, vinegar, alcohol, as well as coconut aminos.
With around 65% less sodium than regular soy sauce, coconut aminos is dark, thick, and salty. It is also slightly sweet, compared with soy sauce.
In recent times, the truth about soy products, including soy sauce, has been exposed and more people are becoming clued up about how soy products are not healthy for the body. Research has found that soy contains estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones, which could promote the growth of some cancer cells, impair female fertility, and mess with thyroid function.
The facts about soy sauce has left many people wanting a healthy alternative, and coconut aminos fit the bill.
Health benefits of coconut aminos
The health benefits of coconut aminos are wide-ranging. Coconut aminos is a natural whole-food that is pH neutral, and is packed with 17 amino acids, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B. It is also a low-glycemic food, which makes them a popular choice for diabetics.
Coconut aminos is also ideal for those with gluten allergies or intolerances, soy allergies or intolerances. It also comes with a reduced risk for heart disease, and colon cancer when compared with soy sauce, given the lack of MSG, GMOs and phytoestrogen and phytic acid.
While there has been no scientific research looking at coconut aminos and the health benefits of this food for the body, the health benefits of coconut sap has been well documented.
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.
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.
Coconut aminos contain the healthy bacterica, Lactobacillus. These bacteria have a positive effect on the body helping inhibit the growth of the fungal candida albicans.
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.
Coconut aminos is also gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals who suffer from coeliac disease.
How to use coconut aminos
Coconut aminos can be used exactly as you would use soy sauce or tamari. It can be used in marinades, sauces, seasonings and dressings, as an alternative to soy sauce. Try substituting soy sauce for coconut aminos instead in any recipe that would usually call for soy sauce.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea