Coconut aminos is a dark-colored sauce that tastes similar to soy sauce. Instead of being made from soy, however, coconut aminos comes from the sap of the coconut plant — not coconuts. After extraction, the sap gets stored and ages. During this time, it ferments due to the natural sugars present within it. The final result tastes savory and not at all like coconut.
People often choose coconut aminos over soy sauce for health-related reasons. However, many health claims come from folklore, not scientific research. Still, coconut aminos are soy-free and gluten-free, so they work well for people with allergies to soy or wheat.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people who use coconut aminos do so because of perceived health benefits. Unfortunately, most health claims surrounding coconut aminos haven’t been scientifically researched. Until research is done, be wary of claims you see online and hear from other people about the purported health benefits of coconut aminos.
For now, we can only compare coconut aminos to soy sauce — the product coconut aminos usually replaces. Although we can’t say for sure whether adding coconut aminos to a diet provides health benefits, research suggests that choosing coconut aminos over soy sauce can be beneficial in a few ways:
An Allergy-Friendly Substitute
For many people, coconut aminos are more allergy-friendly than soy sauce. Soy and wheat (or the gluten within wheat) are two of the most common food allergies people have. Soy sauce is made from soy and commonly contains wheat — it is not soy-free and, in most cases, not gluten free. Coconut aminos acts as a soy-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce that provides a similar taste without the risk of allergic reactions.
Reduced Salt Content
Although no research has been done on whether adding coconut aminos to a diet directly improves heart health, using it instead of soy sauce might help. Coconut aminos contains significantly less salt than soy sauce. Consuming too much salt leads to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Using coconut aminos as a lower salt alternative in place of soy sauce could be better for your heart health in the long run.
Some people prefer coconut aminos to soy sauce because it contains less salt content. Since coconut aminos is used in small amounts, it doesn't provide a significant source of nutrients, vitamins, or minerals to most people.
Nutrients per Serving
Five milliliters (roughly one teaspoon) of coconut aminos contains:
- Calories: 40
- Protein: Less than 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 1.7 grams
Things to Look Out For
Although coconut aminos contains lower amounts of sodium than soy sauce, it is not a low-salt food item. If you are looking to limit your salt intake, be sure to carefully read labels and use coconut aminos in small amounts.
When buying coconut aminos, be familiar with naming. Some brands call their coconut aminos, “coconut liquid aminos” or more simply, “liquid aminos.” However, there are also liquid aminos on the market made from soybeans. Double check jar labels that read, “liquid aminos” to make sure you’re getting the right sauce.
How to Use Coconut Aminos
Use coconut aminos as you would use soy sauce. Although the liquid aminos taste slightly less salty and sweeter than traditional soy sauce, you can safely use it as an alternative or replacement to soy sauce.
You can use coconut aminos as:
- Additional flavor for sauces, soups, and salad dressings
- Dipping sauce for sushi, egg rolls, wontons, and more
- Flavoring for rice, noodles, or vegetable dishes
- Marinade for fish, chicken, or other meat
In short, coconut aminos may be used to add flavor to any dish that would taste delicious with soy sauce — but without the risk of allergic reactions to soy or gluten.