Why Coconut Aminos Should Be in Your Kitchen (+ Ways to Use)

coconut aminos- gulten and soy free alternative to soy sauce

Health-conscious people (like us!) often choose to eliminate soy from their diets. I love my stir fries  and Asian-influenced dishes, so soy sauce is one staple I’d often miss.

Thankfully, coconut aminos offer a tasty and even healthier alternative to soy sauce. If you’re already convinced, jump below to read about their benefits and how to use them in your family’s meals.

If not, read on!

Why Not Soy Sauce?

I’ve said before that if you’re going to consume soy you should choose fermented versions. Fermenting increases digestibility and has benefits that help negate some of soy’s harmful effects.

Since soy sauce comes from fermented bean paste, why am I still suggesting an alternative? Here are a few reasons:

It’s a Common Food Allergen

Many people react to soy whether it is fermented or not. Soy sauce often also contains wheat (gluten), another common allergen. (Coconut aminos is always gluten-free.)

It’s High in Sodium

We all know soy sauce is salty, but just a few teaspoons contain more than half of the daily recommended sodium intake for an entire day! You can purchase reduced sodium varieties, but coconut aminos (my recommended alternative) naturally contains 75% less salt than soy sauce.

It’s Often a Source of MSG

Manufacturers commonly add coloring and chemical additives like MSG to enhance flavor or control saltiness. Consuming MSG can lead to migraine headaches, brain cell death, and impaired brain development in young children (source).

Commercial Soy Sauce Usually isn’t Made like Traditional Recipes

Traditional soy sauce ferments naturally for a long period of time and is served raw to preserve the beneficial enzymes. Most commercial producers use a much faster high-tech process called “rapid hydrolysis” that changes naturally occurring glutamates into “an unnatural form of glutamic acid that closely resembles MSG” (source). Certain quality brands stick to more traditional methods, so do your research.

Enough with the bad stuff … enter coconut aminos!

The Many Benefits of Coconut Aminos

Ten years ago coconut products weren’t on most people’s radar, but today the market abounds with alternatives boasting the health benefits of coconuts.

Coconut aminos looks just like soy sauce and has a very similar flavor, though some describe it as more complex and having a more rounded flavor profile than soy sauce. It is made from the sap of the coconut tree, mixed with salt and aged to create a flavorful brew.

Coconut sap, the key ingredient in coconut aminos, offers many health benefits.

Low GI Scale

Although naturally sweet, coconut sap (and coconut aminos) rings in at a low 35 on the GI scale, so it won’t spike your blood sugar. This article discusses how low-GI foods reduce insulin issues and improve the “overall blood glucose and lipid concentrations” in both non-diabetics and diabetics.

Protective Cancer-Fighting Effects

Not only does coconut sap support healthy insulin levels and glucose metabolism, studies show it can have a protective effect on the kidneys. It also contains inositol, a B vitamin complex component that research suggests could help ward off prostate cancer.

Nutrient-Rich and pH-Balanced

Coconut sap contains a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids (more on that in a minute), including high levels of potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins (source). Its neutral pH also helps balance the body and make it alkaline.

(Almost) Complete Amino Acid Profile

Twenty different amino acids make up the proteins in our body. They function as the building blocks of life and are necessary for muscle development and brain health.

Our body can create some of these amino acids on its own, but 9 essential amino acids have to come through diet. Growing babies and children need all of the essential aminos, but they also need arginine, cysteine and tyrosine. Those who aren’t able to properly synthesize certain amino acids well because of genetics or age usually also need what are called conditionally essential amino acids (source).

Coconut sap and aminos have all 9 essential amino acids and 5 out of 7 of the conditionally essential amino acids, as well as a few others to help our bodies out. The sap also contains the amino acid glutamine, which doesn’t turn into MSG since coconut aminos isn’t fermented with a bacteria or yeast.

And that’s not it for good news!

Sustainably Produced

Interestingly enough, coconut trees do not produce coconuts when tapped for sap, since the sap is collected from the coconut blossoms before they mature. As a result some controversy exists about the sustainability of tapping coconut trees.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the World Bank and the Davao Research Center affirm tapping coconut trees for sap as an age-old and highly sustainable practice. For more on this topic, see this helpful article.

Now that you know about coconut aminos, put them to use in your kitchen today!

Where to Get Coconut Aminos

Our local stores don’t carry this versatile condiment yet, so I order at a discount with my membership to Thrive Market. You can grab a free bottle of their coconut aminos here.

How to Use Coconut Aminos

Use coconut aminos in any recipe that calls for soy sauce. Avoid heating coconut aminos, as heat destroys the (natural and good) glutamine content. When you’re cooking, simply add them at the end of the recipe if possible.

Here are Some Recipe Ideas to Get You Started!

Healthy Vegetable Fried “Rice
Meatball Shish Kabobs
Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Grilled Thai Shrimp
Healthy Mandarin Chicken

Have you tried coconut aminos? If not, do you think you will try it?

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Reader Comments

  1. I love your blog and all health-related, because I’ve always been curious how to make a bit healthier choices. Actually, I’ve got a question for you, I’d be really grateful if you had the time to answer <3 So, I'm a 21 year old woman, and recently my periods have been terrible. I take several pain-killers to get through the day. Last week I felt nauseous and had extreme pain in my lower back and stomach that radiated to my legs. I felt hot, dizzy, sweaty, lost all the colour in my face and lips, and I also had diarrhea. (Sorry, TMI probably) I know you're not a doctor, but I recently had blood test taken, and I didn't have any problems with my blood sugar, thyroid or blood in general. My hemoglobin was 135. I don't get what's wrong with me. Right now my menses that normally lasts 6-7 days has lasted 10 days so far… Not sure when/if it's going to stop. I think I probably have some kind of hormonal imbalance (my mood is constantly a bit down and I have fatigue, too), and because you seem to know a lot about these things, I would be glad to get some tips. I don't eat sugar and junk food anymore and have tried to exercise moderately… Anyway, I know that you're not a doctor, but I don't feel like I have gotten any help from them. Nevertheless, thanks for your blog, you're truly an inspiration:)

    • Thanks Maggie! I used to have really uncomfortable periods too. These are the things that helped me: lots of magnesium (i used topical and took magnesium citrate and magnesium theonate internally), methylated b-vitamins, selenium, vitamin d and progesterone cream. I’d certainly work with a doc or qualified practitioner as there are some specific ways to use some of those and they vary based on blood tests, but that is what helps me. Hope that helps some!

      • Thanks for the tips, I hope those will help me:)

    • Hi Maggie,
      Your experience sounds exactly like mine on the first day of my period every month. I’m 21 as well, and I’ve also had a similar experience with doctors, as my PCP’s main solution was to put me on the birth control pill (which, although it would likely work to reduce symptoms, is not the long-term, natural solution I wanted). They did a blood test, and also tested me for endometriosis with a pelvic ultrasound, both of which thankfully showed only normal results. I also went to a naturopathic doctor who put me on an elimination diet, from which I didn’t see any lasting results. I resorted to the internet, and did a lot of research online to find that I likely had a hormonal imbalance (which is what I suspected) and that I had too much estrogen and not enough progesterone, hormones which should work to balance each other out, from what I understand. I tested Evening Primrose Oil as a supplement, which is said to help a lot of people, but for me this further unbalanced my hormones and caused my mood swings to get worse, so I stopped taking it after a week. I have now been taking Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry) as a supplement, which has definitely helped to balance my hormones and make my mood swings much less severe. Unfortunately I can’t say that I’ve seen a significant improvement in pain or symptoms on the first day of my period. When I know it’s coming, I take Aleve (not Midol, as I found the caffeine in it to be a huge contributor towards my cramps!) and I get through it okay, although I normally have to lie down for an hour or two when symptoms start. Once I fall asleep and wake up again, I normally feel much better. I don’t know if any of this will help you but I hope it does, my heart goes out to you and I completely understand what you’re going through <3

      • Thank you Krista<3 I'll look up that supplement!:) Good to know someone's had similar experience, and I'm glad you're doing better now. Thanks 🙂

        • Hi Maggie,
          I have ginger hot tea every morning, it helped me a lot. I don’t have any pain or cramps now. I juiced a few pounds of ginger and freeze the juice into ice cubes. Every morning put couple of ginger juice cubes in a glass of hot water, add a little honey to it and drink. I also don’t drink anything ice cold anymore. I hope this will help you as well.

  2. Can we get coconut aminos in Australia anywhere. Shipping from the US is prohibitively expensive

    • Banaban brand in Australia has coconut aminos, oil, flour, and sugar. Nature Pacific in QLD sells it. Excellent quality product.

  3. I live in Canada so was unable to order the coconut amino’s from Thrive.Is there another brand you would recommend that I might be able to find here?Many thanks!

    • For my fellow Canadians, our labelling laws require “coconut aminos” be labelled as “soy-free seasoning sauce”. So look for that instead of coconut aminos.

  4. I sprinkle about 1/2 oz of coconut aminos over my salad greens as a condiment. So delicious and flavoursome!

  5. Wow, this is exciting! I can’t believe it’s a coconut product. I absolutely love coconut products of all sorts it’s made being healthier so much easier. I plan on adding this one to my other goods! Thank you!

  6. Looking to find some in Canada if anyone knows of where I can find some-thanks!

  7. Where do Bragg Aminos fit in this information?

    • I’m wondering the same thing. I’m about to place an order with Thrive and have Bragg’s liquid aminos in my cart. Now’ I’m debating whether or not to switch to coconut aminos.

  8. Do you know, was coconut sap consumed by traditional cultures?

    • Yes, coconut sap was consumed traditionally. The fresh sap is rather sweet and has a very distinct smell. I do love the sap liquid whenever i can get it locally in india. Traditionally it is used to make toddy, a local fermented liquor. Making coconut sugar is not a traditionally practice. I am not sure what is the process of making coconut animos. I do like soy sauce and would be happy to switch to a coconut product anytime. Thanks Katie, i will give this product a try.

  9. Do you have an opinion on Bragg’s Liquid Aminos compared to the Coconut Aminos? I assume it’s definitely healthier than standard soy sauce, but I am wondering if my current health struggles would warrant completely eliminating soy in all forms. As of now, this is the only soy I consume, unless I need to grab a protein bar…

    • I agree that it is better than regular soy sauce, but I stick to natural coconut aminos most of the time

  10. Thanks for letting “fellow Canadians” know regarding labeling!!!

  11. What’s wrong with tamari as a substitute for soy sauce?

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