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  • Writer's pictureElise Johnson

What Exactly are Coconut Aminos?

Updated: Apr 10

When I began my health journey or my “health adventure” as I like to call it, I started to pay close attention to what I was eating and cooking. It was then that I began to realize that everything - every bite and every sip - I ate and drank was a choice and the sicker I became the more I realized that these choices MATTERED. I recognized that certain types of ingredients and foods caused me inflammation which led to pain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight gain, and dystonia among other things. In fact, I learned that certain social, environmental and lifestyle factors caused the systemic chronic inflammation I was suffering from. This is when my desire to become a “conscious cook” began.

I began to change my lifestyle, especially the foods I consumed, by researching all I could about healthier alternatives and nutrient-dense whole foods. That is actually how I found The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). While learning about healthier foods and cooking techniques, there were many ingredients that sounded foreign to me. I may have come across some a time or two, but many I knew little or nothing about. Things like arrowroot powder, amaranth, nutritional yeast, hemp hearts, collagen peptides, matcha powder, spirulina, tempeh, ashwagandha, xanthum gum, ground flaxseed, coconut sugar, almond, coconut and spelt flours and coconut aminos now have a place in our well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, freezer and recipes.

I am often asked by individuals interested in learning about healthier alternatives and those dealing with chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure specific questions about certain foods.

Some of the most-asked questions I receive are related to condiments and the best ways to flavor your food. Today, I would like to share with you some information in regards to the highly-utilized condiment — soy sauce. You may be surprised by the amount of sodium in soy sauce and the differences in various brands. I am often asked,

"What is an alternative to soy sauce?" My answer is coconut aminos.

“What exactly are coconut aminos?

”Is it the same as coco aminos?"

”Are all coconut aminos brands the same?”

These are very good questions and I have answers.

Picture of sesame dressing and different brands of coconut aminos.
What Exactly are Coconut Aminos

What exactly are coconut aminos?

Coconut aminos, sometimes referred to as coco aminos or coconut liquid aminos, are made from the nectar of coconut blossoms. The blossoms’ nectar is fermented in salt. Similar to soy sauce and tamari, it becomes a dark thin liquid with a similar umami flavor, but the great news is that it contains up to 75% LESS SODIUM than soy sauce, tamari, and shoyu (Japanese style) even when it comes to their lower sodium versions. Knowing that a diet high in salt is detrimental to your heart health, or cardiovascular system, and that it leads to increased blood pressure, the use of coconut aminos is a great option when you are desiring that umami flavor found in Asian cuisine.

Do Coconut Aminos Taste Like Coconut?

While coconut aminos are formed from the nectar of coconut blossoms, it does not taste anything like the fruit, or drupe, grown on the tree. It is that umami flavor (savory, salty with a bit of sweetness and a slightly buttery aftertaste) that adds depth to a recipe.

Health Benefits of Coconut Aminos

  • only contains two ingredients - nectar and salt

  • contains no refined sugars

  • contains no added fillers like thickeners, MSG (monosodium glutamate), or "natural flavors"

  • soy free, gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free and nut-free for individuals with food allergies

  • adds great flavor to many recipes

  • only need to use a small amount for big flavor

Sodium Comparisons

The next time you go to grab that bottle of soy sauce from the grocery store shelf or pick up that takeout order, remember these facts:

Ingredients found in tamari: water, soybeans, salt, alcohol (to preserve freshness)

Ingredients found in most soy sauces: water, soybeans, wheat, salt, lactic acid, sodium benzoate, and preservatives

Ingredients found in shoyu: Salt, Soy, Wheat

Ingredients in Secret Coconut Aminos: Organic Coconut Tree Sap aged and blended with Sun-Dried, Mineral-Rich Sea Salt

  • 1 tbsp tamari = 980 mg sodium

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce = 920 mg sodium

  • 1 tbsp shoyu = 910 mg sodium

  • 1 tbsp organic low-sodium soy sauce = 704 mg sodium

  • 1 tbsp Secret Coconut coconut aminos = 270 mg sodium

Even coconut aminos brands vary in the amount of sodium they contain. It is so important to read your labels. Notice how much sodium is found in the Secret Coconut brand. The amount is far less than the other two brands.

Braggs coconut aminos: 1 tbsp = 870 mg sodium

Big Tree Farm Organic Coconut Aminos: 1 tbsp = 480 mg sodium

Secret Coconut Coconut Aminos: 1 tbsp = 270 mg sodium

Considering the amount of sodium, please use this seasoning sparingly; a little goes a long way. Your tastebuds will change significantly overtime and for the better. Just like sugar, you will enjoy your food with less salt overtime.

One recipe that uses coconut aminos is this sesame vinaigrette. As mentioned above, a little goes a long way.

Sesame Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette should be used sparingly. It is very flavorful. I simply drizzle a tiny amount over our salads, vegetables, cooked chicken and lettuce wraps.

Enjoy and be well!


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