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Coconut Aminos Are the Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo Alternative to Soy Sauce

If you follow Paleo blogs, you've probably seen recipes calling for this condiment as a substitute for soy sauce, but what exactly are coconut aminos anyway? The bottled sauce you find in stores is made by fermenting the sap of coconut trees, which yields a dark sauce that's rich in amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

What makes coconut aminos healthy?

First and foremost, coconut aminos are the smart and safe choice for anyone who is allergic to soy. The taste of soy sauce should be enjoyed by everyone, right? It's also the best bet for anyone with Celiac's disease or gluten-intolerance, as coconut aminos are naturally gluten free. Traditional soy sauce does contain gluten with the exception of tamari. (To be fair, there are still some pretty nice Healthy Benefits of Soy.)

Serena Marie, R.D., a dietitian based in Brooklyn, says she also recommends coconut aminos for her Paleo clients (the Paleo diet does not include any soy) or for those who are trying to avoid GMOs. Soy is actually one of the most common genetically engineered (GE) foods among American crops—with the USDA Economic Research Service reporting that 94 percent of all land used to farm soybeans contains herbicide-resistant GE crops. Coconut, meanwhile, is not a genetically modified crop, therefore making sure GMOs won't make into your bottle of coconut aminos.

Coconut aminos are also a good choice if you have high blood pressure because it's much less salty than soy sauce, sometimes costing as much as 65 percent less in sodium. If you don't have high BP and you miss the salty flavor of soy sauce, you can sprinkle a pinch of salt on dishes seasoned with coconut aminos, says Marie.

Bonus benefit: Since coconut aminos are fermented, it's possible that they could contain some beneficial live bacteria (that's the kind your digestive system really likes). Marie says emerging science shows this kind of healthy bacteria is good for your colon, gut, and immune system. (Should You Be Eating More Fermented Foods and Drinks?)

How to eat coconut aminos

It's pretty obvious that coconut aminos work in just about any dish that you'd normally use soy sauce. So use it to dip your sushi roll or try it as a sauce base for stir-fried zoodles. You can even stir a bit into chili for an unexpected kick of flavor.

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