Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a well-known cure-all. It promotes weight loss, makes your hair and skin glow, whitens teeth, aids digestion, detoxifies, and reduces heartburn. But when it comes to the latest health food trend, ACV may have some competition: It turns out that coconut vinegar provides the health benefits of rich coconuts and nutrient-dense raw vinegar all in one tasty product.
Why We Love Coconuts
Coconuts have become a very popular health food for a number of reasons. They have strong antioxidant properties that help ward off wrinkles, aid digestion, fight off viruses, balance the body’s hormones, stabilize blood sugar, and hydrate the body. In fact, it’s been shown that populations that eat a lot of coconuts are among the healthiest in the world. I go through a jar of coconut oil a month, using it as a body and face lotion as well as a healthy cooking oil. But coconut vinegar has additional health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Coconut Vinegar
Coconut vinegar is a good source of minerals and phytonutrients, as well as B and C vitamins, fiber, and potassium. What’s more, it’s also a good source of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), probiotics that help with digestion. Perhaps most importantly, although both ACV and coconut vinegar seem acidic, once in the body, they are alkalizing foods. This is significant because an overly acidic body creates a playground for diseases to thrive. Foods like meat, alcohol, coffee, and dairy are all highly acidic, whereas foods like raw vinegar, leafy greens, lemons, root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, cucumbers, and celery are all highly alkalizing foods. If you’ve eaten too many highly acidic foods lately, you may want to balance them out with alkalizing foods like coconut vinegar. When shopping for coconut vinegar make sure to choose a coconut vinegar that’s vegan, gluten-free, organic, raw, and unfiltered: basically, as close to Mother Nature as possible.
How to Use Coconut Vinegar
Coconut vinegar is less pungent than ACV, but it still has the flavor of vinegar. Add it to your favorite salad dressing or marinade recipe. In fact, you can add it to any recipe that requires an acid component, such as potato salad, tuna salad, tomato sauce, or a meringue. It can be used to tenderize meat, make sticky rice, and brighten up gelatin desserts. You can also take it before a meal to further aid digestion. It’s best to dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut vinegar in 8 ounces of water. If you drink it straight, you risk harming the enamel of your teeth.
How Coconut Vinegar Is Made
Coconut vinegar is made from the sap of the coconut tree. A contraption is placed on the tree to collect sap. Then it’s naturally fermented for 45 to 60 days. It’s not heated or filtered. Once the vinegar is properly fermented, it’s bottled for freshness. While ACV is commonly used in North America, coconut vinegar is most often used in Asia, where coconuts are prolific. And now that more people are becoming aware of all the health benefits of coconut vinegar, this good-for-you trend is making its way to a health food store in your neck of the woods.
Make Your Own Coconut Vinegar
Coconut vinegar can also be made with ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. You can make your own healthy vinegar by fermenting coconut water with yeast and sugar. All you have to do is strain coconut water through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, add sugar, and stir well. Boil the mixture to 149 degrees F for 20 minutes, and then transfer to a clean mason jar. Add yeast to the mixture and set aside for a week. Once the mixture has fermented into vinegar, it will be slightly foamy and smell acidic. This means that it’s ready to use.
Coconut vinegar offers the benefits of raw, unfiltered vinegar and coconuts all in one super healthy product. Whether you sip on diluted vinegar and water or enjoy it in a salad dressing, this acidic superfood is worth adding to your health food repertoire.