What Are the Benefits of Coconut Vinegar?

Touted as the new apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar is taking the world by storm. Rich in probiotics, B-complex vitamins and amino acids, it balances your gut flora and supports immune function. This superfood is naturally fermented and preserves its nutritional value. But is it really all that healthy?

Coconut vinegar in rich in probiotics that support digestive health and balance the gut flora. (Image: Towfiqu Photography/Moment/GettyImages)

What Is Coconut Vinegar?

Also known as tuba vinegar, goan vinegar or sukang tuba, this healthful concoction is made from coconut sap or coconut water. The fermentation process increases its probiotic content.

Even though this product is quite new in the U.S., it has been used in Asian countries for centuries. Its advocates say that it's higher in vitamins, minerals and probiotics compared to apple cider vinegar, providing a myriad of health benefits. However, the research concerning its therapeutic properties is limited; most studies have been conducted on the coconut tree sap and its sugars.

The quality of coconut vinegar varies from one brand to the next. The organic vinegar produced by Coconut Secret, for instance, contains no fats, carbs or protein. Therefore, even if this beverage does contain amino acids as its proponents claim, they occur in negligible amounts. Because coconut vinegar is carb-free, it won't spike your blood sugar levels; consider using it as a substitute for sauces, salad dressings and dips.

Keep Your Liver Healthy

A small number of studies confirm the healing power of coconut vinegar. According to a 2017 review published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it may improve liver function and promote recovery.

Researchers have found that mice injected with coconut water vinegar for 14 days experienced significant improvements in liver histology, serum liver profiles and inflammatory markers. Antioxidant levels in the liver increased, too. These findings show that coconut vinegar may protect against liver damage by reducing inflammation and restoring antioxidant activity.

Fight Obesity Naturally

If your goal is to lose a few pounds or prevent weight gain, tuba vinegar may help. First of all, it has no calories, carbs or fats. Secondly, it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.

A 2017 study published in the journal Food & Nutrition Research has found that coconut water vinegar decreased inflammation, body weight and blood lipids in obese mice. At the same time, it triggered positive changes in their gut microbiota by increasing the number of good bacteria.

Mice fed with this beverage experienced an 8.7 to 17.9 percent reduction in body weight. Their total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels dropped too, while HDL (good) cholesterol levels increased. These results demonstrate the potential of coconut water vinegar as a hypolipidemic food.

Balance Your Gut Flora

As Harvard Medical School points out, naturally fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Coconut vinegar is no exception. The live microorganisms that form in these foods through fermentation help restore the gut flora and may improve digestive health.

According to a 2016 review in the journal Nutrients, the benefits of probiotics go beyond better digestion. These friendly gut bacteria have been shown to prevent depression in some people and relieve its symptoms. Another study, which was published in the journal Bipolar Disorders in 2018, has found that probiotic treatment may result in fewer psychiatric rehospitalizations for patients with mania.

How to Use Coconut Vinegar

These are just a few of the potential benefits of coconut vinegar. Even though the research is limited, this natural liquid appears to supports health and well-being. You can buy goan vinegar at grocery stores, health food stores and online retailers.

To reap its benefits, add it to your daily meals. Tuba vinegar goes well in salads, homemade sauces and cooked meals. You can also pour a few drops into herbal teas, smoothies and fruit juices. Its flavor is milder and slightly sweeter than that of apple cider vinegar.

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