Coconut vinegar is a staple in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine that is rapidly gaining popularity in the West.
It’s made from the sap of the flowers of coconut trees. This sap ferments for 8–12 months, naturally turning into vinegar.
Coconut vinegar has a cloudy, white appearance and a slightly milder taste than apple cider vinegar. It can add a touch of sweetness to salad dressings, marinades, soups and warm dishes.
It is claimed to offer a range of health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, a stronger immune system and a healthier heart. However, not all benefits are supported by research.
Here are 5 benefits and uses of coconut vinegar, backed by science.
Coconut vinegar is often touted as a rich source of many nutrients, as the sap used to make it is rich in vitamin C and potassium. The sap also contains choline, B vitamins, iron, copper, boron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Research further shows that coconut vinegar provides a range of polyphenols — beneficial plant compounds that may protect against conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Moreover, due to the 8- to 12-month fermentation process, coconut vinegar is also a source of gut-friendly bacteria known as probiotics.
That said, research on how fermentation affects the vinegar’s vitamin and mineral content is lacking. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some manufacturers make coconut vinegar from coconut water rather than coconut sap.
Coconut water contains fewer nutrients than sap and is fermented for a shorter time, using a fermentation starter, such as cane sugar or apple cider vinegar. This is believed to yield a vinegar of lower nutritional value — though no studies can currently confirm this.
Regardless, coconut vinegar is typically consumed in very small amounts, meaning it likely won’t contribute many nutrients or polyphenols to your diet.
Coconut vinegar contains probiotics, polyphenols and may be rich in certain vitamins and minerals. However, it’s typically consumed in small amounts and therefore unlikely to contribute large amounts of nutrients to your diet.
Coconut vinegar may help lower blood sugar levels and offer some protection against type 2 diabetes.
Just like apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar contains acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.
Several studies report that acetic acid may help lower blood sugar spikes after a carb-rich meal.
Research also shows that vinegar may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and help improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 34%.
The blood-sugar-lowering effects of vinegar appear strongest when ingested with meals.
Coconut vinegar may provide similar benefits as other types of vinegar. However, no studies have looked at the direct effects of this type of vinegar on blood sugar levels or diabetes risk. Therefore, more research is needed to confirm these effects.
Coconut vinegar contains acetic acid, a compound which may help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. However, there are no studies specifically on coconut vinegar. Therefore, more research is needed.