In the past several years, vinegar has more than doubled its presence on the shelves of supermarkets, health food stores, and even beauty retailers. No longer just a salad topping, this ancient tart condiment is now available in various forms: red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar and, most recently, coconut vinegar. Its popularity can be attributed to both Southeast Asian holistic influence and a new wealth of research to support the claim that vinegars — namely, apple cider and coconut — have an impressive range of health benefits.

Origins and History

For centuries, coconut vinegar has been a staple in Southeast Asian households. Its culinary and therapeutic properties — paired with geographical ease of access — made it a valuable everyday commodity. In the West, it has since evolved from merely "a seasoning, a preservative, and an ingredient for condiments," to a holistic "anti-bacterial, anti-obesity, anti-insulin resistance, and anti-tumour" solution.

close up of many coconuts


Key Nutrients

Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a superfood — an effective contributor to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Researchers who tested coconut vinegar found an equally hearty collection of organic acids, amino acids, peptides, vitamins, mineral salts, and polyphenolic compounds — but with a potential added bonus. Coconut vinegar has a milder taste with significantly more acetic acid, which has demonstrated benefits in reducing blood sugar, curbing appetite, and killing harmful bacteria.

acetic acid laboratory concept


Coconut Water vs Coconut Sap

When you purchase a bottle of coconut vinegar in a store, you are receiving either fermented coconut water or sap. Sap, by nature, is more densely packed with sugar (a necessary catalyst to grow healthy microorganisms) and nutrients but takes much longer to undergo fermentation. The process takes upwards of eight months, but coconut water vinegar can be ready in a matter of weeks.

close up of coconut sap being stirred


Cardiovascular Health

If your coconut vinegar is fermented from a rich sap, it likely packs a powerful potassium punch. Studies link a healthy potassium level with decreased risk of heart attack and lower blood pressure. All types of vinegar fight against inflammation and, if consumed regularly, have the potential to lower cholesterol, as well.

female doctor checking heart beat of female patient


Blood Sugar Benefits

People with type 2 diabetes may be pleased to find that regularly consuming coconut vinegar can lower blood sugar and manage dangerous spikes. Though researchers still aren't sure how exactly the product affects blood glucose levels, compelling evidence from animal and human studies demonstrates how effective acetic acid is in stabilizing them.

blood sugar control concept with vial of blood on chart


Appetite Control

In a two-week study with mice, oral consumption of coconut vinegar significantly reduced factors like body weight and serum lipid profiles. Similar results have been observed in human trials with both coconut and apple cider vinegar. Why? Scientists have long indicated vinegar's ability to slow the rate at which the stomach empties. Taking a small amount with meals helps you feel fuller for longer.

happy woman eating outside


Immunity Boost

A powerful vitamin, acid, and probiotic cocktail, coconut vinegar works to replentish the body with antioxidants and eliminates some harmful bacteria. One notable study discovered its effectiveness in purifying liver tissue after drug-induced damage. After treatment, the subjects experienced had more liver antioxidants and less inflammation. Even topically, used as a household cleaning agent, vinegar can clear up to 95% of bacteria or viruses from surfaces.

immune system healthy foods


Digestive Health

One of the biggest perks associated with a steady coconut vinegar habit is the regular influx of probiotics. Gut health plays a huge role in how you feel throughout the day, and protecting your digestive environment can have lasting benefits on your mood, weight, and energy levels. Several studies within the last decade show positive changes in the gut microbiota as a result of coconut vinegar. The results suggest that the vinegar could help ease or reverse obesity and inflammation.

healthy digestion concept, woman holding heart over stomach


Skin and Hair Cleanse

Due to its powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, coconut vinegar is also valuable as a topical agent. Its most promising cosmetic uses include anti-acne facial toning, scalp-cleansing hair rinses, and dermal itch relief. If you opt to use your solution topically, trust that a little goes a long way. Before you commit to treating an entire area, conduct a spot test to ensure your skin tolerates the acetic acid.

smiling woman admiring her skin in the mirror


Sourcing and Safety

Because coconut vinegar is sourced and fermented in diverse geographic environments, nutrients and potency are not always consistent. Typically, manufacturers who brew coconut vinegar with the mother (the part that sinks to the bottom and contains lots of good bacteria) produce a stronger, unfiltered compound.

Regardless of the method or manufacturer, you should always dilute the solution at a 1:3 (or more water) ratio before drinking or applying the product topically. Doing so will protect your teeth enamel, esophagus, and skin so you are able to safely enjoy the long-term benefits of coconut vinegar.

fresh coconuts sitting beside glass of coconut vinegar


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