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Wellness throwdown: Is coconut vinegar the new apple cider vinegar?


Apple cider vinegar‘s long been used as a wellness jack of all trades, put to such amazing and diverse uses as a blemish treatment and digestive remedy to making a killer kale salad. But there’s another (raw, unfiltered) vinegar vying for ACV’s place at the top of the food chain—it’s coconut vinegar. And the health benefits of coconut vinegar are starting to generate a lot of buzz.

The trending topic arose when April Gargiulo, founder of Vintner’s Daughter (and possessor of a seriously glowing complexion) gushed about her love for vinegar. “Oh, apple cider vinegar is great,” she said. “But have you heard about coconut vinegar?? It’s got even more of the good stuff like amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.”

So which one is really better for you? Scroll down to see how the health benefits of apple cider vinegar compares to the health benefits of coconut vinegar.

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coconut trees
Photo: Pexels/Unspalsh

Nutrients, from the ground up

While apples have a ton of nutritional benefits, coconut appears to trump them. Coconut trees are typically grown in extremely nutrient-rich (often volcanic) soil. And because of that, the “sap” that’s produced from tapping the coconut blossoms is packed with good stuff from amino acids to vitamins B and C, fiber, and naturally occurring FOS (a prebiotic for digestive health). Apple cider vinegar has many of the same things, but in trace amounts.


apple cider vinegar
Photo: Stocksy/Jeff Wasserman

So which vinegar should you reach for?

“Raw vinegars have been referenced in studies that date back to Hippocrates,” says Nikki Ostrower, founder of NAO Nutrition. “It’s one of those ancient home remedies, that’s having a popular comeback.”

As Ostrower explains it, both vinegars can be used for the same things, and live up to their hype. She’s seen patients with major digestive problems and acid reflux cured by adding vinegar to their diet. It’s also said to help regulate blood sugar.

Instead of flipping coin, it’s okay if your vinegar of choice is influenced by your zip code. In the U.S., apple cider vinegar reigns supreme (after all, we’ve got a plethora of apples on our hands), Ostrower points out, while in more tropical climes like the Philippines, coconut vinegar is the favorite.

Just make sure you get coconut vinegar made from the coconut sap, not the water. “That’s the good stuff!” says Ostrower, who’s not playing favorites just yet and stocks both vinegars at home. Even with the more recognizable nutritional benefits of coconut vinegar, “we have a lot more research on apple cider vinegar’s benefits, than on coconut’s,” she says.


salad dressing
Photo: Pixabay/Ailinder

How to get your healthy coconut vinegar fix

Ostrower’s favorite way is to add a tablespoon to some Dijon mustard and half an avocado for a rich, creamy salad dressing. But, when she doesn’t have time (or isn’t feeling like a salad), she mixes a tablespoon of the alkalizing vinegar into a glass of water and adds a drop of raw honey for a “healthy, healing tonic.”

Just don’t take it as a shot, she warns. “That whole ‘no pain, no gain, mentality is all wrong. You can really irritate your throat and harm the enamel on your teeth!” As for flavor? “I would say that the coconut is a little bit sweeter than the apple,” Ostrower claims. “But frankly, they both taste like vinegar.”

Another way to get the benefits: drinking vinegars, which are taking over the bottled beverage industry. More focused on trying to give up coffee? Here are some healthy ways to deal with the dreaded coffee crash.