Full of umami (savory) flavor, liquid aminos seems to be popping up in recipes more than ever before. Basically soy sauce's fancier cousin, liquid aminos is a salty brown liquid that can be used any place you would normally use soy sauce or tamari.
Two types of liquid aminos exist: soy or coconut. The soy version is made from only soybeans and water, while the coconut variety's ingredients are coconut tree sap and sea salt. Both are great options for those avoiding wheat or alcohol, two ingredients that are normally found in traditional soy sauces. Because of this, liquid aminos is naturally gluten-free and paleo-friendly.
Liquid aminos are a great option for vegetarians and vegans to get an extra boost of nutrients. The human body needs 20 standard amino acids to properly function. Some of these naturally occur in the body (non-essential amino acids), but nine amino acids (essential amino acids) must come from the diet. While animal protein is a natural food source of amino acids, it's also available in smaller amounts to plant-based eaters in foods like whole grains, legumes, and nuts or seeds.
The popular brand Bragg Liquid Aminos contains 16 amino acids, both essential and non-essential. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos contains 17 varieties. While these two condiments are great for marinades, soups, stir-frys, and more, sodium is also something to keep an eye on. Bragg's contains 320mg of sodium per teaspoon, but Coconut Secret clocks in at 90mg.
Bottom line: Liquid aminos, of both the soy and coconut varieties, is a flavorful and healthy ingredient you should add to your diet, but be aware that neither contain all essential amino acids and can potentially be high in sodium. It's important to focus on eating a varied and wholesome diet to get your essentials of all nutrients.