I had briefly heard of tocos (or tocotrienols), but never paid much attention to it. Yet a few months ago Instagram I was shown an ad for a company making a tocos-powder based vegan creamer. It promised a light yet creamy dairy-free creamer option for coffee or tea, and the health benefits sounded pretty awesome, too. But what is tocos? Do you really need this new superfood in your diet?
Once that Instagram advertisement hit my screen, I was hooked (a win for IG targeting, BTW). As I always do, I peeked at the brand website and found that the said magic creamer was made with only tocos and one other ingredient of little consequence. I deduced that I could just buy the tocos and try it myself for less than half the price.
Once I found out what tocos really was, and learned all the things I could do with it, I quickly became obsessed!
I was talking to my sweetheart, the wellness clerk at the local health food store, my herbalist, and telling nearly everyone else about this miracle product that was soon to be in my kitchen. An easy to use vegan creamer without sugar that is good for you AND tastes like vanilla ice cream? I could not wait to try this magic product!
What is Tocos? What are Tocotrienols?
Tocos is the abbreviated name for tocotrienols, ‘stabilized rice bran solubles’ extracted from rice. It’s a very fine, fluffy powder that can be very messy if it’s windy or if you’re not careful! Tocos instantly dissolve in any liquid, so whatever you use with the tocos (spoons, jars, etc) must be super dry. But this also means that tocos can be used in drinks warm or cold, or blended into literally anything.
Tocotrienols are naturally found in lots of different foods (like the bran of rice and wheat, nuts, grains, seeds and oils). These compounds are just part of what makes up the vitamin E family, and all have antioxidant properties, with some being more powerful than others.
What are the Health Benefits of Tocos?
The primary health benefit of tocos is the high amount of vitamin E, which is great for skin and hair and is also a powerful antioxidant So you can think of it as a vitamin E supplement for your daily routine.
Elyssa Goldberg writing on Bon Appetit says that, “There’s extensive scientific research on the benefits of vitamin E, the class to which tocotrienols belong, says nutritionist Dr. Christopher Brown. Since research on vitamin E began in the 1920s, studies have flagged it as a powerful antioxidant, fertility aid, and dementia-prevention supplement.” SunPotion, one of the brands that sells organic tocos, says it’s the ‘ultimate skin food.’ The Chalkboard Mag says it’s also a good source of Vitamin D, but I couldn’t find that corroborated anywhere else (and the TerraSoul nutrition information shows no trace of Vitamin D).
How do you Use Tocos?
Over the past weeks of experimenting with tocos, I’ve used it blended into my macha lattes, golden milk, my morning tea, and even just with water for the initial sampling. I was told (via bloggers and brands) that it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream, which is true in the same way that La Croix waters taste like their respective flavors – that is, barely.
The flavor is pleasant enough, and when blended with matcha or turmeric milk, it’s totally indistinguishable. But mixed into tea or coffee as an alternative creamer it’s there, but tastes and feels like a very watered down almond milk – again, it’s barely there. You could also blend into smoothies, add to chia puddings, or oatmeal, something creamy where the subtle flavor would blend seamlessly and be invisible. Not too many vitamin E supplements can say that (hands up if you have tried flaxseed oil, ick).
Should I buy Tocos?
I’m a firm MAYBE about this superfood. Below are the pros and cons of tocotrienols:
Flavor/Texture of Tocos: The kinda-sorta vanilla ice cream flavor is there, slightly. For texture, if you like cream in your coffee or tea, it’s just not going to be that consistency, but it could certainly reduce the amount of cream you’d need. And if you like just a tiny bit of creamer, the thin, creamy consistency of tocos might be just right for you.
Health Benefits of Tocos: As for the health benefits, I’m not sure if I need it – or if anyone needs it. Between my humid climate (Hawaii) and my healthy and high-fat diet full of nuts, seeds, and plant oils, I think I get all the vitamin E and healthy oils that my skin needs. My daily multivitamin has 65% of my DV for Vitamin E, but it’s always good to boost that.
I think tocos would be especially helpful if you lived in a drier and/or colder climate, as having extra vitamin E is really helpful for improving dry skin and hair. I think tocos would be beneficial if you already have drier skin, regardless of climate or season. Apparently this superfood can also be blended into your skincare, like face masks, as the deeply hydrating oils can also penetrate the skin directly. Also a mask made from tocos would smell SO GOOD!
Cost of Tocos: This is one of the less-expensive supplements out there. Also, you only need about a Tablespoon per beverage, and my TerraSoul bag more than filled up a quart-sized jar, so it’s going to last forever. SunPotion makes another option that is relatively affordable (relative to buying other superfood things).
Have you tried tocos? Do you love it? Do you think it helps your body? I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!