Coconut water has been developing a reputation as a natural sports drink.
Drinking it may make you feel like you're on the cutting edge of coolness, not to mention the newest of the new where health is concerned.
There is something exotic about knowing your drink came out of a coconut. Though you have a bottle or can in your hand, you're picturing yourself holding a coconut with a straw in it, sipping through the straw.
It has a flavor that defies description, tasting like no other drink you may have tried. And there may be something reassuring about knowing this drink is natural, with no added unpronounceable ingredients.
But is it a sports drink?
Depending on who you ask, you will get everything from an enthusiastic "Absolutely!" to an unconvinced "No way." This of course is not unusual when any natural product is discussed.
Still the challenge is to determine what the truth is, in this case, about coconut water.
ScienceDaily.com reported that the American Chemical Society confirmed that coconut water is a sports drink from Mother Nature herself. However this statement needs to be balanced with other available observations.
Chhandashri Bhattacharya, PhD, from Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, said that coconut water does not rival sports drinks like Gatorade for the serious athlete.
Bhattacharya said that coconut water has five times the potassium found in Powerade or Gatorade.
Because the usual American diet does not contain an abundance of potassium and tends to have too much sodium, coconut water could be a good addition to the diets of non-athletic Americans.
A team of researchers including Bhattacharya found that coconut water contained far more potassium and less sodium than Gatorade and Powerade.
The drinks had similar amounts of magnesium and carbohydrates. While lower sodium is good for those who aren't involved in strenuous sports, it is not such a good thing for athletes who sweat a lot.
On the other hand, WebMD.com reported that Dr. Alan Greene recommended coconut water for people who have been exercising for more than an hour, or who have been exercising strenuously.