Stevia, Stevia rebaudiana is a kind of herb used mainly as a sweetener. Its origin is South American country of Paraguay. Why would people opt for this sweetener instead of sugar? As demand for low –calorie and low carbohydrate foods goes up, natural sweeteners like Stevia have seen their demand shoot up especially among the modern health-conscious people. Let us however look at the various health benefits in this highly regarded plant.
Health Benefit 1: Natural Food
As a natural sugar plant and unlike synthetic sweeteners, stevia causes no side effect in the body, hence safe to use by both adults and children.
Health Benefit 2: Combats Diabetes
Due to its ability to secrete insulin, Stevia is an indispensable companion for diabetes sufferers. It contains, steviosides, a substance which initiate production and release of insulin, a fact that makes it useful in combating type 2 diabetes. Did you know that Stevia is 40 times sweeter than sugar? Well, that is the incredible potential of stevia, which, despite such high amount of sweetness, is safe to use.
Health Benefit 3: Weight Loss
Stevia has been claimed to reduce food cravings and in particular, fatty foods as well as sweets. This reduction in craving for fattening food and sweets directly impacts on weight loss. You can use the leaves of Stevia or take supplements that are now available in stores. Stevia has almost zero calories.
Health benefit 4: Versatility of Stevia
Beyond using Stevia as a drink, stevia can be cooked and served with other foods such as cakes and pastries.
Health Benefit 5: Healing Properties
The healing properties of Stevia cannot be overstated. The leaves are used on cuts and wounds to alleviate pain and provide immediate healing. Stevia is also useful for promoting smooth and rejuvenated skin health when applied to the face in form of facial mask. The leaves treat such skin disorders as eczema and dermatitis.
Health Benefit 6: Nutrient Rich
That Stevia is mineral and vitamin rich is an understatement. It is rich in various nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, sodium and calium-to name but a few. These nutrients are essential for the general wellbeing.
Health Benefit 7: Anti-oxidant Qualities
The various sterols and antioxidants such as triterpenes, flavonoids, and tannins and flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidant phyto-chemicals such as kaempferol, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and isoquercitrin are useful in fighting free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause various diseases in the body such as cancer.
Health Benefit 8: Blood Sugar control
Stevia contains Chlorogenic acid which lowers conversion of glycogen to glucose by enzymes. At the same time, it lowers the absorption of glucose into the digestive tract. This is useful in regulating blood sugar levels.
Health Benefit 9: Anti-bacterial Properties
As a non-carbohydrate sweetener, Stevia inhibits growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is responsible for various problems in the teeth such as dental caries. When used orally, it aids in fighting gingivitis as well as cavities.
Health Benefit 10: Promotes calcium Production
Stevia is an ideal food for those who need calcium most: children as they grow up, requiring strong bones; and women who are susceptible to bone disorder such as osteoporosis caused by loss of calcium in their bones.