Stevia is a leafy plant that is a natural sweetener. As a natural sweetener that is sweeter than table sugar, the plant is still a healthy alternative for people who desire to lower their consumption of sugar. And no, you don’t have to worry about its sweetness as stevia contains zero calories when compared to other sweeteners. As a matter of fact, the plant is 100% natural and is made up of two primary compounds of sweetness –Rebaudioside A and Stevioside.
There are a host of health benefits of stevia and we would be discussing some of them below.
Stevia is a natural sweetener and preferable to artificial sweeteners because it is derived from a plant, especially as plant foods are known to be rich in nutrients. Did you know that you can incorporate stevia into desserts such as yogurt, cakes, puddings and ice creams? You can be sure it will give your food a natural sweetness and boost its taste.
Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
When diabetic patients consume stevia regularly, it helps to lower blood sugar levels and prevent the risks of having diabetes type II. Diabetes is a condition caused by high blood sugar levels in relation to insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. Thus, consuming stevioside-rich foods can be helpful in increasing insulin production which, in turn, lowers blood sugar levels.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Stevia can be helpful in lowering blood pressure because of the presence of stevioside which relaxes the blood vessels and supports the cardiovascular system. Stevioside also plays a role in lowering the risk of an enlarged heart caused by a high blood pressure. In fact, stevioside not only lowers blood pressure levels, it also helps in preventing certain diseases such as stroke.
Promotes Oral Health
We all know how soda and candies can result in tooth decay and may even destroy the tooth’s enamel. However, making use of stevia as a mouthwash or toothpaste can reduce the formation of bacteria in the mouth. That’s not even all–stevia also prevents gingivitis and cavities.
Has Anti-inflammatory Properties
Anti-inflammatory foods are known to prevent illnesses and boost the immune system which, of course, protects the body against bacteria and viruses. Here’s where stevia comes in as it meets the body’s anti-inflammatory needs. Additionally, blueberries, broccoli, and beets, when taken with stevia can actually promote anti-inflammatory functions in the body.
For Healthy Hair
To get rid of a scaly scalp, thin hair and dandruff, add the stevia extract to your regular shampoo. In fact, when used daily, stevia can strengthen the hair, ensure shiny hair as well as aid hair growth.
A regular consumption of vegetables and fruits can help to avert the growth of cancer cells because of their antioxidant properties. And according to some studies, stevia contains antioxidant compounds such as caffeic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, chlorogenic acid, isosteviol, and isoquercitrin. In fact, kaempferol particularly helps to significantly lower the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Helps to Lose Weight
Like we mentioned earlier, stevia contains zero calories and is, in fact, good for people who want to shed extra pounds. Are you worried about adding sugar to beverages such as coffee or tea? Try out the natural sweetener called stevia! Now, you can sweeten your food without gaining extra weight.
Gluten is a protein present in wheat and often contained in certain junk and processed foods like pizza and bread. People who experience the symptoms of celiac such as diarrhea, nausea, and bloating should avoid any gluten foods. Thankfully, those with celiac disease can consume stevia as it is safe and does not contain any gluten.
Promotes Bone Health
The truth is, a regular consumption of stevia can enhance the calcium in the body. Apart from milk, you can take stevia to build your calcium level. With enough calcium, your body is able to build strong bones and inhibit the risks of developing osteoporosis.
Source of Protein
Protein is effective in helping the body to regenerate new cells and replacing the dead cells. Also, this nutrient strengthens the muscles, improve the functions of enzymes, and aid weight loss. This means that by using stevia as a natural sweetener, you would be doing your body a lot of good.
Source of Fiber
Stevia contains fiber and so regulates blood sugar levels, support cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of strokes. Of course, everyone knows how effective fiber-rich foods are in promoting digestion. When the digestive system functions at its optimum, the body finds it easy to absorb nutrients.
Promotes Skin Health
Due to its antioxidant properties, consuming stevia regularly can help lower the chances of premature aging, wrinkles, dermatitis, itchiness, skin blemishes, acne, eczema, and rashes. Simply apply a paste with stevia leaves and coconut oil on the skin to have a radiant and healthy skin.
Source of Iron
Iron, one of the essential minerals needed for optimum body health. It primarily provides oxygen to organs of the body via the production of red blood cells. Iron also helps to inhibit anemia which has chronic fatigue as one of its symptoms. To curb some health conditions resulting from an iron deficiency, you need to consume stevia as well as iron-rich foods.
The Bottom Line
It is important to note that stevia products made with Rebaudioside A are safe and without side effects, even for diabetic patients and pregnant women. However, more studies are needed to conclusively determine its effect on diabetes, weight, and other health conditions.
Additionally, do not forget to use just a little quantity of stevia as it is way sweeter than table sugar.