What is Stevia?
Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that has no calories or carbohydrates. Native to certain regions of South America, the leaves of the Stevia plant have been used as both a sweetener and a medicine since ancient times. Stevia extract is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar, and research shows that it’s just as satisfying to the body as sugar from other sources. We use the FDA-approved Reb A extract form of stevia.
What is Stevia History
Stevia is a plant native to South America. It is part of the sunflower family and its leaves are naturally sweet. In fact, the indigenous people used to chew them for their sweet taste and use them to naturally sweeten beverages. As a product of nature, the stevia plant is actually quite complex. Its leaves contain different sweet tasting components, scientifically called steviol glycosides. There are many different kinds of steviol glycosides, but 11 of them are most abundant in a typical leaf. Each of these steviol glycosides has its own unique taste profile and sweetness intensity and each can be anywhere from 200 to 350 times sweeter than sugar – but all without the calories.
How is stevia made?
Stevia has been used for hundreds of years and today its use in foods and beverages is backed by modern science. The form of stevia found in today’s food and beverages around the world is generally high-purity stevia leaf extract, which is a purified form of stevia extract that has been evaluated and approved by global regulatory agencies. There are over 200 scientific research studies that support the safety of high purity stevia extracts for use in foods and beverages and demonstrate the properties of stevia and its metabolism.
Stevia leaf extract is produced through a process that is similar to how other plant ingredients, such as sugar and vanilla are produced. The sweet molecules called steviol glycosides of the stevia plant are naturally found in the stevia leaf and are extracted and purified to produce stevia ingredients with a purely sweet taste. There are many steviol glycosides naturally present in the stevia leaf. Purified stevia leaf extracts can contain one steviol glycoside or several different glycosides, which can be up to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.
High purity stevia leaf extract is a versatile sweetening ingredient for foods and beverages and offers consumers and food and beverage producers a new option for natural-origin sweetness without the calories.
Health Benefits Stevia
A study carried out on the chicken shows that adding the powder of stevia leaves to chicken feed significantly increased the metabolism of calcium in the chicken and decreased 75% of eggshell breakage. An application for treatment for osteoporosis with stevia suggests that it can help to promote the calcium absorption in the body and improve the bone density.
For this treatment, make alfalfa & stevia tea by steeping 1/2 teaspoon each of alfalfa herb & stevia for 5 to 7 minutes. Drink it 2 to 3 times daily. Or, you may also add vitamin D powder to this tea or take its supplements.
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.
3#.Great Sugar Alternative For Diabetics
Since stevia does not impact blood glucose or trigger an insulin response, it is an excellent option for diabetics that desire a more flexible dietary plan. The plant is even thought to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and promote the health of the pancreas.
Note: People who suffer from low blood sugar should not drink stevia tea because it may result in a drop in the blood sugar levels.
4#.Improve Cholesterol Levels
According to a study in 2009, stevia extract contains positive & encouraging effects on the cholesterol profiles. In addition, many researchers also found that stevia did not cause any side effect on the health of the subjects participating in this study. Researchers concluded that the stevia extract reduces high serum cholesterol levels, including bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol.
5#.Treat Heartburn & Indigestion
Stevia tea has been used by people in Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil to soothe heartburn & upset stomach, improve gastrointestinal function, and treat indigestion. Having a cup of stevia tea after each meal is great for the digestive system and reduces heartburn & stomach pain. To get the benefits of stevia on health, drink 1 cup of tepid stevia tea to treat indigestion or take a cup of cooled stevia tea to combat heartburn!
6#.Reduces The Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer
The stevia plant contains a variety of beneficial sterols and antioxidants in particular kaempferol. These substances are thought to be beneficial in reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Compared to sugar, which contains fructose, stevia may be a better option. Fructose remains in the blood longer and can potentially fuel the growth of pancreatic cancer.
7#.Help To Lower Blood Pressure
Some of the glycosides contained in stevia extract demonstrate the ability to dilate blood vessels and increase the output of urine and sodium. When taken in higher doses, these actions could potentially help decrease blood pressure. For this reason, stevia could also regulate heartbeat.
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.
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.
Stevia contains a compound called retinoic acid that thwarts the progression of wrinkles. It works by inhibiting the breakdown of skin cells mainly collagen and elastin. Moreover, it reduces sebum production and also enhances the lifespan of the skin cells.
Stevia concentrate is believed to be beneficial for dandruff, dry scalp, and dull, dry and thin hair. People have noticed stronger, dandruff-free and rejuvenated hair after the regular use of Stevia. Simply mix 3-4 drops of Stevia concentrate into your regular shampoo and wash as normal. Also, after shampooing, using stevia tea as a conditioner and rinsing it out after 5 minutes can help retain natural hair colour and strength.
There are some studies that offer little evidence for the stevia’s ability to enhance memory & learning. A study in mice found better memory and learning performance in mice used stevia than in other mice that were not.
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.
14#.Treat Upset Stomach
One of other benefits of stevia on health is to treat upset stomach because it contains tonic effects on the stomach. Simply, steep a few stevia leaves in hot water and drink this solution to settle an upset stomach.
15#.Help For Smokers
Some smokers can break their habit by putting some stevia leaves in the mouth and chewing them when having a craving for a tobacco.
What Are The Side Effects Of Stevia?
Stevia is likely safe when taken in moderation. According to the intensive global studies & scientific reports, it is safe for you when using steviol glycosides and its acceptable daily intake is 4 mg/kg of the body weight. Nevertheless, if you are taking medication for hypertension or diabetes, avoid consuming stevia because of its anti-glycemic & anti-hypertensive effects. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, consult your doctor before using stevia.
You can buy stevia at herbal food stores and organic grocery in the form of white or green powder, raw dried leaves, granulated or crystalline sugar, sugar tabs, flavored & non-flavored liquids, and concentrate. When buying stevia, remember to look for Stevia rebaudiana as it is the best kind.
Here are a few of benefits of stevia on health and beauty that you should be aware of. We hope that this article can help you know more about this plant as well as its uses. If you know other benefits of stevia on health and beauty, please share with us.