We all know that sugar is bad for our health and is highly addictive. Because of this, many people are looking for alternative, natural sweeteners to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Stevia plant is a small, sweet-leaf herb of South American origin used for medicinal purposes by the native Guarani tribes of Paraguay for centuries. The plant has also been bred for its strong, sweet flavour and used as a sweetener. However, the refined stevia sweeteners used today often don’t resemble the whole stevia plant at all.
You can buy whole or crushed stevia leaves, but most often you are getting an extract (either liquid or powder), or a refined version of the plant’s isolated sweet compounds.
The two major sweet compounds that are isolated from the stevia leaves are called Stevioside and Rebaudioside A. These two compounds are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.
People often confuse stevia with another sweetener called Truvia, but they are not the same. Truvia is a blend of compounds, one of which is extracted from stevia leaves.
Nutritional Value of Stevia
Stevia is valued most for its sweet leaves and its ability to replace sugar in a diet, but stevia also contains a wealth of antioxidant compounds, such as flavonoids, triterpenes, tannins, caffein acid, kaempferol, and quercetin, among others. The stevia plant also contains fibre, protein, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. However, in the sweetener form, these additional elements are nearly negligible. The smaller organic compounds play the real role in the health benefits of stevia.
What are the Benefits of Stevia?
A number of studies show that Stevia can be beneficial in the treatment of many health conditions. Stevia is believed to have anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-glycemic, and anti-hypertensive properties which may help with hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, chronic fatigue, indigestion, upset stomach, heartburn, weight loss, cold and flu, gingivitis, tooth decay, cavities, dandruff and hair loss, brittle bones or osteoporosis, streptococcus, candidiasis, bacterial infections and skin conditions such as cuts, wounds, rashes, itchiness, blemishes, acne, seborrhoeic dermatitis, dermatitis, eczema, and wrinkles. It may also improve energy levels, strengthen immune system, stimulate mental activity, and may also help in withdrawal from tobacco and alcohol addiction.
Uses of Stevia
Stevia is a 100% natural sweetener with zero calories, low on carbohydrates and has no effect on the glycemic index, which means it doesn’t affect your blood sugar. The safety of stevia for human consumption has been established through rigorous peer-reviewed research and the FDA and Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives recognize it as safe. More than 200 extensive studies have been conducted on stevia attesting to its safety.
If you are a diabetic, sugar is possibly one of your worst enemies. In the quest to find an alternative to satiate your sweet cravings, you have probably tried everything out there. But did you know that Stevia can actually help your body in a number of ways, other than just to satiate your sweet cravings.
Stevia lowers blood sugar levels and fights diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, stevia is an outstanding substitute for sugar especially for diabetics. The leaf contains a compound called steviol glycoside that is not absorbed by the body and cannot be broken down, and is flushed out directly. It is especially good for diabetics because it stabilizes a patient’s blood sugar level by increasing insulin resistance, inhibits the absorption of glucose in the body and promotes the health of the pancreas.
Stevia tea is one of the best concoctions to keep your blood sugar level under control. Just put some stevia leaves in warm water for about five to seven minutes. Drink this tea either hot or cold two to three times a day.
Stevia controls high blood pressure
According to a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Biology and Technology Stevia is very useful in lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension. Although the study found that the effects on blood pressure are seen between one to two years, it does state that it is an effective alternative in controlling the blood pressure levels in people prone to the disease. Having one cup of stevia tea on a daily basis, can keep a patient suffering from hypertension and those predisposed to the disease safe.
Weight Loss: Recent medical research suggests that low in carbohydrates, calories and sugar Stevia may be beneficial in weight management. One preliminary research suggests that Stevia may interfere with the functions of the hypothalamus and may aid weight loss by curbing the hunger sensation. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain, which controls hunger, thirst and fatigue along with its other functions. Anti-glycemic activity of Stevia may also control blood glucose levels, which is one of the major causes of weight gain. Stevia works as a tonic to increase energy levels in people battling with weight issues.
Cancer Prevention: The wide range of antioxidant compounds found in stevia make it an ideal dietary supplement for cancer prevention. Quercetin, kaempferol, and the other glycoside compounds in stevia help to eliminate free radicals in the body, thereby preventing them from mutating healthy cells. Antioxidants also help to prevent premature ageing, cognitive malfunction, and various other serious conditions like heart disease.
Diabetes: Studies and researches show that Stevia may stabilize blood sugar levels, increase insulin resistance, may even promote insulin production by promoting the pancreas health, it discourage glucose absorption in the blood, and inhibit candidiasis – a yeast infection that flourish with sugar. Stevia is a great low carb, low sugar and low calorie sugar alternative and the steviol glycosides are not metabolized by the body and are excreted in the urine without getting accumulated in the body. A Study also suggests that Stevia may inhibit the craving for sweet and oily or fatty foods. Drinking tea made with crushed raw Stevia leaves, or with its extract or tea bags two to three times daily may help with hyperglycemia.
Skin Health: Stevia is believed to be a remarkable healing agent for skin disorders. Its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiseptic activity may help with wrinkles, skin blemishes, dermatitis, eczema, acne outbreaks, scarring, rashes, itchiness and chapped lips. A small amount of Stevia concentrate applied directly onto the affected skin may promote the healing process. To smooth out the wrinkles, before going to bed, apply a paste made by crushed Stevia leaves or its liquid concentrate evenly all over the face and let it dry for fifteen to twenty minutes. Wash and pat dry your face and apply a few drops of extra virgin coconut oil on the face and leave it on over night to benefit from its antioxidant effects.
Stevia is Good for Your Teeth
When you consume sugar, an adhesive layer of bacteria is formed on your teeth, causing dental plaque and cavities in the long run. So-called “sugar alcohols” (also called “polyols”) such as Erythritol, Maltitol and Sorbitol are popular ingredients in chewing gums and toothpastes because the dental bacteria cannot ferment them and thus, can’t adhere to your teeth.
There is a downside to sugar alcohols though: they still contain a lot of calories and some of them still have a high glycemic index which is harmful for diabetics. On top of that, they cause bloating and gas in individuals who are sensitive to them. Stevia has the same benefits as the polyols, but doesn’t come with all the discomforts.
All the Rejuva|Nutrition product contain the purest and organic stevia powder