Stevia Health Benefits and Why You Should Use It Instead of Sugar
Stevia plant is another one of those things that I know about thanks to my mother. She is always looking for the latest thing in health foods and supplements. I came to know about stevia one afternoon while I was enduring one of my sweet-tooth craving episodes. There I was, feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't eat sugar without eating the guilt added to it. One more pound and I would have to buy the next big size.It was then that my mother introduced me to stevia.
What is stevia?
Stevia is a plant that grows in Paraguay and parts of Brazil. Its leaves are super sweet. So much so that it is 30 times sweeter than sugar and stevia's extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar. So, roughly, 1 cup of sugar equals 2 tbs. of fresh stevia and 1/4 of the powder extract. So if you're looking for sweetness, you've found it.
What is stevia good for? What are the benefits of stevia?
Stevia is good for a lot of things. Studies have shown stevia to be an effective antibacterial,an aide for blood sugar regulation and weight loss as well as helping with a variety of other health issues such as:
- Gingivitis and cavities
- Digestive problems
- Nicotine and alcohol addiction
- Acne and other skin problems and nuisances such as wrinkles and fine lines
- Blood circulation problems
Stevia's antibacterial properties
Studies have shown that stevia has antibacterial properties, especially against these bad boys:
- E.coli - responsible for severe food poisoning and, in some cases, even death.
- Stafilocococ aureus - This bacteria is a common cause of skin infections (pimples, boils, carbuncles, abscesses), respiratory diseases and food poisoning.
- Corynebacterium Diphtheriae- This one is responsible for causing diphtheria which is an upper respiratory infection.
- Candida Albicans - This one is a fungus that causes a lot of bad things in the body, but it is widely recognized as being the fungus that causes yeast infections and vaginitis. I found it interesting that stevia helps to fight Candida, since most people with the fungus are given a strict diet that prohibits pretty much any kind of sugar, even fruits. However, even though stevia is so sweet, it actually helps the body get rid of this fungus.
Stevia and Diabetes
Diabetics know that sugar is off limits. They have been placed in diets that make it almost impossible to enjoy the sweetness that comes from all those sugary goodies we all love and enjoy. But I'm here to tell you that stevia is here to pleasure your bored taste buds again!
Stevia does not affect blood sugar levels negatively. In fact, it is kind of like a magic plant. If your sugar is low, stevia will bring it up to its appropriate levels. If your sugar is high, stevia will bring it down. It is no wonder that this nifty plant is recommended for diabetics to regulate blood sugar levels.
Medical studies have also shown that stevia plant helps the pancreatic beta cells to produce significant amounts of insulin, which helps reduce blood glucose.
Quick stevia facts
- Has no calories
- Helps diabetics and hypoglycemics
- Helps with weight loss
- Can be used on anything
- It has no side effects
Stevia and weight loss
Aren't we all looking for ways to lose weight? Stevia provides you with a win-win scenario, you lose weight while indulging your taste buds because stevia has 0 calories! Yes, you read that right, stevia has no calories at all!
So how does stevia help you lose weight? It starts by reducing your caloric intake. If you start consuming stevia instead of sugar you will obviously eat less calories, which automatically leads to weight loss.
Stevia also decreases cravings and the need for unhealthy sweets.So next time your sweet tooth is hungry, feed it some stevia and watch the pounds shed.
Does stevia had any side effects?
Great news! Stevia has no side effects. There have been various studies done on animals (I know, that makes me sad too) in which the animals were given high amounts of stevia to see if they would show any side effects The results were negative. However, if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult your doctor before consuming stevia, since there aren't enough studies to prove its safety on pregnant women.
How can I use stevia?
You can stevia on anything! Use it as you would use sugar. I use it in my coffee, lemonade and anything else that needs to be sweetened. If I baked, I would use for baking, but since I don't, you can use it for baking. What I'm trying to say is that you can use stevia on pretty much anything.
More on stevia
- Sweet secrets of Stevia - Tips for growing and harvesting!
How to grow and harvest stevia for maximum sweetness. Which stevia plant to buy if you want to grow your own. Why some stevia has a bitter taste, plus what to look for when buying stevia extracts.