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Discover The Natural Alternative To Sugar With Zero Calories
Refined sugar is known to pose various health risks necessitating the need to use other natural sugar alternatives that are not only healthier but also safer instead. It is often very difficult to select the appropriate products as most of the low-calorie sweeteners found in the market are artificial.
However, there are a few natural alternative sweeteners that are just as good and effective as artificial ones. The stevia herb is one of the natural sweeteners that can be effectively used as a natural alternative to sugar due to its unique properties. This article explains in detail all one needs to know about the wonder herb.
Learn More About Stevia herb
Table of Contents
Stevia, which is a unique food sweetener that has become increasingly popular over the years is highly valued due to the fact that it contains no calories and is a natural sugar substitute that is obtained from a common plant. The stevia plant belongs to the Asteraceae family and is related to the ragweed and daisy plants. Although there are various stevia species, ‘Stevia Rebaudiana’ which is highly priced grows in Brazil and Paraguay. Residents of both countries have been known to use the leaves of the unique plant their food for many years.
The extremely sweet none-calorific herb is completely natural and has a variety of health benefits that have been proven using scientific research and findings. Stevioside and rebaudioside are the two major compounds isolated from the plant’s leaves.
What makes the compounds, even more, superior is the fact that they are over a hundred times sweeter than the normal refined sugar. Stevioside which is the sweetest of the two is about 10% of the plant’s overall weight while rebaudioside takes the rest of the weight.
It may be difficult to identify the stevia plant as most of its refined sweeteners being sold today don’t usually resemble it.
Consumers are often provided with the option of either buying liquid and powder stevia extracts in the form of crushed or whole stevia or purchasing the plant’s refined version. Stevioside which is the sweeter of the two is about 10% of the plant’s overall weight while rebaudioside takes the rest of the weight.
It may be difficult to identify the stevia plant as most of its refined sweeteners being sold today don’t usually resemble it. Consumers are often provided with the option of either buying liquid and powder stevia extracts in the form of crushed or whole stevia or purchasing the plant’s refined version.
Stevia, which is an innocuous herb, has had its fair share of criticism, especially as a result of the actions of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) among other interested parties. The herb has been subjected to various trade complaints, seizures and importation embargoes making it seem like an illegal drug although it really isn’t.
The passing of the famous Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA1 ) was a huge relief to stevia users as it made it legal to sell the plant in the U.S provided it is packaged and sold as a diet supplement. Stevia can be found in various forms in a variety of health- food stores and is often incorporated into teas, drinks among other items.
Benefits of using Stevia as a Natural Alternative to Sugar
Stevia when used as an alternative to refined sugar, provides various health benefits to the user. Below are the common health benefits associated with using the special herb.
Lowering blood pressure
Stevia plays a major role in lowering blood pressure, which is often a serious risk factor associated with major diseases including stroke, kidney failure and heart disease. Scientific studies have managed to indicate that taking stevioside which is one of the vital compounds derived from the stevia herb can reduce blood pressure significantly.
A reliable study2 that was carried out on 174 Chinese patients found out that stevia users had a lower chance of experiencing Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, which is a condition that leads to the enlarging of the heart as a result of elevated blood pressure.
Although the mechanism of how stevia manages to lower blood pressure levels is not well understood, a group of researchers believe that stevioside usually acts by blocking the calcium ion channels found in cell membranes to perform the important body function.
The medical research carried out recently suggests that stevia, which is low in calories; sugar and carbohydrate may be highly effective for weight management. The research findings indicate that stevia aids in weight loss by interfering with the normal functions of the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that controls fatigue, thirst, and hunger among other functions.
Stevia has the ability to curb the normal hunger sensation resulting in weight loss. The herb’s anti-glycemic functions may also be able to control blood glucose levels, which is one of the major popular causes of weight gain. The stevia herb works effectively as a tonic, thus increasing energy levels while battling to attain weight loss.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Natives of various countries including Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil have been known to use the stevia herbal tea to soothe various stomach upsets or heartburn and to improve gastrointestinal functions and digestion issues over the years. Drinking stevia tea regularly, especially, after all, meals can be beneficial as the herb serves as an effective digestive aid and relieve for stomach pains and heartburn.
Scientific research3 and studies have proven that stevia can actively manage or even treat diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels and increasing insulin production. This is often achieved when stevia promotes the overall pancreas health, inhibits candidiasis, which is a yeast infection that flourishes sugar and discourages glucose absorption in totality.
Stevia herb which is a great low sugar, carb, and low-calorie sugar alternative together with the stevia glycosides are hard to metabolize hence are excreted out of the body in the form of urine, making it impossible for the compounds to accumulate in the body to toxic levels. The unique compounds are also known to inhibit the craving for fatty or sweet and oily foods.
Managing Wrinkles and other Skin Conditions
Stevia has been long believed to be an effective healing agent for all manner of skin disorders. The wonder herb contains antiseptic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties that can be highly beneficial in treating and managing dermatitis, wrinkles, eczema, skin blemishes, rashes, scarring, acne outbreaks, chapped lips and itchiness. Just a small amount of the stevia concentration, when applied directly on the affected skin can promote the skin healing process.
The Common Stevia Side Effects
The good news is that has virtually no side effects4. The stevia herb has not been found to lead to any serious health effects. However, there are few claims that the sugar alternative consists of similar hormonal structures that are associated with causing infertility.
Stevia herb is the best natural sweetener around so don’t be a sugar-head give Stevia a try…
I’ve been trying to cut some of the sugar out of my diet, but am having a hard time with it. No sweets whatsoever is almost too much to ask, and I keep falling off the wagon. I was interested to read about this natural sugar substitute. I’ve never heard of stevia before, but it sounds like a good cure for that sweet tooth, and not as harmful as sugar. I’ll look into this. Glad I came across your blog. (Where would I find stevia? Health food store?
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