Ever thought about how to substitute sugar but still achieve sweetness in drinks and other recipes? Stevia, a sweet-tasting plant, has been used in the preparation of tea since the dawn of time by the natives of South America and East Asia.
It is a natural sweetener with no calories and can successfully substitute sugar in all drinks and meals. In fact, stevia is two to three hundred times sweeter than sugar and requires less to achieve the same result as table sugar.
Health Benefits of Stevia
Besides its sweet taste, stevia has some health properties that make it perfect for reaping the benefits of a sugar-free diet. Get to know these health benefits now.
1. Excellent Sweetener for The Keto Diet
Individuals familiar with the ketogenic diet know the goal of the diet is to reach a state in which the body breaks down fat for energy instead of relying on carbohydrates.
This requires the cutting down of all types of carbohydrates and sugars. As a result, the keto diet excludes all kinds of sweets, baked goods, drinks, and more. The good news is individuals who are on this diet will find stevia extract is an excellent sweetener for the keto diet as it contains practically no calories or carbohydrates.
Because stevia is low on carbohydrates, the effects of the ketogenic diet on the body, specifically ketosis, will not be stopped or hindered.
Because stevia extract is so sweet, only a small amount of it will be required to substitute the original quantities of required sugar. This is another plus for individuals who want to have a sweet treat on a sugarless diet.
2. Appropriate for Diabetes Patients
Patients who suffer from diabetes have problems metabolizing sugar. The sugar they consume is left in the blood and is not utilized by the body.
Stevia, unlike sugar, is appropriate for diabetes patients because it contains no form of sugar or carbohydrates. This allows individuals who cannot consume sweet things to enjoy a sweet treat infused with stevia.
When diabetes patients took stevia along with placebos, they showed no increase in their insulin, blood glucose, or blood pressure, which is often a problem for such patients. The body weight of diabetes patients was also not altered with the intake of stevia extract.
3. Lowers LDL Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol. One is the unhealthy or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and the other is healthy or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Stevia leaf powder or extract is a great alternative for individuals trying to manage their cholesterol.
Taking stevia extract daily showed no negative side effects on cholesterol. In fact, regular stevia extract intake actually lowers LDL cholesterol. This, in turn, increases the levels of HDL cholesterol.
Research on this subject has shown stevia extract and powder is effective in decreasing serum cholesterol levels or does not cause any significant change in cholesterol levels when used sporadically.
4. Benefits Oral Health
Too much sugar consumption leads to sugar left on the surface of the teeth. This sugar is then broken down by bacteria and forms acids that in time can weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities. Sugar metabolism also requires minerals to be utilized from the body.
These minerals are often leeched out from teeth and bones. Unlike sugar, stevia extract does not contain carbohydrates that bacteria on the teeth can turn into organic acids.
Stevia extract benefits oral health by completely or largely substituting the need for sugar consumption. This will alleviate the potential risk that excess sugar consumption brings to the quality of the tooth enamel.
The lack of food for harmful bacteria in the mouth prevents the formation of plaque and gingivitis, which are two conditions that can affect the health of the gums and teeth.
5. Benefits Multiple Skin Conditions
Sugar has a little-known quality of binding to collagen. This is bad news for the skin, since collagen is the main holding structure within the skin. It is what keeps the skin tight and prevents it from stretching too much.
When sugar leeches collagen from the skin, it is left more brittle. Collagen is also responsible for giving the skin that plump and full feel that makes it look youthful.
Skin conditions that can also be positively altered with the use of stevia extract internally and as a mask are dermatitis and eczema, as stevia has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Stevia also positively impacts seborrhea with the high quality of silica inside of it. This makes the skin, nails, and hair stronger and luscious.