Stevia is an all natural sugar substitute derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. Used by the Guarani Indian tribe of Paraguay for centuries and cultivated all over South America, this little powerhouse of a plant is finally being recognized the world over for the many benefits it provides.
Nutrient-rich, this plant is a source of antioxidants, protein, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, zinc, rutin, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories and zero gylcemic index. Unlike sugar it does not degrade when heated, making it perfect for cooking, baking and use in drinks and on foods and it does not cause gas and bloating the way sugar does. Forty years of studies worldwide have shown Stevia to have no harmful effects whatsoever on humans.
Medically, Stevia has a variety of benefits. Because of it’s zero gylcemic index Stevia is an excellent choice for Diabetics. It does not spike blood glucose levels like sugar does and, unlike artificial sweeteners which cause you to crave more sugar, it suppresses your cravings for sweets. Stevia has also been found to stabilize blood glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetics.
Hypertension is helped by the use of Stevia, which has been shown to lower blood pressure. This may be due to the fact that it relaxes blood vessels and increases urine output thereby increasing sodium excretion.
Stevia has anti-bacterial properties and cannot be fermented in the stomach. Bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities, gingivitis and mouth sores are inhibited as is candida albicans (excessive yeast in the system) known as Candidiasis in the abdomen.
Finally, the native peoples of South America have used Stevia for hundreds of years to heal skin blemishes, dermatitis, seborrhea, eczema and rashes. When applied directly to wounds and cuts it helps prevent scarring and marks. Fresh leaves of the plant have been applied as face packs to reduce wrinkles, soften and sooth skin, hair and scalp. Liquid concentrate can be applied directly over the face or diluted in face masks, soaps and shampoos.
In conclusion, making Stevia a part of your regular diet and health care program will bring sweet benefits to you in more than your taste buds.
British Journal of Pharmacology
Taipei medical College & Taipei Wan Fang Hospital
World Health Organization
Dept of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Illinois