Stevia is a flowering plant, part of the sunflowers’ family. It is also known as sugar leaf or sweet leaf and it originates from South and North America. Stevia is best known as an artificial sweetener and it is almost 40 times sweeter than regular sugar. However, this plant does not come with the same negative effects as sugar. Stevia is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, protein, sodium, magnesium, potassium and iron. Thus, it has numerous health benefits that you can take advantage of.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Stevia contains glycosides that relax the blood vessels, allow you to eliminate the sodium from your organism and increase urination. As a result, your cardiovascular system will be less stressed and the blood pressure will fall down. This will protect you from diseases such as strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
Since stevia contains a large variety of antioxidants, it is extremely efficient in cancer prevention. It includes kaempferol and quercetin that kill the free radicals and eliminate them from the body, preventing the formation of cancer cells. At the same time, antioxidants prevent the risk of cognitive malfunction and premature aging.
Even though stevia is extremely sweet, it can keep the diabetes under control, by regulating the blood sugar levels. Stevia contains stevioside, a non-carbohydrate compound that can help your body control the blood sugar. Thanks to the stevioside, the particles containing glucose will be absorbed in the colon and not in the bloodstream. Thus, if you suffer from diabetes, you can successfully replace normal sugar with stevia.
Promotes Oral Health
Various studies have shown that stevia is able of reducing and killing the bacteria in the mouth. Thus, you can use this plant as an additive for your mouthwash or toothpaste. At the same time, stevia is the only sweet product that prevents gingivitis and cavities.
Helpful in Weight Loss
Even though stevia is 40 times sweeter than sugar, it is low in calories and promotes weight loss. Therefore, even if you are on a diet, you can consume candies, cookies and cakes containing stevia without having to worry that you will put on extra pounds. So, it is strongly recommended to replace sugar with stevia while being on a weight loss diet.
Promotes Bone Health
Various animal studies have demonstrated that the chickens who have eaten stevia have laid thicker shells with a larger amount of calcium as compared to the average eggs. As a result, the researchers concluded that stevia is also beneficial for humans, helping them have stronger bones and reduces the risks of developing osteoporosis.
Stevia has antibacterial properties that are extremely useful when treating skin conditions like dermatitis or eczema. In order to benefit from these properties, you must apply stevia topically on the affected areas. It acts like a steroid and it stops the evolution of bacteria, speeding up the healing process.
Keep in mind that if you are usually allergic to daisies, marigolds or ragweed, you might also be allergic to stevia. Also, in very rare cases, stevia can cause cramping, bloating and headaches.