What is stevia and where it came from?
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is an herbaceous plant whose green leaves is full of glycosides, which give it a sweet taste. It can be proudly said that stevia is a natural sweetener and natural replacement for white and brown sugar obtained from sugar cane and sugar beet in industrial production.
This plant with green leaves dates back to ancient times, but the origin of stevia is soil of South America, specifically Brazil and Paraguay. The first, who used stevia as a sweetener, but more as a natural cure for many diseases, were Indians. They knew the healing properties of stevia, by used it instead of antibiotics, with the injuries and wounds to quick healed; They were chewed Stevia leaves to preserve fresh breath and prevent tooth decay; Indians also used tea from Stevia to regulate digestion, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. For the Indians, stevia has been several times useful plant.
The situation with growing stevia is now divided - mainly its widespread cultivation of all countries of the world, especially the well-cultivated in warm regions, with a lot of moisture, as in cold areas, stevia can not survive.
Application of stevia is highest in countries of South America and in Asian countries, especially Japan, where it spends huge amounts of stevia as a substitute for sugar. These countries include stevia in all food products as a substitute for sugar, while in the United States and European countries, stevia is still subsumed as a dietary supplement.
Nutritional composition of Stevia
The leaves of stevia are rich in many micronutrients such as iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, flavonoids and vitamins A and C.
As the main ingredients and carriers of medicinal properties of stevia are glycosides, which are 200-400 times sweeter than regular sugar. The advantage of stevia glycoside is in the fact that they do not have a caloric value and do not affect weight gain. Another advantage of Stevia is also reflected in the fact that there is no glycemic index, which is extremely important for diabetics because of the normalization of blood sugar.
Characteristic of glycosides in stevia is thermostability, which ensures the benefits of stevia in food production where they suffer high temperature processing.
What are the Health Benefits of Stevia?
1. Regulation of blood sugar
Besides the fact that Stevia can replace sugar, it is also used for medical purposes for the regulation of blood glucose levels. Stevia, unlike ordinary sugars does not raise blood glucose, and does not affect the balance disorder of glucose in the blood. This fact is important, because stevia is recommends as a substitute for sugar for diabetics.
2. Regulation of body weight
Stevia is a plant that contains zero calories, and also has the property to regulate feeling of satiety. With Stevia there will be no hunger attacks, as it does ordinary sugar. Stevia will regulate blood sugar levels and unlike other carbohydrates that enter through food, it is not stored in the fatty depots, so that there is no weight gain.
3. The impact on digestion
Stevia has the ability to reduce nausea, heartburn, to stimulate digestion and even acting antiviral - at viral diarrhea in children.
4. Extraordinary advantage of stevia in dentistry
Today, stevia is a add product in toothpastes and mouthwashes, due to its antibacterial activity and for the prevention of formation of tartar. Application of stevia extract every other day with toothpaste in the next 6 weeks leads to teeth cleaning from tartar.
5. Application of stevia for cosmetic purposes
Stevia can be use as a face mask, because it moisturizes and nourishes the skin, it tightens, reduces wrinkles, irritation, alleviates acne, and also has a favorable effect on dermatitis and eczema.
6. Quitting smoking
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of Stevia for people who want to quit smoking. The use of stevia in coffee and tea during the daily application has influence on smokers by reducing the desire for a cigarette.
Does stevia has unwanted properties?
Yes, if used incorrectly or in large quantities over a long period. Some of those symptoms are:
- A headache
- Muscle weakness