Stevia, often called the sweetest herb, can be the perfect substitute for sugar for those who are looking to live healthy lifestyles. This amazing plant, discovered centuries ago, is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but has none of its dangerous side effects such as calories and carbohydrates. Though this natural product is well-known to many as a great alternative to sugar, there are quite a number of other uses for stevia.
Stevia as a sweetener
Stevia was first discovered by the natives of Paraguay more than a thousand years ago. It was initially used as a natural sweetener, making their medical potions and bitter tea quite palatable. Centuries later, the stevia sweetener was marketed in Japan where artificial sweeteners were either banned or strictly regulated. It became a widely used product to sweeten not only bitter tea but different kinds of food and drinks as well. Stevia can be used just like sugar or any other artificial sweetener, helping to sweeten a cup of coffee or tea. It can also be used in the production of ice cream, soft drinks, bread, and more. In addition, this sweet plant can be found in many households, being used in everyday cooking and baking. There is a steady increase in the number of recipes promoting the use of a stevia sweetener instead of sugar. Its steady popularity as a sweetener is not only due to its sweetening property but also because of the health benefits of stevia.
Stevia as a dietary supplement
As previously mentioned, there are quite a number of health benefits of stevia, one of which is its ability to help control weight. Stevia has no calories and carbohydrates which help in keeping a person from gaining unwanted fat even when consuming a sweet treat. More importantly, consuming stevia can actually help reduce a person’s craving for sweet and fatty foods. Though there is little evidence to explain how stevia is able to produce such a reaction, tests have shown that consuming stevia daily decreases a person’s desire to eat something sweet.
Aside from aiding weight management, stevia also has quite a number of vitamins and minerals that make it a great dietary supplement. These include chromium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B3, and selenium. These different nutrients help in lowering and maintaining blood glucose levels as well as in glucose metabolism. Consuming stevia can also enhance a person’s mental acuity and boost his energy levels. Stevia is also believed to help lower elevated blood pressure and maintaining it at a normal level.
Stevia as a skin care and hair care product
Aside from stevia’s ability to sweeten any drink or food, stevia can also be used as in different types of cosmetic applications. Stevia provides a lot of benefits when used as a skin care product. It has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-septic properties that can greatly help in taking care of our skin. It can smoothen out wrinkles by softening the skin then tightening it. It also helps treat various skin conditions including sores, blemishes, eczema, and acne. Applying a few drops of stevia concentrate on an open wound can help it heal without scarring. Stevia can also be used as an ingredient in shampoos and conditioners. As a hair care product, stevia can help eliminate dandruff and make your hair shiny and smooth.
Stevia as a dental care product
Stevia’s antibacterial properties enable it to help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and other dental problems. Stevia is able to stop the growth and reproduction of bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay. Using stevia as a toothpaste or mouthwash not only ensures that you have no dental problems but also significantly improves your dental health.
Stevia as an herbal tea
Stevia leaves placed in a tea bag can do wonders for your body. Aside from being an excellent form of refreshment, consuming stevia tea can soothe an upset stomach and aid in digestion. In addition, a used stevia tea bag can be used to help combat signs of fatigue around the eyes, much like a cucumber does. It also helps tighten and smoothen skin around the eyes.
From being the perfect substitute for sugar to being a beauty product, there is no denying the numerous benefits and uses that stevia has for any individual. It is important to note though that though there have been no dangerous side effects recorded from the consumption or use of stevia, there have been mild and temporary side effects seen in some people. Care and caution are recommended especially for individuals who have allergies to natural herbal plant products.
Category: What is Stevia