Stevia is often approved as a safe and healthy sugar substitute that can give sweetness to food without any negative health effects linked to purified sugar.
This article will help you to know what stevia is, and how it is beneficial for your health.
What is Stevia?
Stevia is known as a natural sweetener that is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana).
As it has zero calories but comes with 200 times more sweetness than table sugar so the little amount is enough to sweeten food. It’s a perfect choice for many people looking to lose weight and wants to reduce their regular sugar intake (4).
Stevia sweetener is available in both Powder and Liquid forms. It is becoming a world-popular sugar substitute. Steiva powder and its Liquid form are commonly used in tea, coffee, smoothies, juices, and shakes. On the other hand, specially blended stevia powder used in baked dishes, condiments, and sauces.
Types of Stevia Products
- Green Leaf Stevia:- This is the minimum processed form of stevia. It is 30-40 times sweeter than sugar and comes with a slightly bitter taste.
- Stevia Powder:- It is blended form of stevia where steviosides are blended with other natural additives. Stevia powder is available in pouches and sachets. It is ideal for use in tea, coffee etc.
- Stevia Liquid Drops:- Stevia sweetener is also available in form of liquid drops which makes it very easy to carry and use. Only 5-6 drops are sufficient for a cup of tea or coffee.
- Baking & Dessert Stevia Sweetener:- Specially blended stevia powder with natural ingredients to provide better texture & taste to baking and dessert products. The taste and texture of these sweets or baking products is similar to products made with regular sugar.
- Keto Stevia Sweetener:- Keto sweeteners made with stevia are very popular now a days as these sweeteners do not have any carbohydrates but they taste just like sugar. Keto stevia sweeteners also contain prebiotics of natural origin which not only help in increasing gut flora but also give a feeling of fullness avoiding hunger crave.
Now we will know how safe stevia sweetener is. It is not only considered safe but also has amazing health benefits.
Health Benefits of Stevia
Consumption of Stevia is known to give the following health benefits.
1. Regulation of Blood Pressure
Some studies found that stevia is beneficial in regulating blood pressure.
2. Helps in weight loss
As stevia contains no calories, it is ideal for those who are trying to lose weight. Sugar carries lots of calories - it is found that 32 gm of sugar in an average sweet drink may consume approx. 130 calories from sugar alone. Have a drink with stevia and you avoid this redundant calorie intake while enjoying a sweet drink.
3. Sweetener for Diabetics
Stevia has no carbohydrates so it doesn’t raise sugar levels in the blood. This is safe for diabetics to intake stevia sweetener as compared to sugar consumption. Stevioside is taken to lower blood sugar levels and for that reason, stevia is considered beneficial for diabetics.
4. Protects Teeth from Dental Caries
Stevia is helpful for dental health as it is a zero-calorie sweetener so no carbohydrate breakdown happens in the mouth. Subsequently, carbohydrates are not broken down into sugars, which nourish the plaque in the mouth, dental caries or tooth decay is detained. It also comes with bactericidal properties that protect the teeth from decay and other problems such as gingivitis.
5. Anti-inflammatory Property
Many inflammatory bowel problems can happen due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in the intestines. Diseases like Crohn’s disease cause discomforts such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Compounds found in stevia are anti-inflammatory and calm the intestinal cells.
6. Possible Anticancer Potential
Hopefully, the rich source of antioxidants compounds that may be found in Stevia makes it the perfect dietary supplement for the control of many cancers including pancreatic cancer. Dr. Jocelynn E. Thomas and Dr. Michael J. Glade published a report in The Open Obesity Journal, which says that stevia leaf extracts prevent a high degree of antioxidant activity. It is also reported to inhibit hydroperoxide formation in sardine oil with a power greater than that of either L-α-tocopherol or green tea extract (7).
Quercetin, kaempferol, and the other glycoside elements in stevia help to remove free radicals in the body, in that way stop them from mutating healthy cells into malignant ones. Antioxidants also assist to control premature aging, cognitive malfunction, and many other conditions like heart disease.
Uses stevia as a sugar substitute
Stevia can be used in place of sugar in your favorite food and beverage items.
Stevia Powder can be used in:
- Homemade lemonade
- Sprinkled on hot or cold cereal
- In a smoothie
- Sprinkled on unsweetened yogurt
Baking & Dessert Stevia Sweetener can be used in any dish, which you prepare using sugar and other sugar substitutes. You will get a better idea by trial and error as you continue to use stevia in your recipes in the quantity you require to use. Usually baking & dessert stevia sweeteners have reduced sweetens which equals to sweetness of regular sugar so you can use same quantity basking & dessert stevia sweetener as you use regular sugar.
- To make pumpkin pudding, cook 100 gm of crushed pumpkin with 500 ml milk (whole-fat or low-fat) till the texture is creamy.
- Add chopped nuts to it such as almonds and pistachio.
- Add some raisins and chopped dried figs.
- Now add baking & dessert stevia sweetener to taste.
- Cool it and refrigerate for an hour before plating.
- You can use 5 tsp of dark chocolate powder or can also use 10 gm of melted dark chocolate to 500 gm of flour and mix well.
- Then use baking & dessert stevia sweetener to taste and 2 tsp almond meal and bake till you are done.
- After cooling it to room temperature, crumble the dish and add 5 tsp roasted and crushed peanuts to it.
- You can also add 2-3 tsp of peanut butter to give some extra flavor.
- Mix it well and serve with fresh cream and chopped strawberries.