The stevia ( Stevia rebaudiana ) is a plant native to Paraguay used as a sugar substitute. Although it was not until the nineteenth century when scientists began to investigate stevia in more detail, the indigenous people of Paraguay already used this plant in the sixteenth century to sweeten beverages and medicines. It is currently grown in Brazil and Paraguay and China is the main exporter of stevia products.
Stevia or stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a shrub native to Paraguay and Brazil whose leaves have been used in popular medicine of various local cultures, such as that of the Guaraní Indians, for their medicinal properties and for being a natural sugar substitute .
Although in the western world it is known as a natural sweetener, for traditional Chinese medicine it is a complete food that is included in those treatments aimed at reducing high cholesterol levels, treating allergies or mitigating the consequences of cancer , by increasing defenses.
If you like to take care of yourself, make stevia the best of your allies. Keep reading to us because we are sure that your properties will surprise you, but …
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What is stevia?
Stevia is a small shrub, from the chrysanthemum family. Its popularity is skyrocketing in recent times for being a sweetener that does not cause the rise in blood sugar levels . Other features are:
- Its taste , which has a slow start and a longer duration than that of sugar
- In high concentrations, some of its extracts may have some bitter or licorice aftertaste
- Its extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar
- It is a completely natural sweetener that is best consumed through its dried or dissected leaves
- It has numerous medicinal properties
- It is ideal for sweetening coffee, tea and other drinks in a harmless and natural way
- Infusions are made with it and it is the star ingredient of summer sodas
- Highly valued in baking , to make sweet recipes
Did you know that it is very easy to plant stevia at home? You just have to be careful to put the plant indoors in winter …
Your sheet, the protagonist
Plant it at home or not, its sweet leaf can be consumed dissected and crushed in the form of fine sweet powder. The leaf of the stevia plant that has been planted for centuries in the gardens of Brazil or Paraguay, countries where it grows spontaneously, when processed, acquire a certain metallic flavor, so artificial flavors must be added.
The manufacturers of soft drinks or sweetened beverages are increasingly choosing to include this natural sweetener in their composition.
What are the medicinal properties of stevia
As we have been saying, the dried leaf of stevia helps regulate blood sugar levels, reduces blood pressure, regulates the digestive system, reduces accumulated fat in overweight people, helps treat anxiety and is diuretic.
Its high content of minerals such as potassium or magnesium, make it especially recommended for those suffering from hypertension , by reducing blood pressure.
Its antioxidant power makes it a powerful weapon against aging while being an antiallergic that also strengthens the immune system .
Here are some of its properties:
- It has a mild hypotensive and cardiotonic effect , which makes it regulate blood pressure and heartbeat given its vasodilator power
- Regulates the digestive system in cases of constipation thanks to its high fiber content
- It helps digestion by its production of gastric juices , by being an antacid and by facilitating the absorption of fats
- Keeps cholesterol levels at bay
- It is a very powerful antioxidant, because if we compare it with green tea, it is 7 times more potent, so it delays the effects of aging
- Counteract anxiety and fatigue states
- It is immunostimulant , strengthens the immune system and is antiallergic
- Fights various types of fungi such as causes vaginitis, called Candida Albicans to be antifungal
- As a diuretic , it decreases uric acid levels
- It has anticaries or antibiotic action against bacterial plaque, so it is used to make dentifrices and gum
- Improves resistance to flu and cold conditions in general
- It exerts a bactericidal and healing effect in applications against wounds, burns, etc.
- When regulating blood sugar levels, it is ideal for patients diagnosed with type II diabetes
- Moderates the proliferation of pathogens in the body
- Control heartburn or sourness
- It is suitable for obese people and for those who are predisposed to suffer diabetes because of their tolerance to glucoses
As you can see, virtues are not lacking in this plant …
- It is a 100% natural product, whose glycemic index that is equal to 0, makes it very convenient for diabetics
- Free of harmful sugar, it is easily soluble in hot liquids
- Low in carbohydrates , the fact that it has no calories makes it the star food of those who suffer from obesity
- In its natural state, it is 15 times sweeter than sugarcane!
- With it you will be able to treat in the most natural way possible wounds and minor infections of the skin . You will say goodbye to the awkward athlete’s foot in a matter of a few weeks
- It is called the “plant of diabetics” for whom, its multiple benefits increase its quality of life, because its active ingredient encourages the beta cells of the pancreas to produce significant amounts of insulin, helping to reduce blood glucose, guilty of diabetes mellicus 2
Start consuming stevia regularly and forget about sugar, which has a harmful addictive power since it is found in most processed foods and also makes you fat, causes depression and causes certain diseases.
Instead, get used to sweetening with stevia because it has the advantage that it does not provide any calories and it is the only natural sweetener that is safe to consume regularly and forever. The best example of this are diabetics and those who undergo prolonged diets.
Other benefits are:
- Regulates blood sugar levels, which makes it ideal for patients suffering from type II diabetes because its hypoglycemic action stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin
- It makes glucose better tolerated , so it benefits the obese and those who are predisposed to diabetes
- Its cardiotonic effect favors the proper functioning of the heart
- Its mild hypotensive effect , which will naturally improve hypertension or high blood pressure
- It helps the stomach and intestines function and facilitates the digestion of food
- It is an excellent natural remedy to fight fungi
- Mitigate anxiety
- Raise our level of defenses
- It promotes wound healing
- It slows the proliferation of pathogens in our body
- It contributes to weight loss so it is of interest to those who are dieting
- Prevents the appearance of tooth decay whenever its leaves are chewed. In the same way, it can be used in mouthwashes as well as in homemade toothpastes
- Fight against heartburn or sourness
As you are seeing, with stevia it is a matter of adding and following …
The number of people who are fond of consuming stevia is increasing every day to alleviate the ailments they suffer, given their medicinal properties. What you should know is that fresh or dried leaves are those that contain the active ingredients that give rise to their therapeutic properties.
If you are wondering how this superfood can contribute to a healthy life, we will tell you that, as indicated, its hypoglycemic action favors those diagnosed with type II diabetes, not insulin dependent. Together with them, it is also ideal for hypertensive people , works as a mild diuretic, counteracts fatigue, makes us more resistant to colds and flu, is a powerful antioxidant, absorbs fats, is bactericidal …
How to take it
You have several options, from acquiring it as a natural sweetener or preparing your own stevia liquid sweetener from its leaves, which are also marketed. Try to always have it on hand and use it as a substitute for sugar in coffee, tea, in your pastry recipes, etc.
The stevia which is also known as “sweet herb”, “miraculous sweetener” or “the holy grail of the food industry” can be taken by preparing an infusion with its leaves. For this, it will be enough if you put 3 or 4 of its leaves in a cup and add 150 ml of hot water, without boiling it. Place a lid and let it rest for 10 minutes. Drink slowly, as it cools.
Another option is that you cut the stevia leaf, add them to the bottle that you usually carry when you leave home to go to your place of studies, to work, to do sports, etc., because it will give a sweet touch to the water of the nicer.
Recipes with Stevia for winter and summer
The winter recipe will consist of another of the aforementioned infusions because the limit to make them is set by your imagination. Heat a small amount of water in the microwave, pour a couple of leaves (fresh or dried) of stevia, squeeze a lemon and leave a few minutes.
You can strain it and add more cold or hot water, although it is best to drink it while it is still hot, without straining and fasting.
The summer recipe will consist of a lemonade made with crushed ice, the juice of a lemon (or a grapefruit or lime), to which water (with or without gas, to taste), stevia leaves and leaves will be added of peppermint or mint. This will give you a delicious and refreshing lemonade with plenty of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
The diabetic plant
Stevia is a healthy plant one hundred percent. Among its many medicinal qualities, which we have already mentioned, its beneficial effects for diabetics stand out, increasing their quality of life .
It should be borne in mind that the majority of those affected by this disease, which amount to 135 million worldwide, can use the properties of this plant to regulate blood sugar levels provided by the consumption of tender leaves of stevia
The reason is clear from numerous medical studies that show data such that its active substance induces the beta cells of the pancreas to produce remarkable amounts of insulin themselves, reducing blood glucose, which causes diabetes mellitus 2.
As a natural sweetener it is the most potent. By possessing its leaves a substance called stevioside, they are 10 to 30 times sweeter than sugar. Its sweet taste is due to steviol glycosides, particularly stevioside and rebaudioside.
Its plant is 1 meter high and produces about 70 grams of usable dry material, of which 25 correspond to leaves. Stevioside is a white, crystalline powder, whose flavor is sweet even in very dilute solutions, very soluble in water, non-fermentable and non-hydroscopic, odorless.
The intake of the tender leaves is highly recommended and is also a very economical option to consume it.
What are steviosides?
Stevia leaves contain a mixture of eight diterpenic glycosides, among which the stevioside and rebaudioside stand out. As for stevioside, it is an extremely natural and non-nitrogen natural sweetener.
Among its physical-chemical properties to make food with it include:
- Its heat resistance. As much as it is exposed to high temperatures, its structure is not modified so it keeps its sweetening power intact. It is suitable for both hot and baked food. It remains stable at usual temperatures of those used in food processing: sterilization, pasteurization and cooking
- Its high solubility in water and hydroalcoholic solutions
- Its resistance to pH. Even at 100 ° C it is stable in a wide pH range, 3 to 9
- It does not provide any calories , so it does not affect the blood sugar level
More things you should know …
Stevia will heal your wounds quickly. Diabetes is accompanied by high blood pressure and edema and wound healing slows down. All these symptoms will be relieved by this plant, helping you feel better.
Recent studies have shown that it is very useful in inhibiting the growth of some organisms, which makes it an ideal way to treat minor skin infections and wounds.
Naturopaths agree that heals wounds more quickly, helps reduce pain associated with certain diseases and even serves to present battle to athlete’s foot , a very common skin disease that develops between the toes, usually by Extreme humidity conditions. You will relieve it if you soak your feet in warm water to which you will add a few drops of stevia extract. Once 15 minutes have passed, dry the area and apply a few drops of extract. In a matter of two weeks you will see the good results.
To this we must add that:
- The taste of stevia is sweet like sugar
- It is very suitable for diabetics , because its glycemic index is equal to 0
- It is a 100% natural product
- Its lack of calories makes it advisable for obese people
- It is low in carbohydrates
- It is free of harmful sugar
- In hot liquids it is easily soluble
- It has high antioxidant properties
- Resists heat up to 200º
- Its anticaries effect is proven
- Its sweetness in its natural state exceeds 15 times that of sugarcane
Have you already convinced yourself that stevia will change your life? Well, it was time to get down to work …
References and Sources:
- Stevia rebaudiana bertoni, Kaá-heé
- In vitro antioxidant activities of Stevia rebaudiana leaves and callus
- Mayo Clinic
- National Institutes of Health
- Europe PMC