Stevia is a plant-based natural sweetener substitute for refined sugar that is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant.
It is extracted from a highly refined stevia leaf called rebaudioside A. This is three times sweeter than normal sugar.
Stevia sugar is available in the market in various forms such as liquid, powder and granules. And many prefer directly using stevia leaves.
Why to use stevia instead of normal sugar?
Well, this one question is the base of all other benefits of stevia sugar. Stevia is a non-nutritive sweetener, yes, it doesn’t have calories, it is your perfect partner if you are trying to combat diabetes, PCOS or weight loss.
But every coin has two sides, according to many online claims it has few side effects also. Keep on reading to know health benefits of stevia and it’s side effects.
Benefits of stevia
While choosing best for you, many thoughts strike your mind and if you are looking for stevia then definitely it would have come to mind, “ is it actually beneficial.” isn’t it.
Well, it doesn’t only have low glucose index properties, it also offers antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive, antiseptic, diuretic, anti-fertility and cardiotonic properties.”
1. Controls blood sugar levels
Stevia is a good news for all diabetic patients out there, it has zero calories which is why blood sugar dosn’t spike.
It also helps obese people to shed a few pounds and help in controlling diabetes. Physicians are recommending this natural sweetener to diabetics and pre-diabetics with a low glycemic diet plan.
2. Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL)
Few studies have suggested stevia extract can help to lower the cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.
It is found that it helps in reducing total cholesterol, LDL levels, triglyceride and improves HDL levels( good cholesterol )
3. Helps in weight loss
Consuming added sugar contributes to a large amount of caloric intake per day and layers you with more fat which is linked to weight gain, obesity and other adverse effects on metabolic health.
This is where stevia acts as a saviour, totally calorie-free and helps to complete your keto diet or low carb diet or paleo diet.
According to one more study, it lowers the appetite sensation and does not increase further food intake. Swapping to this natural sweetener can be a useful strategy in obesity and diabetes prevention and management.
4. Lowers the risk of hypertension
Certain glycosides present in stevia extract help to dilate blood vessels and increase sodium excretion. Which ultimately helps in bringing down the blood pressure.
Studies have shown improvement after long term use and in short term there were no benefits. Micro studies are still going on.
5. Anticancer abilities
Stevia extract is found to have few properties that help to kill breast cancer cells. It enhances cancer apoptosis and reduces oxidative stress that might contribute to cancer growth.
A component in stevia called sterol is found to fight with abdominal cancer cells
Side effects of stevia
Most of the studies have not found any side effects of stevia even after consistent use for 3 months. FDA has approved both processed and fresh leaves safe to consume.
But in a few people, it may cause a few side effects such as bloating, nausea, dizziness, numbness and muscle pain.
Alcohol blends of Stevia may also cause digestive issues and cause symptoms like bloating, gas or diarrhoea.
If you are diabetic then make sure it doesn’t contain maltodextrin as it have few calories, and may cause slight increase in blood glucose levels.
How to use stevia
Now you add a pinch of stevia powder to your favourite food and beverages and enjoy them without a guilt.
You can add stevia powder to
- Tea or coffee
- Homemade lemonade
You can also use it in baking cakes or cookies. You can also add fresh stevia leaves to your tea. But avoid it if you are pregnant. You can also use a few more substitutes of refined sugar.
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