Stevia – Sweet News for Weight Loss
Stevia, Rebaudiana Bertoni, is a plant that was discovered more than 200 years ago. It was cultivated along the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay by the indigenous Guarani people who inhabited the region. They used its leaves to sweeten food and chewed it, as it provided a great sweet taste. They called it ka’a-he’e, whose translation means the sweet herb.
One of its most widespread uses of stevia is as a sweetener. Still, the Guaraní also used it as a healing herb for stomach disorders, and in highly concentrated preparations it was often given to young women to promote fertility.
Like any other superfood, Stevia’s use in our diet provides several health benefits due to its high content of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Steviol glycosides flow almost intact through the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and small intestine. This is what contributes to Stevia’s lack of caloric intake and increased insulin levels.
When they reach the colon, the intestinal bacteria hydrolyze the steviol glycosides by removing the glucose unit. Steviol is absorbed and metabolized mainly in the liver, forming steviol glucuronide, before being excreted in the urine.
The components of the Stevia plant are non-reactive and are not metabolized into reactive compounds, so steviol glycosides should not trigger allergic reactions when they are consumed in food or beverages.
In one study, it was shown that, compared to artificial sweeteners such as sucrose and aspartame, Stevia helped reduce postprandial insulin levels.
Stevia produces a bactericidal, antioxidant, hypotensive, laxative, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, hypolipemic, and hypoglycemic action. Besides, it is ideal for adding to infusions, juices, and smoothies as a natural sweetener.
It can be integrated into the diet of a person with type II diabetes as an alternative to sugar, as it increases glucose tolerance and does not increase blood levels.
It has essential diuretic properties, and also, this plant helps to treat stomach acidity problems, improving the proper functioning of the digestive system.
It has an antioxidant power comparable to the polyphenols in cocoa, green tea, and other foods. It helps strengthen the immune system and protect us from infections.
Stevia’s antibacterial properties can be of great help when fighting gingivitis, cavities and mouth ulcers as it can suppress the reproduction and development of infectious micro-organisms on the teeth and gums and inhibit the growth of plaque and improve oral health in general.
Stevia promotes intestinal transit, has an osmotic laxative effect, and prevents constipation. It relieves abdominal pain and swelling.
Stevia is known to reduce and stabilize blood pressure; only drinking Stevia tea twice a day can effectively relieve it.
Stevia is a remarkable healing agent for skin disorders. As an antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiseptic, it can help fight wrinkles, skin spots, dermatitis, eczema, acne, scars, rashes, itching, and chapped lips.
It is very suitable for people following a low-calorie diet, as it barely contains any carbohydrates and therefore sweetens without putting on weight. Consequently, we can enjoy a sweet dish or drink without adding calories to our daily menu.
Stevia is used to sweeten many of the foods we consume daily and many of the sugar-free soft drinks and beverages we can find in the supermarkets.
Nutrition Facts for one packet (1g) of Stevia