Stevia: properties, benefits and contraindications

The Stevia It is a tropical plant that has its origins between Brazil and Paraguay, it has components such as steviol glycoside that has an intense sweetness, which is not difficult to extract. This is used as a component of sweeteners that can be found in the market, although it will always be more beneficial to consume it in its purest and most natural state.

This plant it is small and easy to plant, so you can choose to have your own stevia plant that will get you out of a tight spot.

Ideal to supplement refined sugar, the best thing is that stevia can be added to tea preparations, juices, meals and desserts. What you have to learn about it is how and what is the correct way to get all the benefits, in addition to its sweet taste. The need for sugar is a taste acquired over time, since the body does not deserve it at all for its functioning.

Long-term refined sugar has severe consequences, in some people more than others, so stevia is a great way to start supplanting sugar little by little in daily preparations that add to health and make a difference.

Stevia properties

The stevia plant brings together a series of properties that make it ideal to help hypertensive and diabetic people, such as magnesium and potassium. It contains stevioside, an active principle that, in addition to being sweet, does not have calories, nor is there any risk of increased glucose in the blood. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has given it merits as the most natural and perfect sweetener to replace sugar, without having any trace of being carcinogenic.

On the other hand, there is rebaudioside A, a glycoside with a powerful flavor, many compare its taste to that of licorice. Its sensation of sweetness is 200 times more intense than that of refined sugar. Stevia also contains flavonoids that give it that distinctive flavor and that retain the necessary phytonutrients that make it so important. Finally, vitamin A, C and various minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus and zinc can be obtained from it.

Benefits that have made it popular

Stevia does not generate an increase in glucose in diabetic people, depending on the way in which it is ingested, one or other benefits will be obtained. In the case of the dried stevia leaf, it notably helps to reduce blood pressure, it has a diuretic effect that contributes to the digestive system and to the reduction of fat, this is also convenient in case of fluid retention, as it helps to prevent it.

  • In the fight against diabetes: Stevia is an ally for drinks and food, because in it you can find the desired sweetness that we know from refined sugar. What’s more, does not generate an increase in glucose in the blood, on the contrary, it stabilizes it and its active principle is not absorbed by the body. On the other hand, it suggests being an ideal alternative for those prone to hypertension, since it does not alter blood pressure levels. Stevia is also said to act as a natural wound healer, something that can be helpful for those with less risky skin problems.
  • Adjuvant in digestion: In Paraguay, they have always taken it as an infusion, after each meal, as it has the power to relieve stomach heaviness and facilitate digestion.
  • In oral hygiene: With its antibacterial properties, it prevents cavities and gingivitis, as well as helping with ulcers. It can be used as a mouthwash to fight plaque bacteria.
  • To lose weight: When setting a weight loss goal, the first thing to eliminate (and for some the hardest thing) are sugars. A diet that includes stevia as a sugar substitute will help you reach your goals. Finally, and most importantly, stevia is caloric, its consumption does not contribute any calories to the body.
  • Use in skin treatment: It was already mentioned that stevia has healing effects, as it also is able to heal the skin with acne breakouts, blemishes, dermatitis, seborrhea or any rash, its antibacterial properties allow to control each of these conditions. In this case, its effect is not achieved by ingestion, but is found directly in the leaves of the plant crushed on the skin.
  • It is diuretic: Recommended in times of fluid retention or kidney problems, stevia infusion stimulates the elimination of unnecessary waste that accumulates and can be really annoying over time.

How to use stevia?

Its use will be according to the presentation found in the market and what you want to obtain from it. It can be found in fresh or dried leaves, these are used to prepare infusions, concentrates that can be reserved and used later as a sweetener in other beverages (tea, juices or coffee). Also, the fresh leaves can be used in the case of wounds or skin conditions. Another way to take advantage of it, and this is ideal for those who find it difficult to drink plain water, is to add some leaves in a jar to give it some flavor and sweetness, then use it to drink and hydrate during the day.

Another way to find it is in powder, this is done with already dried stevia and is an alternative for more uses in dessert recipes, for example, in which it is not possible to use the whole leaf. In the same way in beverages or others, taking into account that stevia is much sweeter than sucrose, two teaspoons of stevia powder is equivalent to one cup of sugar.

It is also available in a concentrated liquid solution, for free use. In the market there are pills, refined stevia and more, but these presentations are highly processed and you do not get even half of their benefits.

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