Do you suffer from high sugar or insulin problem? Are you a person with severe high blood pressure? Or you are overweight and do not know about a natural remedy for reducing your calorie consumption? Are you one of those looking for natural dietary supplement for sugar or calorie intake? For those of us in the middle age, immoderate consumption of sugar, calories and oil is a real problem. Medical research has however found out that using Stevia as an effective dietary supplement can quickly and easily eliminate or lower high blood sugar content and also reduce high blood pressure. The leave when used as a supplement has also been found to be low in calorie and consequently aiding weight loss. It has been found out that it really works if applied moderately.
What is Stevia?
Stevia Rebaudiana (Also known as Azucacaa, Estevia, Ca-A-Jhei, Capim Doce etc) is a herb which is native to South America, particularly in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. It grows in small shrubs in the wild. It is known as a source of natural sweetener. The glycosides in the leaves (including up to 10% Stevioside) account for its incredible sweetness. A Natural Scientist by name Antonio Bertoni first recorded its usage by the natives in 1887. The natural sweetener is derived from the sweet leave plant. It is said to be 300 times as sweet as cane sugar, therefore it takes only a small amount to produce the same sweet taste as sugar cane. It has been used in other cultures as a sweetener for long, however it only recently started gaining acceptance in the United States as a sugar substitute although it was introduced into the US in the 1990s as a herbal supplement.
What are the health benefits of Stevia?
Using Stevia as dietary supplement provides the user the under mentioned health benefits:
- It lowers blood sugar content: Stevia is known to have the possible benefit of lowering blood sugar level. It is therefore possibly an acceptable substitute for a person suffering from high sugar or insulin problem. It is advisable however that a person using it as a supplement should continue to monitor the sugar and insulin levels to know if they are in check.
- It lowers blood pressure: Some studies have confirmed that it lowers high blood pressure. Therefore it is an ideal sweetener for those having high blood pressure.
- It is carbohydrate and calorie free: It is ideal for dieters watching their carbohydrate and calorie intake. Since it contains no carbohydrate or calorie, dieters can use it as supplement in their nutritional plans.
- Possess antibacterial properties: As a result of its antibacterial properties it is an ideal ingredient for toothpaste and mouthwash. It is also used topically as ointment for the treatment of eczema and acne.
- Found to aid calcium formation: Some studies conducted on chickens fed with food preparations laced with Stevia found out that the eggs they lay had tougher shells. This therefore presupposes that it will be ideal for calcium formation in women and children growing bones. Experts have however cautioned that this has not been adequately tested in human beings.
What are the uses of Stevia?
The sweetness of the Stevia plant lies in its leaf. It can therefore be used in various forms. The use of Stevia is prevalent in Japan, South Korea, Australia, South America, China, Europe and the Pacific Rim.
- Grinding it into powder: You can dry the Stevia leaves and grind it into powder. You should leave the Stevia leaves to dry on a piece of newspaper for about twelve hours. Once it is dry, you can use mortar and pestle to crush it into powder or you use coffee grinder. You can then use the powder as sweetener. You should however be careful about the quantity you will use. A tablespoon full of the powder equals a full cup of sugar cane sugar.
- Making it into syrup: Stevia could also be made into simple syrup. To make it, you will pour a cup of warm water on ¼ cup of freshly crushed Stevia. Leave to set for about twenty four hours and then refrigerate. The syrup could be used as sweetener for beverages.
- Prepackaged as replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- It is being used in various food products. This includes the Japanese sugar-free versions of Wrigley's gums, Beatrice Foods yogurts and even in Diet Coke.
- It has also been used in Japanese styled pickles, dried sea foods, fish meat products, vegetables and sea foods boiled down with soy sauce, confectioneries and a host of other products.
From the foregoing it is evident the use of Stevia as an effective dietary supplement does work. Refined sugar on the other hand is devoid of any nutritional benefit and has been found to be the cause of many degenerative diseases. Stevia is sweeter and has none of sugar’s many side effects. For many people therefore the overwhelming benefit of Stevia is the fact that it offers a healthy alternative to cane sugar, saccharine and corn syrup. To them the fact that it has been used for many centuries in some cultures without side effect is enough conviction. Before going into the full use of Stevia as a supplement, it is advisable you contact your physicians for medical advice.