Stevia is a wonder sweetener that can help your body in a number of ways. Here’s what you need to know.
If you are a diabetic or are on a diet, sugar is possibly one of your worst enemies. And to satiate your sweet cravings, you must have tried everything out there. But did you know that stevia can help your body in a number of ways other than controlling your sugar levels and aiding in your weight loss goals? Here are eight benefits of the wonder sweetener that you might not have known about.
#1 Lowers your blood sugar levels
Stevia is used as a substitute for sugar, especially for diabetics. It contains a compound called steviol glycoside that is not absorbed by the body and cannot be broken down and hence, is flushed out directly. It stabilizes your blood sugar by increasing insulin resistance, inhibits the absorption of glucose and promotes the health of the pancreas.
Tip: Stevia tea is one of the best concoctions to keep one’s blood sugar under control. Just steep some stevia leaves in warm water for about five to seven minutes. Drink this tea either hot or cold two to three times a day.
Warning: People with low blood sugar should avoid drinking stevia tea as it could lead to a drastic drop in blood sugar levels.
#2 Controls high blood pressure
According to a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Biology and Technology stevia can lower the blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. However, the results are seen over one to two years. Hence, people who are more prone to the disease can it in their diet to prevent hypertension.
Tip: Drink a cup of stevia tea on a daily basis to maintain your blood pressure levels and lower your risk as well.
#3 Beats dandruff and acne
Being packed with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory compounds, stevia can help you to get rid of acne and dandruff. Apart from this, it is used to repair dry and damaged hair.
Tip: For dandruff free hair, just add a few drops of stevia extract into your shampoo and use it regularly. In case of acne, either make a paste of the leaves or apply the extract directly to the pimple and leave overnight. The extract will dry out the pimple and more importantly will not leave a blemish. It is important to note that one must use it regularly to see the desired results.
#4 Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
Stevia contains a compound called retinoic acid that thwarts the progression of wrinkles. It works by inhibiting the breakdown of cells especially collagen and elastin. Moreover, it reduces sebum production and even enhances the life span of cells.
Tip: To reap its skincare benefits, all you need to do is mix stevia extract in their regular face cream and use it on a daily basis. Alternatively, you can apply the extract on your face every night and wash it off with cold water after half an hour.
#5 Helps protect your teeth and gums
Gingivitis is an infection of the gums caused by bacteria. As stevia contains antibacterial and inflammatory compounds, it prevents the colonization of bacteria in the mouth and around the gums. This in turn hinders the formation of cavities and plaque that predominantly contributes to the onset of gingivitis.
Tip: Add few drops of stevia extract to your toothpaste or gargle regularly with the stevia mouthwash or stevia tea. To make stevia mouthwash add two to three drops of stevia extract to a small cup of warm water and gargle.
#6 Reduces heartburn and indigestion
The presence of specific plant glycosides in stevia soothes an irritated stomach lining and thus, aids in the treatment of indigestion and heartburn.
Tip: Drink a cup of warm stevia tea to deal with indigestion, whereas its cooled form combats heartburn.
#7 Aids in weight loss
Stevia is great for weight loss as it contains no calories and can be used a sweetener. You can use it in baked and cooked products as the glycosides present in it, do not break down when cooked. An added advantage of this leaf is that it has the capability of reducing your cravings for fatty foods.
Tip: In order to use stevia in everyday cooking, add the extract or the leaf to your daily diet to satiate your cravings.
#8 Heals wounds faster
Stevia inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and thus, acts as a powerful natural aid to treat wounds and minor skin infections. Naturopaths believe that it has the capability to reduce the pain associated with sores and even treat athlete’s foot.
Tip: To treat athlete’s foot, soak your feet in warm water containing few drops of stevia extract. After soaking them for about fifteen minutes, pat dry the area. Do this for about two weeks for desired results.
Although stevia provides numerous health benefits, there are few side-effects that have been reported. These include bloating in the abdomen, lowered blood sugar in people already suffering from hypoglycaemia and lowered blood pressure in people suffering from hypotension. Hence, consult your doctor before trying it to avoid these health complications.
Disclaimer: This article is meant only for information. It is based on home remedies and does not condemn or condone the use of stevia.