Stevia is the name given to a green leafy herbal plant, which is native to South America and has been used for hundreds of years because of its extremely sweet leaves. Stevia glycosides, mainly stevioside and rebaudioside are the active compounds responsible for its sweetness. Stevia has received its recent fame as being an artificial sweetener that is more than 40x sweeter than sugar but does not affect blood sugar levels. It also does not have the negative side effects on the body, unlike normal sugar and is useful especially for diabetics.
Stevia's Explained Health Benefits:
High in Antioxidants - Quercetin, kaempferol, and the other glycoside compounds in Stevia help to eliminate free radicals in the body, thereby preventing them from mutating healthy cells into cancer cells. Antioxidants also help to prevent premature aging, cognitive malfunction, and various other conditions like heart disease.
Improves Heart Health/Blood Pressure - Certain glycosides in Stevia have been found to dilate blood vessels and increase sodium excretion, two things that are very helpful to keeping blood pressure at a healthy level.
Prevents and Treats Cancer - The rich source of antioxidant compounds found in Stevia makes it an ideal dietary supplement for various cancer prevention including pancreatic cancer. In 2012, Nutrition and Cancer highlighted a groundbreaking laboratory study that connected Stevia consumption to breast cancer reduction. It was observed that stevioside enhances cancer apoptosis (cell death) and decreases certain stress pathways in the body that contribute to cancer growth.
The journal Food Chemistry published a study out of Croatia showing that when Stevia is added to natural colon cancer-fighting mixtures, such as blackberry leaf, antioxidant levels soar. Together, these studies suggest Stevia’s potential as a natural cancer treatment.
Heals Wounds/Infections - Stevia has been found to reduce bacterial formation in the mouth, making it a popular additive for toothpastes and mouthwashes. It also prevents cavities and gingivitis.
Stevia is useful against skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Topical application inhibits the spread of bacteria and acts as a steroid in these situations, making it a popular option for many people who can’t get relief from these conditions.
Balances Blood Sugar - It was discovered that test subjects treated with 250 and 500 milligrams every day reduced fasting blood sugar levels and balanced insulin resistance, triglycerides and alkaline phosphatase.
Another study of male and female human subjects found that having Stevia before a meal reduced after-meal blood glucose and insulin levels. This research demonstrates how Stevia may aid in glucose regulation.
Lowers Cholesterol - Results of a 2009 study showed that Stevia had “positive and encouraging effects” on overall cholesterol profiles. It’s important to note that researchers also found that there were no adverse Stevia side effects on the health status of the subjects involved. Researchers concluded that Stevia effectively decreased elevated serum cholesterol levels, including triglycerides and LDL (“bad cholesterol”), while increasing good HDL cholesterol.
Weight Loss - Stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener which can help decrease overall daily sugar intake and also caloric intake. By keeping sugar and calorie intake in a healthy range, obesity as well as many health problems linked with obesity, like diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be treated and prevented.
Anti-Ageing - Stevia, unlike sugar, aids in increasing bone mineral density and treat osteoporosis. A study shows its importance in increased calcium metabolism on test subjects.