Stevia is a plant-derived sweetener. Unlike other sugar substitutes in the market, stevia is beneficial for health. This plant belongs to the Asteraceae family. Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni), the prized species of stevia, grows in Brazil and Paraguay. Although the natives used stevia leaves since centuries, an Italian botanist, Moises Santiago Bertoni, is often said to have discovered stevia in the late 1800s. These leaves are not only used as a sweet treat but are also utilized in traditional medicine for the treatment of stomach problems, colic and burns. Stevia rebaudiana leaf is also one of the ingredients present in Herbion Naturals Ivy Leaf Cough Syrup and Sugar-Free Cough Syrup. It is added as a sweetener to give a palatable taste to these natural dietary supplements. Both these cough remedies are alcohol and sugar-free. The herbal formulations are non-sedative which makes them ideal for consumption during both day and night.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally deems stevia plant extract, of high-purity steviol glycosides as safe for use in food. The most amazing thing about stevia is that it has zero calories and yet is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Stevia is known to have many medicinal uses owing to its immunomodulatory, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-diarrheal and antimicrobial properties. However, two of the most prominent stevia benefits include management of high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Continue reading to discover how you can benefit from Stevia:
Stevia for Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Reducing the intake of foods and sweet treats which elevate your insulin levels is perhaps the most important way to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other age-related ailments. In comparison to table sugar stevia consumption before meals leads to much lower after-meal insulin and glucose levels. Even when stevia and aspartame, are compared, stevia gives lower postprandial insulin levels. In a 2004 case study published in Metabolism: clinical and experimental, a study was conducted on type 2 diabetic patients. Stevioside, present in stevia extracts was given to subjects and was recorded to reduce 18% after-meal blood glucose levels. In a 2010 study published in the US. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the effects of preloads with sucrose, stevia and aspartame, an artificial non-saccharide sweetener, were monitored on food intake, satiety, postprandial glucose and insulin levels. As compared to sucrose and aspartame, preloads, stevia preloads lowered postprandial glucose levels significantly. Participants who consumed aspartame or stevia preloads did not compensate by eating more for lunch or dinner, even though they consumed fewer calories. This is an indication that stevia stabilises insulin and blood sugar levels.
Stevia for Diabetes
Stevia has the unique ability to suppress plasma glucose levels and elevate your glucose tolerance. On the one hand, stevia sweetener has zero calories and is highly beneficial for those seeking to reduce glucose levels. On the other hand, sucrose contains many calories and can make you gain weight. Foods with a glycemic index of less than 50 are generally considered safe for people with diabetes. Sucrose has a glycemic index of 80 as compared to stevia, which has an index of zero. Furthermore, patients of type 2 diabetes can also benefit from stevia as it is also known to trigger a glucagon response and lower blood glucose. Glucagon is the hormone which modulates blood glucose levels within the blood. However, for diabetic patients, glucagon functionality is usually compromised. For these reasons, it is best to replace artificial sugars with stevia as much as possible. This plant makes for the ideal substitute for processed sugar without giving a bitter taste or compromising the sweetness level of your food.
Stevia for Low Blood Pressure
In a 2003 study published in Clinical Therapeutics, conducted on 174 women and men with hypertension were given capsules containing either 500mg stevioside powder or placebo, thrice a day for 2 years. Every month blood pressure was measured in a clinic. Towards the end of the experiment, the subjects given stevioside showed improvement in blood pressure levels. These effects were noted approximately one week after the start of the treatment and continued throughout the study. Yet another 2000 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, conducted on 106 individuals with hypertension were either given 250mg stevioside or placebo thrice a day. Blood pressure was checked every month for 1 year. In just 3 months’ subjects given stevioside reported a decline in blood pressure. These studies indicate that stevioside, stevia extract, is a well-tolerated sweetener for those with hypertension and it can also be beneficial for those suffering from blood pressure.
You can start by adding stevia to drinks, juices and even desserts. As an alternative to supplements with sugar, you can incorporate sugar-free ones into your regimen. Ivy Leaf Cough Syrup and Sugar-Free Cough Syrup are two such supplements that contain stevia and other potent herbs which provide quick and effective relief from cough. Order natural cough remedies from Amazon.ca for a hassle-free shopping experience.