If you are a diabetic or are on a diet, sugar is possibly one of your worst enemies. In a quest to find an alternative to satiate your sweet cravings, you have probably tried everything out there – including stevia. But did you know that it can help your body in a number of ways other than just weight loss. Here are eight benefits of the wonder sweetener that you might not have known about.
Disclaimer: This article is meant only for information. It is based on home remedies and does not condemn or condone the use of stevia.
1. Lowers blood sugar levels and fights diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association stevia is a good substitute for sugar especially for diabetics. The leaf contains a compound called steviol glycoside that is not absorbed by the body and cannot be broken down, and is flushed out directly. It is especially good for diabetics because it stabilizes a patient’s blood sugar by increasing insulin resistance, inhibits the absorption of glucose in the body and promotes the health of the pancreas.
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 is very useful in lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension. Although the study found that the effects on one’s blood pressure are seen over one to two years, it does state that it is an effective alternative in controlling the blood pressure levels in people prone to the disease. Having one cup of stevia tea on a daily basis can keep a patient suffering from hypertension and those predisposed to the disease safe. (Read: Herbal remedies for hypertension)
3. Beats dandruff and acne
Known for its anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti inflammatory properties, stevia is great to treat persistent acne and dandruff. It also has properties that repair dry and damaged hair. For dandruff free hair, just add a few drops of stevia extract into your shampoo and use 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. (Read: 7 easy home remedies to cure dandruff)
4. Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
Stevia contains a compound called retinoic acid that helps reverse wrinkles. It works by inhibiting the breakdown of cells especially collagen and elastin, reduces sebum production, and possibly even enhances the life span of cells. All one needs to do is mix stevia extract in their regular face cream and use it on a daily basis. Alternatively, one could use the extract on their face once 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 due to certain bacteria present in the mouth. Since stevia has compounds that prevent the formation of cavities, plaque and bacteria in the mouth, it is great in fighting against gingivitis. The leaf contains various components like tannins, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and iron. All these compounds put together, prevent the colonization of bacteria in the mouth and around the gums. Since plaque is what predominantly contributes to the onset of gingivitis – by preventing its formation – stevia protects one’s gums from infection. All one has to do is add a few drops of stevia extract to their toothpaste or gargle regularly with stevia mouth wash. To make stevia mouth, wash add two to three drops of stevia extract to a small cup of warm water and gargle. Alternatively one could gargle with stevia tea.
6. Reduces heartburn and indigestion
Stevia contains a specific plant glycosides that greatly help in treating indigestion and heartburn. Moreover the plant contains a lot of fiber, carbohyderate, protein, zinc and iron. All these compounds put together helps to beat indigestion. Moreover the zinc, iron vitamin C and vitamin A help soothe an irritated stomach lining. In the case of indigestion drink warm stevia tea, and in case of heartburn drink the same tea after cooling it. It will help reduce the burning sensation and make you feel much more comfortable. (Read: 10 home remedies for acidity that really work!)
7. Aids in faster weight loss
Stevia is great for weight loss. It contains no calories, is a sweetener that can be used in any amount without the bitter taste of other artificial sweeteners. The good thing about stevia is that it can be used 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 one’s cravings for fatty foods and suppress hunger. 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
Research has shown that stevia is very useful in inhibiting the growth of certain commonly occurring organisms. Due to this property it is a great way to treat wounds and minor skin infections. Naturopaths believe that it has the capability to heal wounds faster, can reduce the pain associated with sores and even treat athlete’s foot ( a skin condition commonly seen between the toes, usually due to extremely humid conditions). To treat athlete’s foot, soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of stevia extract. After soaking them for about fifteen minutes, pat dry the area and apply a few drops of the extract. You will see results in about two weeks.
Stevia has had a few bad reviews over the years. It is known to have side effects like bloating in the abdomen, lowered blood sugar in people already suffering from hypoglycaemia and lowered blood pressure in people suffering from hypotension. Please do consult your doctor before trying it.
You may also like to read:
- Home remedies for constipation
- Herbal remedies for hypertension
- Home remedies to keep your heart healthy
- Top natural remedies for your liver
- Home remedies for acidity that actually work
- Home remedies for mouth ulcers
- Home remedies to soothe burns
- Natural remedies to beat stress
- Natural remedies for itchy skin
- 10 tips to keep your blood sugar under control (Gallery)
- Beat diabetes with these 7 foods (Gallery)
- Beat diabetes naturally with these 10 yoga asanas (Gallery)
- 10 ways to control diabetes naturally
- 10 healthy resolutions for diabetics
- 10 diet dos and don’ts for diabetics
- Home remedies for diabetes
- 10 healthy recipes that diabetics can enjoy! (World Diabetes Day 2013)
- Go vegan to prevent and reverse diabetes (World Diabetes Day 2013)
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