Nowadays people are more focused on healthy eating than ever before. They have also understood that fad diets will not do any good in the long run. As a result, instead of completely eliminating certain foods from their diet, they have now started replacing them with their healthier counterparts. One such food item is SUGAR.
It is a well-known fact that excessive intake of sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, therefore a lot of sugar substitutes have made their place in the market. Widely used sugar substitutes include aspartame, acesulfame potassium, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia. Though they are considered useful in fighting against obesity, diabetes and heart diseases they also have their adverse effects on health. Since the initial five are artificially created, therefore, they tend to be more harmful than being useful. But stevia is one sugar substitute which is natural and not artificially made and is better over the other.
Stevia is a plant-based herb which is almost grown all over the world. Its sweetness is much more concentrated than that of sugar, therefore, the sweetness provided by half teaspoon stevia is equivalent to that of 1 cup sugar, thereby cutting down the unnecessary calories. Moreover, it has almost nil carbohydrates, calories and a zero glycemic index. The health benefits of stevia include:
- Diabetes Management: Stevia contains a compound-stevioside, which upon breaking down causes the glucose-containing particles to get absorbed by the bacteria in the colon rather than the bloodstream, thereby, regulating the glucose levels in the body.
- Regulates Blood Pressure: Apart from stevioside, stevia contains another glycoside which has a calming and relaxing effect on the blood vessels which facilitates the elimination of sodium in the body. This puts less stress on the cardiovascular system thereby, causing a drop in blood pressure.
- Prevents Cancer: Since stevia is a rich source of antioxidants, it helps in eliminating free radicals from the body, thereby, preventing the mutation of healthy cells into cancer-causing cells.
- Skin-Care: Stevia has antiseptic, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which make it useful in the treatment of skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis.
- Other Benefits: Stevia also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal and diuretic properties.
Stevia can very well be replaced with sugar in every way. Some amazing ways to use stevia are adding it to oatmeal, tea and coffee, lemonade, smoothies, fruit sauces, jams, and jellies. So, start replacing sugar with stevia and enjoy its health benefits.