Stevia leaves hail from the South American country of Paraguay and is widely popular today for its extremely sweetening properties minus the toxic side effects. Stevia is believed to be around twenty to thirty times sweeter than sugar, and is popularly used as a sweetener because it doesn't increase blood sugar levels and practically have no calories that are harmful to the body. Aside from being a very popular substitute to your common table sugar, here are the other health benefits of stevia:
- Medicine. If applied on wounds and cuts, stevia aids in pain-reduction and quickly heals the wounded body part with practically no scarring. Stevia has antibacterial properties that quickly eliminate harmful bacteria from entering your system.
- Clean and plaque-free teeth. Stevia is also said to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria which often cause plaque and cavities within the teeth. More and more toothpaste manufacturing companies are actually introducing stevia in their products due to this inhibitory property.
- Enhances mood. If you're feeling down, a small dose of stevia can be a good pick me-upper. Its therapeutic and soothing effect is felt almost instantly.
- Increases energy levels and mental alertness. Just like chocolate, a diet which includes stevia can increase your energy and mental alertness over time. Think of it as a quick shot of espresso without all the harmful caffeine entering your bloodstream.
- Skin. Whole-leaf stevia is often used as a facial mask by a number of people, effectively tightening the skin and smoothing out those ghastly wrinkles on your forehead. What's more, it is also said to heal blemishes and other impurities often fond in your face, and is reported to be very effective in combating other skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.
- Healthy hair and scalp. Adding stevia concentrate to your shampoo can help produce healthy hair and scalp over time. Simply apply the shampoo with concentrate, and then the concentrate itself after shampooing, then leave for several minutes.
- Lowers blood pressure. Stevia has been reported to lower blood pressure to those with elevated blood pressure because it acts as a vasodiolator, while doing nothing to elevate the blood pressure of those with normal ones.
People who are trying to keep their weight in check can benefit greatly from stevia because of its sweetening properties minus the added fats and calories often found in sweets and desserts. Diabetics, who are strongly discouraged from consuming sweets in risk of heightening blood sugar levels, can also use stevia in replacement of the common table sugar. However, stevia has been proclaimed by the FDA as a "dangerous food additive" despite its many beneficial effects on the body. It is still unknown why the FDA made such a claim; that is why stevia use is regulated in many parts of the United States.