The health benefits of Stevia. The health benefits of Stevia include its ability to aid in weight loss, lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar, protect oral health, build strong bones, prevent certain forms of cancer, and prevent cavities. What Is Stevia? Stevia is widely considered one of the most interesting and beneficial new discoveries when it comes to human health and nutrition. Stevia is actually the name for more than 240 species of shrubs and small flowering plants in the Asteraceae family, which is the same family as sunflowers. Stevia is known by different names, including sweet leaf or sugar leaf, but the formal scientific name is Stevia rebaudiana. It grows in the tropical portions of North and South America, but it isn’t well-known as a plant. Instead, stevia has received its recent fame as being an artificial sweetener that is more than 40x sweeter than sugar but does not have the negative side effects on the body, unlike normal sugar. The plant has been used for hundreds of years because of its extremely sweet leaves, but it was hardly known around the world. Now, the name stevia is spreading like wildfire because it offers something that millions of diabetics need, a sugar replacement that won’t affect blood sugar levels. As more and more research emerges about this wonderful new option for people on carbohydrate-controlled diets, the number of countries who are approving stevia as a sweetener and a food additive is increasing. In 2011, the EU gave permission for stevia to be used throughout the 27 nations. Without getting into too much detail, the molecules that taste like sugar in stevia, rebaudioside, are passed into the digestive tract, where they are used by the bacteria in the colon. In short, these glucose-like molecules are not absorbed into the bloodstream, so they don’t affect blood sugar, but their presence makes the food taste very sweet! This blood sugar bonus is not the only benefit of stevia, nor is rebaudioside the only nutrient this plant (and sweetener) contains.
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