Stevia is a plant from which we obtain a strong sweetener.
The natural sweetener does not contain many calories.
Great for anyone looking to lose weight.
Even diabetics can consume it.
What is hidden in this unique product?
Let’s take a look at everything important you need to know!
What is stevia?
Stevia is one of the most amazing foods in the world. It contains zero calories!
Stevia sweetener is made from steviol glycosides. This is the compound contained in the leaves of this plant. The resulting product is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but contains no calories.
How much stevia instead of sugar? The daily dose of sugar should be 131 grams, which you can replace with 0.5 grams of stevia.
Stevia belongs to the plant family Asteraceae and its relatives are daisies or ragweed. It is found naturally in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Paraguay or Brazil.
Stevia was discovered by an Italian botanist named Moises Santiago Bertoni. He discovered it at the end of the 19th century in Paraguay. The local tribe of people called the Guarani have used the plant for centuries in natural healing.
The natives used the leaves of the plant for burns, colic, stomach problems or as contraception. In addition, they were also consumed as sweets.
It took a botanist about 10 years to discover the plant itself in nature. Soon after, stevia began to be grown and harvested as a commonly available plant.
Cultivation of stevia
Stevia is one of the plants that you can grow in the garden or in a flowerpot. That way you’ll have sweet, fresh leaves whenever you need them.
You can use them fresh or dried in the kitchen.
Let’s look at a simple way to grow a plant at home:
- Plant stevia in the spring after all frosts have stopped.
- Plant the plants about 45 centimeters apart. If you use a flower pot, you will need a container with a diameter of 30 centimeters.
- The plant loves sun and rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.7 to 7.2.
- You must use fertilizer regularly. Choose a water-soluble plant fertilizer.
- Always water when the top 2 centimeters of soil is dry. Otherwise, do not water the plant, otherwise its roots will rot.
Harvesting and storage
You can harvest the sweet plant leaves when they are large enough to use. They taste best during the autumn months and before the plants bloom.
You can use fresh stevia leaves or dry them. In dried form, they will last you for many months and they also taste very sweet. How to dry them?
- Spread the leaves of the plant on a cloth on a dry and sunny day.
- Allow the leaves to dry for at least a day (bring them indoors overnight).
- You can also use a food dehydrator if you have one at home. When the leaves are dry and crunchy, you can crush them to obtain a dried spice.
- Store the dried leaves or powder in an airtight container to prevent moisture from reaching the raw material.
How to use stevia in the kitchen?
If you decide to grow this plant at home, you can use its fresh leaves.
What does stevia taste like? People describe its taste as fully sweet. Because this sweetener is much stronger than sugar, it has a slightly different taste. In any case, stevia is incredibly sweet.
You can easily add the leaves to drinks, tea or lemonade as a sweetener. But you can also add them to sauces instead of sugar.
The herbal tea that you get after pouring boiling water over the leaves is also excellent.
Fresh leaves are less sweet than dried leaves or the sweetener itself. Even so, they are sweeter than sugar, so you have to take that into account when dosing.
The good news is that you can easily use it in place of sugar in almost anything you make.
It tastes amazing in desserts, for example in coconut balls in many ways. But you can also add it to your morning oatmeal or buckwheat porridge , to which it will add a unique sweetness without adding an unnecessary amount of calories.
You can also find stevia syrup in the store, which you can make at home from the leaves of the plant. Using the syrup is very simple. It works as a liquid sweetener. Use very little as this sweetener is very strong. A few drops will do.
Stevia as a sweetener for diabetics
We have great news for all those suffering from diabetes. Stevia and similar sweeteners are beneficial for people with diabetes as long as they are not used in excess.
Many benefits are associated with the consumption of stevia, and not only for diabetics:
- antioxidant effects fight against diseases,
- blood glucose control,
- reducing hunger (supporting weight loss),
- protection against liver and kidney damage,
- reduction of triglycerides and high cholesterol.
Nutritional values of stevia
Is stevia harmful to health?
In general, experts agree that stevia is completely safe to consume in moderation.
According to the World Health Organization, the daily intake should be about 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. However, it is not known what can happen with excessive consumption of this sweetener.
Some research shows that consumption can also have disadvantages. Reportedly, there can be an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, which can lead to digestive problems.
Currently, there are not too many researches and studies that prove the negative effect of stevia on the human body. Most people consume it because it is much healthier than sugar.
Stevia and weight loss
Eating added sugars not only causes weight gain, but also type 2 diabetes and many other health problems. Limiting sugar in the diet is therefore the goal of many of us.
Stevia is a low-calorie sweetener that can help with weight loss and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Many people think that this sweetener is as bad as sugar, but this is not true. According to research, people lost weight and consumed fewer calories when they used stevia or other artificial sweeteners.
Stevia is a wonderful product that can be used not only by diabetics. It will help you lose weight, is beneficial for the health of the human body and easily replaces classic sugar. You only need to use a few drops of syrup or a few fresh or dried leaves. Everything is much sweeter than sugar and works great in tea, desserts and sauces.