Food Health

How (and why) to use stevia instead of sugar ?

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Stevia has undoubtedly become the healthiest and lightest alternative to sugar to sweeten your drinks, desserts, cakes …

And it is that the leaves of this native bush of Paraguay, in addition to flavonoids and phytosterols that give it beneficial properties for the body that we will see later, contain:

Steviol glycosides (steviosides, rebaudiosides, dulcosides …), which are the substances responsible for its extraordinary sweet taste (250-300 times higher than that of sucrose or table sugar).

But, unlike cane or beet sugar, this natural sweetener does not contribute calories to the body, which is a great advantage, especially if you are on a diet.
WHY STEVIA IS HEALTHIER
In addition to not gaining weight:

FOR DIABETICS: Studies suggest that it is a sweetener well tolerated by people with diabetes . Furthermore, an investigation carried out at the Aarthus Hospital in Denmark reveals that stevia compounds not only have hypoglycemic activity (they lower the level of blood glucose) but also stimulate the secretion of insulin by the pancreas in type diabetics. two.

LOW TENSION: Antihypertensive effects are also attributed to it . Both in animal and human studies it has been seen that this plant has hypotensive and diuretic properties.
NO CALORIES: Thanks to its practically zero caloric load, it helps prevent obesity .
AGAINST INFECTIONS: It has antibacterial effect and helps to neutralize the action of some infectious agents (such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococos aureus).
HEALTHY TEETH: Chewing fresh stevia leaves can help eliminate plaque . In addition, this plant lacks a cariogenic effect (it does not cause cavities).
TAKE CARE OF THE CELLS: It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties .

AND ALSO … It is not a source of phenylalanine, so in addition to replacing common sugar, it can also replace other synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame (synthetic sweetener), which is contraindicated for people who do not tolerate this substance.
BEFORE YOU TAKE IT YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW …
Despite the many benefits it can bring you, there are certain details that you should take into account when using it :

Its flavor is not liked by everyone. The sweetness of stevia leaves a slight bitter aftertaste at the end (reminds many of licorice) that may not be pleasing.
Many times the palate ends up getting used to this flavor and, over time, it is better tolerated . However, that bitter aftertaste makes its use in confectionery somewhat complicated .

It is not always “natural”. To lose its bitterness, stevia is sold in a processed version. This preparation –which is found in stores in the form of powder, pills or drops– is made by isolating only its steviol glycosides: it does not provide the other components of the stevia plant.
Thus, stevia in its processed version is a simple sweetener that can be used more easily in desserts, but it does not have the rest of the healthy properties of this plant.
HOW MUCH STEVIA TO PUT
Stevia, unlike sugar, provides almost no calories, but its sweetening power is very high and must be used with caution. We explain how you can add it to prevent the end result from being too sweet:

In coffee or herbal teas. One teaspoon of dried leaves is equal to 10 tablespoons of sugar. To achieve the sweetness of an envelope of sugar you only have to add half a quarter of a teaspoon of stevia!

In sweet and sour preparations. You can make meat or fish with sweet and sour sauces by substituting an infusion of stevia for the sugar . To achieve the point of sweetness that seems most appropriate, add it little by little. Otherwise, the end result may be too sweet.
ENHANCES ITS BENEFITS IN INFUSION
The infusion of its leaves can be a remedy with great antioxidant properties , making it a very good option for your health.

Of course, to preserve these beneficial properties, it is advisable that you take into account some indications. Put these tips into practice if you want to take full advantage of the virtues of stevia :

Better with dry leaves. When you dry them (you should choose those that come from organic farming) their phenols increase, according to the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

Just for 5 minutes. The antioxidant capacity of stevia leaves is lost after cooking more than 5 minutes. So, you know, when you go to prepare the infusion do not forget to leave it just in time.
Without allowing it to boil. Scientists have seen that to better preserve the qualities of this plant, the water must be at 90º.

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