Theresteviahas a sweetening power up to 300 times higher than that ofsucrosemoreover, unlike the classic cooking sugar, thesteviait does not raise blood sugar (blood glucose level) and therefore can also be taken by those suffering from diabetes.
Theresteviais a very common natural sweetener with very ancient roots: in the past, the plant from which thestevia(Stevia rebaudiana), was heavily used in popular medicine for hispropertybeneficial.
Extracts ofsteviathey are still used today by native South Americans to prevent wound infections, to counteract inflammation and as a tonic to treat depression. In these regions thesteviait is known as "caa-lui-EE" or "kaa jheéé", literally, sweet herb.
The use of stevia and its derivatives has been admitted by the European Union (EU Regulation No. 1131/2011 of the Commission of 11 November 2011). In Italy, starting from that date, the go-ahead was also given to its marketing as a sweetener. As an ingredient in other foods (see “Coca cola life”) Stevia is reported as an additive.
The sweetening power ofsteviait is given by some glycosidic compounds such as stevioside, steviobioside, rebaudioside AE and dulcoside. These are compounds that lack carbohydrates and are therefore almost calorie free. Unlike sugar which raises blood glucose levels, thesteviait can even decrease the absorption of glucose in the intestine and have the opposite effect (in addition to not providing glucose since it lacks it!). It is chlorogenic acid that reduces the enzymatic conversion of glycogen into glucose so as to reduce the absorption of the latter in the intestine. Laboratory studies have confirmed that the steviait can lead to a reduction in blood glucose levels with a consequent increase in glucose-6-phosphate and glycogen concentrations.
Some glycosides present in thesteviacould promote the dilation of blood vessels and promote the excretion ofsodiumthrough urine. In fact, high dosages ofsteviathey can help lower blood pressure so it could be an excellent alternative to sugar even for hypertensive patients.
Is stevia carcinogenic?
Contraindications and side effects of Stevia
Theproperties of steviathey are due to the active ingredients contained in the plant. There Stevia rebaudinait is rich in antioxidant compounds such as triterpenes, flavonoids and tannins.Among the antioxidant substances contained insteviawe mention campferol (kaempferol), a molecule capable of reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23% as reported by a study published in the famous scientific journal American journal of epidemiology.That said, it is clear that thesteviait is not carcinogenic, quite the contrary!
The idea that thesteviacan becarcinogenicwas born due to bad information. Since thesteviais a very low calorie sweetener is mistakenly confused and associated withaspartame, harmful and carcinogenic artificial sweetener. Therestevia NOTit is carcinogenic, at least to date there is no study to support it. However thesteviadoes not lackside effectshow could hypotension be, therefore, betweencontraindications, its use is not recommended for those suffering from low blood pressure.
The stevia plant
Who is thinking of starting a small cultivation ofsteviaat home, he can buy seeds or a composition already prepared with this cultivar. The photo above shows a pot already full of seedssteviaready to sprout, its price amounts to 25.29 euros with free shipping. All information is available on the Amazon Click & Grow Stevia - Cartridge With Stevia Seeds ready to sprout.
More information on growing stevia can be found in our guide article:How to grow stevia in pots.