Who does not love sweets? Sugar has been one of the most commonly used household sweeteners in the world. And the use of artificial sweeteners in various food and drinks has also been just as common. Sweeteners have found use in pretty much everything, from cooking foods to baking cakes to adding these to our beverages. However, the use of excessive sweeteners has led to a lot of health issues for us.
Our sedentary lifestyle and overindulgence in sweets are often related with bad health. But replacing these sweeteners with herbs, such as stevia leaves, will help you reduce the ill-effects of sweets. Such herbs are perfect for a sweet tooth and for just about anyone who loves sweets and does not want to deal with the ill-effects of too much sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Origin of Stevia
The botanical name of the stevia leaves is Stevia Rebaudiana. These leaves are usually found in South American countries, such as Paraguay and Brazil. For years, these herbs have been used by the people of these countries as sweeteners for their food and drinks. The indigenous people of these countries called these leaves, “sweet herb.”
This herb is a part of the Asteraceae family and are also known as “Sweet-Leaf,” “Sweet-Herb” and “HoneyLeaf.” Although stevia leaves are basically grown in South American countries, but they can be grown in other areas of Asia as well.
These leaves are made of different compounds, all of which make stevia leaves nutritional and friendly for even diabetes patients. Since the demand for low-calorie food is in high demand, there is nothing better than the use of stevia leaves as sweeteners.
Stevia leaves draw their sweetness from two components in the plant, and they are:
- Stevioside and
These substances is concentrated in the plant. Stevioside can make up to 10% of the leaf. Apart from this, the leaves contain other nutrients, such as:
- Glycoside which is made up of stevioside, Rebauside, and Dulcosida,
- Vitamin A,
- Vitamin C,
- Calcium and
Another thing worth noting about stevia leaves is that these leaves can withstand high temperatures, and can be used with other sweeteners, such as honey while cooking. Furthermore, when you add stevia leaves to a food that you would bake, it does not lead your baked goods to become brown in the end.
Stevia leaves can be used as a replacement for sugars and other artificial sweeteners in the following goods:
- Beverages, including soft drinks,
- Baked items,
- Chewing gums,
- Ice cream,
- Dairy products, and much more
Stevia Leaves and Sweetness
Stevia leaves have been used as replacements or substitutes for sugars by many food hackers and health conscious people. The fact that stevia leaves come with high nutritional value and still help you suppress your sweet cravings is the number one reason for popularity.
Since stevia leaves come from plants, and no two plants come with the same composition, the sweetness of stevia leaves from different kinds of plants will be different. The sweetness level of the stevia leaves ranges between 200 and 250 times of the sweetness of sucrose.
Saccharin - Artificial Sweetener and Adverse Effects
Saccharin is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners. It has been commercially used for at least a century now. However, the use of this is hardly safe for our health. Although it was believed to cause urinary bladder cancer, which was later disapproved, there are still different problems and risks associated to these.
The risks include:
- Breathing problems,
- Headaches and
- Skin problems.
The use of this element has and should be restricted to the following groups, as they may cause some allergies:
- Infants and
- Pregnant women
Stevia leaves and Green Tea
It is quite evident that the use of stevia leaves is extremely beneficial to your health. There are number of reasons for it, but the best one remains to be the low calorie count of the stevia leaves . Furthermore, since we drink beverages throughout the day, be it tea or coffee, the use of better additives to our beverages is critical.
For people who wish to manage their weight, health and especially for those who wish to find a way to indulge in sweet desires without signing up for health disadvantages. The sweet nature of this particular type of leaves are best for all, even the children can enjoy it.
These leaves can be added to coffee, tea and green tea.
Cost of Stevia compared to Artificial Sweetener
The price of stevia leaves actually depends of the quality and the purity of the leaves. Each brand comes with different pricing. However, the one point to keep in mind is that when the prices of the stevia leaves are compared to other kinds of artificial sweeteners, then stevia leaves fall somewhere in the middle.
Benefits of Stevia Leaves
There are numerous benefits of stevia leaves, some of them are:
- Stevia can be used with different kinds of sweeteners as well.
- Since it can withstand higher temperatures, these do not ruin the food that you cook.
- Furthermore, these leaves are high in nutrition and low in calories, perfect for your health.