Four Benefits of
Stevia Leaf Extract

Try a delicious stevia recipe and get the benefits of stevia leaf extract. Using stevia as a sugar substitute will not only help with weight loss but with other health benefits.

We all are desperately seeking for foods that will satisfy our sweet tooth without adding extra weight around our waistline. Stevia could very well be the answer not only for weight loss and maintenance, but also for many other health issues.

This natural sugar substitute, called stevia, is made from the leaves of the stevia plant. These little leaves are extremely sweet and contain no calories or sugar. Plus, stevia leaf extract is a much safer option to other artificial sweeteners. Webmd.com states, "Stevioside has been safely used in research in doses of up to 1500 mg per day for 2 years." Due to the fact that stevia can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, most people would not even be able to consume 1500 mg in a whole week.

A serving size of the powdered stevia I use, NuNaturals Stevia, is a 1/4 of a teaspoon. But there is only 40 milligrams of actual stevia leaf extract in that serving. That means you need over 37 servings to get 1500 mg of stevia powder. I usually use maybe 2 teaspoons of powdered stevia a day for my entire family. But to get 1500 mg of stevia, I need to consume over 9 teaspoons of this powdered stevia. That is a large amount! I do think that it is easier to get 400 mg of stevia by using the liquid versions.

I prefer to use NuNaturals liquid stevia. This is filled with less chemicals. I also really like the brand Wisdom Natural stevia as well. They have a tasty variety of flavored stevia. One of my favorite flavors is Root Beer. I use it in sparkling water for a healthy substitute for soda.

I also love the berry flavor. It adds a burst of juicy berry flavor to a fruit smoothie. I especially enjoy adding it to green smoothies. As I can get away with using less fruit, adding more greens, and still enjoying it! This berry stevia also tastes wonderful in ice water with a squeeze of lemon for a "No Calorie Berry Lemonade".

Lose Weight with Stevia

If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. That statement makes sense. But how can someone easily cut out calories? Stevia could be one terrific option!

Stevia contains no calories and will not spike blood sugars. Maintaining healthy stable blood sugar levels alone will set many people down a path to a healthy weight.

Stevia is not just beneficial for weight loss. There are many other health benefits from using stevia leaf extract.

Safer for Teeth

If someone started using this sugarless sweetener to replace refined sugars in their diet, they may see a decrease of tooth decay. In 1999, an average person consumed 158 pounds of sugar a year. That means that people are consuming over 3 pounds of sugar every week!

Don't think that you consume that much sugar? Start tracking what you eat. Check out the food labels for added sugar, fructose, or high fructose corn syrup. Here is a list of just a few out of many foods that can be packed with unexpected added sugars: ketchup, baked beans, cream substitutes, salad dressings, deli meats, processed juices, etc.

One can only imagine how many teeth can be saved by replacing all of that sugar with healthier options, such as stevia. That is one of the great benefits of stevia.

Lower High Blood Pressure

Webmd.com suggests that there is research that stevia could lower high blood pressure by using between 750-1500 mg of stevioside each day.

Amanda Gardner, at CNN.com, states that researchers have linked the high consumption of fructose, another hidden sugar, with a raised risk of high blood pressure by 30%. In fact you only need to drink 2.5 cans or more of regular soda each day to increase your risk.

If more people choose to lower their risk by eliminating soda and using stevia throughout the day to sweeten water, they may have a better chance to lower their blood pressure in the future.

Lower Blood Sugars

Webmd.com also highlights other research revealing that 1000 mg of stevioside could reduce blood sugars by 18%.

Some Ways I Use Stevia

There are many foods used on a daily basis that can be sweetened with the benefits of stevia instead of the other harmful and refined sweeteners. For instance, homemade spaghetti sauce can be easily sweetened with stevia. Or squeeze lemon juice into water and add a dash of stevia for some refreshing calorie free lemonade.

And of course... I can't forget smoothies! Smoothies are another terrific idea.

I usually use between 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of powdered stevia in a large 3-4 cup smoothie. I like my dessert smoothies on the sweet side... I use about 1/2 teaspoon in a 2 cup dessert smoothie. I usually add dates to those smoothies as well.

If I am using the liquid form of stevia, I use about a dropper full for a large smoothie. If you want an all-purpose liquid stevia... I would recommend that you try using the unflavored liquid stevia. Then you can use it with dessert smoothies, fruit smoothies, green smoothies, and whatever else you want to sweeten and receive the benefits of stevia.

Summary

Even though stevia has shown all of these great qualities, there is still need for more research in order to validate the above benefits of stevia. In the meantime, people can enjoy the natural sweetness without the guilt of the calories.

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Thirsty? Check out more delicious and healthy smoothie recipes!