Nutritions

Components
Malt
Stevioside
F
Rutine, nicotinic acid
minerals
Ca , Mg , K , P , Zn , Fe
Trace
Co, Mn, Si, Se
Vitamins
C, A, P, E, B1, B2, folic acid

Benefits

  • Stevia herb parts are very low in calories. Parts by parts its dry leaves are roughly 40 times sweeter than sugar. The sweetness of sugar in stevia is due to several glycoside compounds including stevioside, steviolbioside, rebaudiosides A-E, and dulcoside.
  • Stevioside is non-carbohydrate glycoside compound. Hence, it lack of properties that sucrose and other carbohydrates have. Stevia extracts, like rebaudioside-A, are found to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. In contrast to sugar, however, stevia extracts have several unique properties such as long shelf life, high temperature tolerance, non-fermentative; but contain near-zero calories.
  • In addition, stevia plant has many sterols and antioxidant compounds like triterpenes, flavonoids, and tannins. Some of flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidant phyto-chemicals present in stevia is kaempferol, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, isoquercitrin, isosteviol…etc. Studies found that kaempferol can reduce risk of pancreatic cancer by 23% (American journal of epidemiology)
  • Chlorgenic acid reduces enzymatic conversion of glycogen to glucose in addition to decreasing absorption of glucose in the gut. Thus, it helps reduce blood sugar levels. The lab studies also confirm a reduction in blood glucose levels and an increase in the liver concentrations of glucose-6-phosphate and of glycogen.
  • Certain glycosides in stevia extract have been found to dilate blood vessels, increase sodium excretion, and urine output. In effect, stevia, at slightly higher doses than as sweetener, can help lower blood pressure.
  • Being a non-carbohydrate sweetener, stevia would not favor the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth which is attributed to be a causative agent for dental caries and tooth cavities. On the other hand, certain compounds in stevia are rather found to inhibit caries causing bacteria in the mouth.
  • In addition, being a herb, stevia contain many vitals minerals, vitamins that are selectively absent in the artificial sweeteners.
Usage
  • Traditionally, the plant leaves, often called ‘sweet herb’and were dried and used to sweeten maté, teas and medicines.
  • Baking with stevia is easy and convenient as stevia does not ferment and remains stable at a high temperature.
  • Stevia, which is several hundred times sweeter than natural sugar, does not change its flavor with increased temperatures; its stability is guaranteed up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius).
  • Stevia comes in both concentrated liquid form as well as powdered form, but many chefs prefer to use the liquid form when baking with stevia; it is easier to measure the correct amount of liquid than the powder.
  • Liquid stevia can be used to sweeten cold drinks, as it combines with a chilled beverage far more uniformly than sugar, which can end up at the bottom of the glass instead of combined with the liquid.
  • Liquid stevia can also be used in place of most syrups, although it has a more potent flavor and so should be used sparingly.
  • Liquid stevia is an ingredient in baked goods and is used in custards, pancakes, and pies.

 

Historical information

The stevia plant is native to South America.  It was first consumed over 200 years ago in South America where the indigenous people used leaves of the plant to sweeten beverages or chewed them for their sweet taste. Traditionally, the plant leaves, often called ‘sweet herb’and were dried and used to sweeten maté, teas and medicines.

The stevia plant was first scientifically recorded in 1899 as Eupatorium rebaudianum by Moises Santiago de Bertoni, in Paraguay.  In 1905, it was later defined as Stevia Rebaudiana, a member of the sunflower (Asteraceae) family and related to the Chrysanthemum.

Stevia leaf extract was first commercially adopted as a sweetener by Japan in the 1970s, where it is still a popular ingredient today.  Stevia is cultivated mostly in Paraguay, Kenya, China and the United States, and within many other parts of the world, including Vietnam, Brazil, India, Argentina and Colombia.

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