Posted by : shabbirbhutta Monday, 23 May 2016

Stevia is a plant and the best source of natural sweeteners. It is widely grown for its sweet leaves.  It can also grow in containers as urban gardening. It grows up to 1 m tall and leaves length varies from 2-3 cm which is used as sweetener. It is commonly known as sweet-leaf, sugar-leaf, or simply stevia. In Pakistan it is also known as “Meethi Patti”. Seeds of Stevia were introduced in Pakistan by the scientists of National Agriculture Research Center (NARC), Islamabad during 2003.

It contains Steviol glycosides, which is responsible of sweetness of plant leaves. Its sweetness is 200-300 times of that of cane sugar but its calorie is only 1/300 of that of cane sugar. It is approved as a food additive and sugar substitute due to its health benefits. After research it has been revealed that about one-fourth teaspoon of the natural sweetener leaves or one whole leaf is equal to about one teaspoon of the sugar. If we chew few leaves of stevia they will satisfy our sweet tooth, and the torn leaves are an excellent substitute for sugar in cooking. Stevia will be the sweetener of the future, said by different researchers and scientists.

Stevia has got attention with rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar sweeteners. It has negligible effect on blood glucose that’s why it has got attention by people who are suffered with diabetes. Stevia is used to sweeten other teas and foods. Besides sweetener agent, stevia is used as a hypoglycemic, hypotensive, diuretic, cardiotonic and tonic. The leaves of stevia play an important role for controlling diabetes, obesity, cavities, hypertension, fatigue, depression, sweet cravings, and infections. It is also used medicinally as a cardiotonic, to control the problems of obesity, hypertension and heartburn, and to help lower uric acid levels. Stevia is considered to be helpful in weight loss because of its very low level of calories and its sweetness is so concentrated.

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