It’s Christmas time and New Year’s Day is just around the corner. Sweet things are on the menu, and the health-conscious among us are often looking for a way to cut down on the impact of all those desserts.
Several studies on this herb have found that not only is it naturally sweeter than sugar and a food with few to no adverse side effects, but it also helps to regulate blood sugar levels during and after meals. As such, it is an effective sweetener option for the holidays that’s growing in popularity for its health benefits. To maximize those health benefits though, there are some things you need to know.
Stevia is available at your local health food store in several varieties. Down the baking aisle, there are baking crystals or powder, packets, and liquid extracts. In the supplements, you can find whole setvia leaf tablets or liquid. Among the bulk bins and racks, there is stevia leaf powder or herb for tea.
The blood sugar health benefits of stevia leaf are in the whole leaf and in the compound stevioside. The FDA has only approved stevia extracts made from rebaudioside for food products, so to maximize your benefits, avoid the baking aisle and visit the supplements or bulk food aisles.
Cut Stevia Leaf
Stevia leaf in bulk can be brewed directly in tea and beverages then strained out. It sweetens herbal teas with little noticeable aftertaste and provides a good after-dinner option for regulating your blood sugar after holiday indulgences.
Liquid Stevia Leaf
Liquid stevia can be used for cooking and baking or adding to beverages without the need for straining. Follow recipes and instructions carefully for best results.
Stevia Leaf Tablets
You can also simply take the tablets before meals to balance and regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels after meals. Follow directions carefully for best results.
Cooking with Stevia
To cook with stevia, you can use any of the food products available to do so. While they are not ideal, rebaudiosides do change to stevioside in the digestive tract so render a small amount of benefit and certainly do no harm. Both forms of stevia do not raise the blood sugar levels the way that sugar does.
Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season for you and your family!