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Is Stevia a Suitable Alternative for Seniors?

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

Stevia is the natural sweetener sold under the brands, Stevia, SweetLeaf, Truvia or PureVia. The sweetener is processed from the Stevia rebaudiana plant that grows in Brazil and Paraguay. Stevia belongs to the Asteraceae plant family, which also contains chrysanthemums, dandelions and sunflowers. Touted as being 200 times sweeter than granulated sugar, the substance has no calories or carbohydrates and comes highly recommended by Omaha 24 hour care providers due to the numerous health benefits outlined below.

Diabetes

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics performed a study on various sweeteners including rebaudioside A, which is the approved component of the plant used for sweetening food. Over the course of 16 weeks, more than 100 volunteers consumed the substance four times everyday. Through the course of the study, researchers learned that Stevia had no effect on blood glucose or insulin levels or body weight. Participants diagnosed with type 2 diabetes demonstrated reductions in postprandial blood glucose levels. 

Hypertension

Researchers learned that some of the glycosides found in Stevia have a diuretic effect that encourages fluid elimination from the body, dilates blood vessels, and increases the amount of sodium elimination. These effects combine to reduce overall blood pressure. Under some circumstances, the sweetener also appeared to normalize heart rate. 

Antimicrobial Properties

The extract derived from Stevia has the ability to kill certain harmful microorganisms that include E. coli, Salmonella and Candida albicans, which causes yeast infections when allowed to flourish. The substance also proved to be somewhat effective against the common rotavirus. These antimicrobial properties are attributed to the substance causing mutations in organisms that interfere with cell function and their ability to reproduce. These properties also help decrease plaque levels on teeth and subsequent tooth decay. 

Medication Interactions

Due to the many properties offered by Stevia, the substance may interact and enhance the effects of prescription antimicrobial medications, diuretics, appetite suppressants, certain blood pressure formulations, and cholesterol-lowering agents. For this reason, seniors may benefit from having a little help from senior home care Omaha families can trust. Home Care Assistance provides comprehensive home care that strives to promote senior health and wellness. Our highly trained caregivers help with daily activities such as grocery shopping, nutritious meal preparation, and medication reminders to optimize senior wellbeing in the comfort of home. To learn more, simply call (402) 763-9140 and schedule a free in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager today.