The fact that refined sugar is unhealthy is common knowledge. Its consumption has been linked to diabetes and cancer, and it’s bad for your blood sugar levels, teeth, liver and most obviously, your waistline.

For people who can’t do without the sweet things in life, finding an alternative to refined sugar can be difficult given the reports about so many health hazards associated with artificial sweeteners. If you’re looking for the right option, stevia may be the answer.

Stevia is a natural herb originating from South Africa, but as its fame has spread it’s being cultivated widely across the world, which is why you’ll find it easily in health stores and supermarkets.

In fact since it’s easy to grow, you can actually just cultivate a pot or two at home if you have a green thumb. Then all you need to do is pick a leaf, wash it and crush it into your tea or coffee or in any food you want to sweeten. It’s 200 times sweeter than refined sugar, so you only need a very small quantity.

The sweet herb has zero calories so you’ll be on track keeping your weight in control while you enjoy a stevia-sweetened life. Unlike sugar, stevia causes no spike in blood sugar so the side-effects that appear after a ‘sugar-high’ like fatigue and lethargy, are not there.

The best way to have stevia is not in the processed, but the natural form like taking fresh or dried leaves which will give you the best flavour and benefits.