Did you know that the Sunflower family, Asteraceae, is one of the largest families of vascular plants? There are more than 22 thousand plants in this family. I bet you didn’t know that one of the plants in this family has grown by popularity in the last few years but has been of high demand in Japan since 1971, even Coca-Cola puts it in their soft drinks.
Okay, so by now you’re probably wondering just what the heck I am talking about. Well, I don’t really put sunflower in my coffee but I do use one of its cousins to sweeten most anything. It’s one of about 240 species of herbs in the sunflower family, its Stevia!
Stevia is a very versatile herb that has just begun to catch on in the U.S. although it’s been used for hundreds of years in South America for a sweetener. The Stevia extract can have up to 300 times more sweetening properties than sugar and has been studied for its anti-cancer, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Some of the more recent studies done in the U.S. and Japan show promising results using Stevia for treating osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes and even adding more calcium to your pork.
I am sure we’re all familiar with the current obesity problems in America and the fact that the average American consumes 2 to 3 pounds of sugar a week, a twenty year increase from 26 pounds per year to 135 pounds per year, it’s time to give Stevia a try. It’s a very adaptable, versatile herb that will grown in most any garden under most any circumstance.
On my own journey to get back to the raw basics, like my mother raised me (healthy eating and living), and to run as far as possible from diabetes; I started using sunflower in my coffee.