Have you spent more time sitting in the loo than in the world?
Are you tired of pushing out poop with all your power?
Are constipation and cholesterol your best companions?
What if I told you I have one solution that can solve both of these problems?
Yes, I do. Have you heard of psyllium husk? It is a soluble fiber used in traditional Indian medicine to fight constipation, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia. Essentially, this husk scrubs your innards to detox them.
What Is Psyllium Husk?
Psyllium husk is obtained from the seeds of plants belonging to the Plantago genus. Psyllium seeds and psyllium husk are age-old hacks for healing constipation as they are rich sources of fiber.
Out of over 200 species in the Plantago genus, Plantago ovata and Plantago psyllium are widely known for their therapeutic value. They are grown in parts of Europe, Russia, Pakistan, and India.
Plantago ovata husk is a source of natural, concentrated, soluble fiber. It is obtained from the outer membranous green envelope of the P. ovata seed.
P. ovata husk (that contains soluble fiber) and seeds (that contain insoluble fiber) are well-accepted, safe, and effective bulk laxatives.
About 55-60% of psyllium husk has gel or mucilage forming ability that is responsible for its laxative and cholesterol-lowering activities. Unlike other natural laxatives, psyllium husk survives the fermentation in the gut and increases stool output effectively.
Some Psyllium Facts
- The Indian name for Psyllium is ‘isabgol.’
- It comes from the Persian words ‘isap’ for horse and ‘ghol’ for the ear. Together, ‘isabgol’ describes the shape of the psyllium seed that resembles a horse’s ear.
- Psyllium seeds swell upon absorbing water because of their mucilage.
- Psyllium husk forms a clear mucilage or gel when dissolved in water. This leads to a ten-fold increase in its volume.
Psyllium husk is rich in some vital and unique monosaccharides and polysaccharides. These biomolecules work towards ensuring smooth digestion, an active metabolism, and a healthy heart.
What Are The Benefits Of Psyllium Husk?
1. Heals Constipation And Hemorrhoids
Constipation is known to affect approximately 27% of the population and is more prevalent in children and women than in men. A low-fiber diet is said to be one of the factors that cause constipation.
Using psyllium husk in your food or as a supplement can relieve constipation. The mucilage generated by the husk acts as a bulk-forming laxative that eases and fastens bowel movement through the small intestine (ileum, to be precise).
As a result, the stool does not degrade, harden, or cause piles or hemorrhoids when it is forced out.
2. Promotes Weight Loss And Cholesterol Metabolism
Obesity and hypercholesterolemia are connected to various metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. Increasing the intake of dietary fiber has the potential to improve the serum lipid profile.
Ingredients like psyllium husk, oat bran, and barley have abundant amounts of water-soluble fiber. Dietary psyllium fiber consumption has also been found to increase fecal fat excretion by 41.27%. This shows that psyllium can reduce plasma and liver cholesterol levels, increase the level of HDL (good cholesterol), and exhibit positive gut-modulatory effects.
This reduction in appetite and LDL levels, along with enhanced fat absorption in the gut, can aid weight loss, the right and healthy way.
3. Cardioprotective Properties
Plasma LDL levels are major indicators of heart health. Consuming foods that contain dietary fiber reduces LDL levels and boosts HDL cholesterol, thus keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay.
Having the recommended intake of fiber (about 10-25g/day) helps regulate the LDL in your body. A study conducted in 2007 found that water-soluble fiber in psyllium husk increased the HDL concentration by 6.7%, while insoluble fiber reduced the same by 3.3%.
This proves that psyllium husk, in combination with a low-saturated fat/low-cholesterol diet, prevents heart diseases. Apparently, it does a better job than most of the commonly prescribed cardioprotective therapies.
4. Controls Diabetes And Hyperglycemia
Many studies have shown the effect of dietary fiber on type 2 diabetes. Psyllium husk is one of the fiber sources that has exhibited anti-hyperglycemic and anti-diabetic effects.
Oral administration of about 10g of psyllium husk per day lowers blood sugar level, increases insulin sensitivity, and improves glycemic control in the body.
It is hypothesized that psyllium husk can alter intestinal motility to enhance the absorption of anti-diabetic or any other medication.
5. Protects Intestines And Excretory System
Psyllium husk has the excellent ability to maintain intestinal mucosa. Due to the ability of this fiber to fix organic and inorganic substances, their absorption by the intestinal cells is delayed, reduced, or even prevented (just like a flu-defense mechanism).
The dietary fiber in psyllium husk may also protect your duodenum by decreasing gastric acid secretion. Therefore, it can reduce the intensity of duodenal or gastric ulcers if taken in the right quantities.
What Are The Side Effects Of Psyllium Husk?
Though there is little supporting evidence, the following could be the risks associated with consuming psyllium husk:
- May cause a drop in blood pressure if consumed in a large quantity, along with medicines that have a similar effect.
- May interfere with the absorption of certain drugs because the mucilage formed by psyllium husk can trap or dampen their effect.
- Likely safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers as there is not enough clarity or evidence that proves otherwise.
- May cause gastric discomfort in some people in the first few days.
How To Consume Psyllium Husk?
- It is safe to have 10-20g of psyllium husk per day as a wellness supplement or in foods.
- If you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or acute constipation, you can increase the dose to 30 g/day.
- It’s best to split the dose throughout the day.
Mode Of Intake
- Solution: The best way to consume psyllium husk is to add it to water and drink it after it dissolves.
Adding about 250 mL of water to a spoonful of husk should do.
- Porridge: You can have it like porridge. Add a tablespoon of husk and some sugar (optional) to 250 mL water. Wait for 2-3 minutes until the solution turns into a gel
- Baking: You can add psyllium husk to cookies, bars, flat fiber cakes, bread, and muffins to add some crunch and health.
Time Of Intake
- It’s best to have psyllium husk right before meals.
- Always have a sufficient amount of water with psyllium husk to prevent choking on it.
- You can take small drinks of psyllium husk 2-3 times a day to keep your gut happy.
Psyllium husk is a blessing for anyone suffering from constipation or digestive issues. It is recommended that you take at least 10-25g of dietary fiber a day.
With over 60% fiber and unique bioactive ingredients, this husk is the best natural, gluten-free, and versatile supplement you can gift your body. You can buy it online here.
If you don’t like the husk texture or gel-like consistency of psyllium husk, you can opt for psyllium husk capsules. Moreover, Psyllium husk has a long shelf-life and is not prone to degradation. So, I advise you to start taking psyllium husk in small doses and experience the difference. If you experience diarrhea or dehydration after taking it, consult your doctor.