Psyllium husks are part of the plant plantago ovata, native to India and Pakistan. Psyllium has been used for weight control and digestive health for centuries. It is getting more attention recently as an excellent resource for those on low-carb diets because it provides the fiber that many people miss out on when they eliminate carbs.
Health Benefits of Psyllium Husk
In fact, in 100 grams of psyllium it offers an incredible amount of 71 grams of soluble fiber. In addition to helping you stay full and lose weight, psyllium husk provides many other health benefits.
1. Treats Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is not fun and can seriously hamper your lifestyle. Consuming psyllium husk can help reduce excess water in the stool and reduce the number of times you need to visit the restroom. Reducing bathroom visits can also reduce your chances of getting hemorrhoids and anal fissures. The fiber is psyllium also helps to reduce excess gas, which lessens bloating and flatulence. Physicians may also suggest using psyllium husks to treat bowel movement issues associated with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, or other issues.
2. Colon Cancer
Some studies have suggested that a high fiber diet may help treat or prevent colon cancer. Although more research needs to be done before the correlation is definitive, it could be worth incorporating psyllium into your diet to reduce your risk of this cancer, especially if it runs in your family.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a study that showed consumption of cereals high in soluble fiber helped treat hypercholesterolaemia. Studies have also shown that consuming psyllium can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol levels in the body. Psyllium may also help lower triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure, further contributing to the overall health of your heart.
Research suggests that diets high in fiber can help lower insulin and blood sugar levels in the body. This may also translate to reducing one’s risk of diabetes before they ever get it.
Psyllium husk also helps to treat constipation as well as runny stool. By creating bulk in the intestines, it encourages your intestines to contract and begin the process of eliminating this waste from the body.
How to Take Psyllium Husk
Psyllium can often be found in powder form in your local health food store. Mix the dried husk with water and incorporate into your diet as needed, after discussing with your physician or holistic practitioner first. You may also be able to find psyllium husk in capsule form. As an aid for any of the health issues discussed above, it is best to take the supplement first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Start with a small dose until your body gets accustomed to the high amounts of fiber.
To get the full benefits, Drink 8 oz. of water first, then mix it with another glass of water or juice and drink immediately after. This will ensure it doesn’t clump in your intestines. To prevent constipation, it is very important to consume Psyllium Husk with lots of water—drink around 12 glasses per day when consuming it. High doses of the supplement is also not recommended.
As a rule, Psyllium Husk should be taken two hours before eating or drinking your main meal or taking medications. This is because Psyllium Husk will nullify the effects of medications and prevent the body from properly absorbing nutrients. However, since Psyllium fiber is meant to help with digestion, if you’d like to add some extra fiber along with it you definitely can. Combining it with other high fiber foods like cereals or oats will allow the Husk to make its way through the digestive tract more naturally.
As mentioned earlier, Psyllium husk can hinder the absorption of medications, so avoid interaction of the two. Take the supplement at least an hour before or 2-4 hours after taking medications. In addition, if you have difficulty swallowing or have spasms or bowel obstructions, avoid taking this product.