Psyllium husk or ispagula or isabgol is the covering of seeds grown on the plant Plantago Psyllium, that is found in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North Africa. It was introduced to the United States as a herb to relieve constipation. Psyllium is now considered as an effective fiber supplement. Isabgol powder or capsules are available in market which are regarded as excellent sources of dietary fiber. Oat bran, a good source of fiber, contains about five grams of fiber per 1/3 rd cup while psyllium husk offers approximately 71 grams of fiber for that same third of a cup. This makes the husk the favorite of many manufactures who produce dietary fiber supplements and powders. It has been observed that more and more people are facing the problem of excessive weight gain. Those who want to lose weight may take psyllium husk supplements.
Sufficient intake of dietary fiber helps improve your digestive health. As psyllium husk travels through the human digestive system, it absorbs water and toxins. Psyllium seeds swell 10-20 times their size when they come in contact with water. This results in stool that is bulkier, but also softer, resulting in fewer problems with passing stool. So, drinking plenty of water is recommended if you’re taking a fiber supplement.
Psyllium Husk Benefits
- The husk sucks up toxins and works like friendly bacteria in your stomach.
- It works great for constipation. It relieves pain associated with hemorrhoids.
- It helps to lower blood sugar levels in patients diagnosed with diabetes.
- It plays the role of lubricant.
- It effectively cleanses the colon.
- It helps you to maintain normal blood pressure levels.
- It reduces bloating and flatulence.
- It is considered as a safe natural laxative.
- It works great for stomach and intestinal ulcers.
- It is used to treat heartburn.
- It helps in natural weight loss.
- It is considered as best remedy for mild and moderate cases of diarrhea, since it firms up stools and allows for its slower passage.
- It helps lower cholesterol. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), intake of at least 3 – 12 grams of fiber can help reduce LDL cholesterol as well as total cholesterol levels.
Psyllium Husk Supplements for Weight Loss
The husk of the psyllium is mainly made up of mucilage or soluble fiber which is easily dissolved yet not readily digested and absorbed in the digestive tract. This fiber component is responsible for reducing your appetite. Weight loss with psyllium husk is therefore possible. It helps improve lipid and sugar levels in the blood, effectively reducing body weight. Most of the medicinal properties of psyllium husk are helpful in losing weight. For example, the husk acts as a laxative.
Studies have proved that even with a higher fat diet, regular and appropriate intake of psyllium husk can lower low-density lipoproteins, known as ‘bad cholesterol’ by about 7%. This helps in maintaining weight. The supplements are supposed to help pass more fat in stools, which eventually helps in weight loss. The husk is able to push ingested foods out of the body quickly, which allows less time for fat absorption. The supplements help increase the sensation of fullness in an individual. Eating smaller portions and consuming less calories result in weight loss.
The husk helps eliminate old fecal matter, which makes up about 4 to 10 pounds of your body weight. Regular intake of psyllium supplements can promote the passing of the impacted waste in the system. Any individual can almost instantly achieve a lighter body sensation and reduction in stomach size. Therefore, dietitians recommend psyllium husk for weight loss.
Precautions to be Taken
Psyllium husk is a healthy natural colon cleanser helping in weight loss. So, it is better than other chemical powders or tablets available in market. But you have to keep it in mind that it is not an actual fat burner. Balanced diet and exercise are necessary to lose weight. Psyllium husk can be a part of a low fat detox diet. It is usually recommended for overall improvement in health and for increasing your fiber intake. It mainly helps in natural bodily waste elimination, which in turn improves colon condition and enhances body metabolism. Psyllium helps to increase your feeling of fullness and reduces hunger cravings. Doctors suggest not to consume psyllium husk if you:
- Are under 7 years old
- Are pregnant
- Have diabetes
- Have difficulty swallowing
- Have had stomach problems before
Using psyllium husk for weight loss is an excellent idea, but the husk should always be taken with lots of water. You are expected to drink a full glass of water with the supplement and six or seven more glasses during the day. Some people are severely allergic to psyllium husk. You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice rectal bleeding, bloody stools, a rapid heartbeat or dizziness.