What is psyllium? I 5 useful properties
Although psyllium husk is not the first choice for performance and health goals, this soluble fiber has a range of health benefits. Whatever your sporting goals, these properties may surprise you. Whether you’re looking to shed body fat, cure metabolic diseases, or simply improve your overall well-being, then our five-point guide to using psyllium husk powder is for you!
What is psyllium husk?
Psyllium husk is a fiber derived from the husk of the seeds of psyllium ovoid, or Plantago, a plant native to Asia. The husks are ground to a powder and are a rich source of soluble fiber. In the digestive system, soluble fiber absorbs water to slow down the digestion process and the absorption of various nutrients found in food.
Although psyllium is used as a laxative in medical practice, it can also promote weight loss. Plus, psyllium is gluten-free, making it suitable for people with celiac disease.
Useful properties of psyllium
Helps control glucose levels
Controlling blood sugar levels is essential for maintaining health and preventing metabolic disorders. Studies have shown that adding psyllium husk to the diet can help control postprandial blood sugar spikes by reducing the amount of carbohydrates absorbed. 1
Improves cardiovascular health
When psyllium absorbs water, it forms a jelly-like mass that, in a manner similar to cholesterol-lowering drugs, can play an important role in lowering “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, without having any effect on “good” cholesterol, HDL. 2 This mechanism involves binding psyllium to bile acids in the gut and preventing their reabsorption. 3
Promotes weight loss
Often, those who follow a diet experience a feeling of hunger after eating – such an impulse can nullify an entire carefully planned meal plan in an instant. Sustained negative energy balance (long periods of time during which fewer calories are consumed than needed to support the body) is fundamental to losing weight. At the same time, psyllium husk, due to its high fiber content, can be an excellent weight loss aid. Studies have shown that the product helps to slow down the process of digestion of food in the stomach and increase the feeling of satiety after eating. 4
Studies have shown significant weight loss when psyllium husks are added to the diet. 5,6 These numbers are impressive in their own right, but the study participants also showed consistent, gradual weight loss over time, with no re-gain during the final months of the program.
Covers the body’s daily requirement for fiber
One teaspoon of psyllium husk contains as much as 5 g of fiber. This represents about 15% of the body’s daily fiber needs. You will get this amount of fiber if you eat 200 g of steamed broccoli. Fiber is important to consume daily, especially for those following a low-carbohydrate diet. Residents of the UK on average consume 10-15 g less fiber than the Institute of Medicine recommends (14 g per 1000 kcal). 7
Low-calorie diets are believed to be a risk factor for colon cancer, a number of other gastrointestinal diseases, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is necessary to solve the problem of insufficient fiber intake. Although it can be obtained from a variety of foods, 1-2 teaspoons of psyllium husk per day can help eliminate fiber deficiency in the diet quickly and effectively. 8
Helps ensure proper bowel function
To ensure health and prevent gastrointestinal diseases such as constipation and hemorrhoids, it is necessary to ensure normal bowel function. Such violations not only harm our health, but can also affect our ability to work or even make it impossible to exercise.
Studies have shown that psyllium has a pronounced laxative effect and helps improve bowel function. The drug is recommended for those who suffer from chronic constipation. 9
Compared to other sources of dietary fiber, psyllium is one of the most effective supplements for bowel problems. In addition, fewer side effects, such as bloating and gas, were identified when taking it.
The supplement does not contain gluten, so it is suitable for people with celiac disease.
There is no consensus on the optimal dosage, however, the positive properties of the product are manifested when taking 3.5-5 g of powder mixed in 250-500 ml of water. It is recommended to take the product 1-2 times a day, before meals. When taking higher doses of psyllium, increase the amount of water you drink. It is not recommended to consume psyllium without water, as this can lead to drying up of saliva in the mouth and other negative consequences.
It is recommended to start with a smaller amount – during the first week, take 3.5 g of the product once a day, and in the second week, increase the intake to two times a day. This is necessary because too much of the supplement can lead to bloating and discomfort.
The side effects are the same as eating too much fiber. The following symptoms are possible:
- Stomach cramps
You can minimize side effects by keeping track of your total fiber intake and increasing your intake gradually. Before you start taking a new drug, including psyllium husk, you should always consult with your doctor.
What is psyllium, or psyllium husk?
From the husks of psyllium seeds, vegetable fiber is obtained in the form of a powder by grinding. It is a soluble fiber that has a number of health benefits.
Can psyllium help with weight loss?
Studies have shown that the high fiber content of psyllium husk slows down the rate at which food is digested, thereby increasing the feeling of fullness between meals. Due to this property, it can help those who want to reduce weight.
How to take psyllium husk?
The greatest benefit is observed with a daily intake of 3.5-5 g of psyllium. To avoid bloating and discomfort, it’s best to start with a smaller amount and gradually work your way up to the recommended amount of fiber.
Psyllium husk is an excellent source of soluble fiber and can have positive health effects and help you lose weight. So, whatever your goal, psyllium husk can offer you an inexpensive and effective way to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.
Articles on our site are provided for educational and informational purposes only. We do not recommend using the materials of the articles as medical advice. If you decide to take supplements or make major changes to your diet, consult with a specialist first.