The powder of the outer covering of seeds of the plant Plantago psyllium is known as psyllium husk. The tree is common in Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. The species P. ovata is known for highest mucilage content in the coverings of its seeds. Since thousands of years, psyllium husk has been used as a herbal medicine to relieve constipation. These days, it is considered as one of the best source of fiber in diet. Besides its natural form, it is also available in the form of pills and tablets. Regular consumption is also believed to promote weight loss.
Health Benefits of Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk promotes easy bowel movements. It relieves the symptoms of constipation and mild diarrhea as well. It absorbs maximum water and makes the stools soft and bulky. As it relieves constipation, it stimulates the process of throwing away toxins through waste material. It prevents bloating, flatulence, and indigestion. It is used to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers. It cleanses the colon and improves your digestive health.
Regular consumption of at least 3 to 12 grams of fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol and the total cholesterol levels. This helps improve cardiovascular health and, in turn, overall health. All this reduces the chances of heartburn, loss of appetite, obesity, and other disorders. The fiber content in food is essential to have stable blood glucose levels. Thus, it lowers the chances of developing diabetes.
These days, psyllium husk supplements are taken by those who want to lose weight. As it is not easily or quickly digested by our body, it helps in keeping you satiated for longer periods of time. Thus, consumption of psyllium fiber supplements help reduce your appetite naturally, and promote weight loss in a healthy way. Moreover, removal of the impacted waste material (colon cleansing) in the system also is helpful in losing some pounds and feeling fresh. As psyllium husk improves your overall health, release of hormones in the body improves. It thus, prevents hormonal imbalance which is a cause of several diseases and disorders.
How to Take Psyllium Husk
You are supposed to take certain precautions while consuming psyllium husk. Those who are allergic to pollen and melon can be allergic to it. So, first try a very small quantity and watch for a reaction. It is always better to start with the minimum amount per day and go on increasing the amount gradually over weeks. You may start with half the amount suggested by the doctor. Consulting a doctor for the correct dosage is essential. The doctor will determine the dosage according to the age, severity of the problem, and overall health of the person. You should follow the instructions on the label, and instructions by the doctor religiously.
The most important thing to note down, is that you are supposed to drink plenty of water while taking psyllium husk supplements. You should drink 7 to 8 glasses of water per day. Along with the dose of fiber, you should have one full glass of water. As it absorbs water in the digestive tract, less consumption of water can result in dehydration and serious health complications. Those on medications should remember that routine medications should be taken two hours before or after consuming this supplement. It is necessary to inform your physician about routine medications before opting for psyllium husk to avoid health complications. If you notice any of the side effects described below, you should immediately discontinue taking the supplement.
Excessive consumption or wrong way of consumption can result in side effects like bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, gastrointestinal obstruction, general discomfort, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, allergic reaction (swollen tongue, lips or face; breathing difficulty, skin rash, hives, and anaphylaxis).
You can start taking psyllium husk by mixing half the suggested dose in an eight-ounce glass of orange juice. Increase the dose every week by an eighth of the dose. Drink one large glass of water after taking the dose. If you are taking psyllium husk to lose weight, then taking it 15 to 20 minutes before meals can be beneficial. It will keep you full and help lower your food intake. You can take it anytime during the day. You may take it twice or thrice a day, depending upon the need and the dosage. But do not forget to drink a glass of water with it. It promotes regularity and improves your digestive health.
Psyllium husk is present in high fiber breakfast cereals. So you can start your day with a healthy breakfast cereal and can stay energetic throughout the day. The husk is available in the form of powder, capsules, and wafers. Take a look at the figures in the following example: Oat bran, a very good source of fiber, provides 5 grams of fiber per 1/3 rd cup. The same amount of psyllium husk provides 71 grams of fiber! I hope that was enough to explain the increasing popularity of this supplement. So, how to improve health or how to lose weight should not be a problem any more. Just take psyllium husk and stay fit and energetic.