Psyllium husks have become an increasingly popular food supplement used for weight control and intestinal health. They’re also great for anyone who doesn’t get enough fibre from their diet.
Psyllium is the husk of the seed from the plantago plant. It contains a spongy fibre that reduces appetite and improves digestion. When combined with water, pysllium husk forms a gel that can help to keep the bowels regular and is far more gentle and natural than using a laxative. It’s also naturally gluten-free.
How Do Psyllium Husks Work?
Pysllium husk is brimming with fibre, which acts to keep the digestive tract healthy and prevent constipation. It works by absorbing excess water and softening stools while stimulating normal bowel action.
In relation to weight loss, if taken before a meal, the husks expand in the stomach giving a full feeling, which may help to prevent overeating.
The Benefits of Psyllium Husk
1) Assists Weight Loss Goals
Due to its bulking properties, psyllium husk can be a great aid for those seeking to lose weight. Taking it 30 minutes prior to a meal with a full glass of water allows the psyllium to expand, creating a full feeling.
This can help those with bigger appetites to consume less, which can help to instill a healthier relationship with food in the long term. It may then eventually become natural to require less food to reach satiety – in addition to the added benefits of lower cholestrol and blood pressure .
2) A Great Natural Source of Fibre
Psyllium husks are an excellent source of fibre, with each teaspoon containing around 4g. Supplementation is an easy way to quickly boost your intake, especially if your diet leaves you lacking in fibre. For example, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets often eliminate cereals, whole grains and fruits, meaning that the amount of dietary fibre consumed is greatly reduced.
Busy lifestyles can often be the main cause of not getting enough fibre in the diet. Introducing pysllium husks into your diet may be able to help you with any fibre-related symptoms you may have. However, introduce fibre into your diet gradually, as adding too much fibre too quickly can result in bloating, stomach cramps and wind.
Just for you, we’ve also put together a breakdown of the best fibre supplements.
3) Promotes Natural Bowel Movements
Bowel function is essential to avoid problems like constipation, and subsequently haemorrhoids, which can have a huge impact on how we feel on a daily basis.
Psyllium husks in your diet can help to ensure that you get enough fibre, in order to keep your digestive system healthy. Not only can it relieve problems like diarrhoea, but it can also aid chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) .
4) Prevents Discomfort and Sluggishness
A healthy bowel may not seem like a significant health priority to some, however, you’ll be surprised how many problems will disappear once you’ve sorted out your digestive problems.
These problems could be the main issue for your fatigue, why you’ve been lethargic and even the main culprit for your lack of motivation. It’s important to keep ‘regular’ and our bodies require fibre to do so.
5) Helps Control Blood Sugars
Rocketing blood sugar levels can be dangerous for both those with and without diabetes – those without should be cautious not to develop diabetes. Introducing more soluble fibre, like psyllium husks, into your diet can help reduce rises in blood glucose levels, specifically after meal times. Strong scientific evidence shows that eating plenty of fibre is linked with having a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Even though fibre is known as a dietary carbohydrate, it is not broken down by the body into sugar molecules, unlike other carbohydrates. Instead, it passes through the body, assists the maintenance of satisfactory blood sugar levels and helps to keeps hunger at bay.
Therefore, individuals that live with diabetes, for example, could gain improved control over their blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of soluble fibre.
It is advisable to build up the dose gradually to avoid adverse symptoms like bloating, wind and stomach cramps. We suggest adding 2.5g of Powdered Psyllium Husks to 300-350ml of water or fruit juice one or two times a day. Psyllium husks are available in 250g, 500g, and 1kg pouches – great for those who want to see if psyllium husks are the right supplement for them.
Due to the bulking nature of psyllium husks, it is essential to ensure you drink enough liquid. Psyllium husks are not advised for those who have ever suffered from oesophageal narrowing or swallowing difficulties.
This natural source of soluble fibre offers an easy way to increase vital fibre intake, alongside a varied and balanced diet.
In addition, psyllium husks can be great in baking and are often used as an ingredient in gluten-free recipes. It becomes a gel when added to water or moisture, preventing gluten-free baked goods from becoming dry and crumbly.
So, if you’re suffering from intolerance to gluten and are trying new ways to cook and enjoy your favourite foods, psyllium husk could be the ingredient you need. Try it in:
You’ll also find plenty of high-protein recipes to include them in!
Take Home Message
Psyllium husks are a great source of soluble fibre that can have many positive effects on digestive problems.
 “Psyllium.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Available from: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/psyllium-000321.htm  Psyllium as therapeutic and drug delivery agent. International Journal of Pharmaceutics Volume 334, Issues 1–2, 4 April 2007, Pages 1–14 Available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378517307000610