Psyllium is a form of fibre made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It sometimes goes by the name ispaghula.
It’s most commonly known as a laxative. However, research shows that taking psyllium is beneficial to many parts of the human body, including the heart and the pancreas.
Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative.
This means it soaks up water in your gut and makes bowel movements much easier and can help promote regularity without increasing flatulence. It can be used as a one-off to ease constipation, or it can be added to your diet to help promote regularity and overall digestive health.
Psyllium is a prebiotic
A substance needed for healthy colonies of probiotics to grow in the gut.
A healthy colony of good bacteria in the digestive system is essential for healthy immune function. Your body is better able to fight infection, reduce inflammation, and maintain healthy tissue and cells.
Besides keeping your bowel movements regular and managing a chronic condition, psyllium has the ability to soften your stool provided you drink enough water. This can come in handy with short-term ailments, such as constipation. Used in this way, it can prevent complications of constipation, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
Research has shown that taking soluble fibre can help people manage their cholesterol levels. Proper cholesterol regulation is important for everyone, but it’s vital for people over the age of 50.
One study shows that at least six weeks of daily psyllium intake is an effective way for people who are obese or overweight to lower their cholesterol with very few side effects.
If you’ve been told that you need to watch your cholesterol, ask your doctor if adding psyllium to a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet will help you.
Numerous studies have shown that fibre like psyllium, taken as part of a healthy diet, can help lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Psyllium can affect your heart by lowering blood pressure, improving lipid levels, and strengthening heart muscle
Watching your weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is a concern for many people, especially those with a chronic condition like diabetes. Besides being good for your heart and blood sugar levels, psyllium may help you lose weight.
Because psyllium absorbs liquid in your body, it can help give you a feeling of being full. This can help you control the amount of food you eat. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking psyllium if they’ve suggested that you lose weight.
People with diabetes have to be mindful of their diet to maintain a healthy balance of insulin and blood sugar (glucose). Some research has suggested that fibres like psyllium can help people maintain a healthy glycemic balance.
Note: This does not constitute medical advice, always consult your GP if you are concerned about your health.