What is psyllium?
Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It sometimes goes by the name Isabgol.
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.
People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease are all too familiar with bowel irregularity. The results of studies on psyllium’s effectiveness in treating these conditions are still mixed.
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.
Preliminary research shows that psyllium may help with the painful symptoms associated with these conditions. Since there is no real scientific consensus, talk to your doctor to see if psyllium could help you.
Research has shown that taking soluble fiber 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 fiber 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 the heart muscle.