Common name:Psyllium husk
Botanical name: Plantago ovata
Scientific name: Plantago Psyllium Mill
Urdu name:چھلکا اسپغول isabgol
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 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.
health of psyllium husk
May help control blood sugar: By forming a gel with water, psyllium husk can slow down the movement of food through your digestive tract and the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream. A large review of 35 studies found that taking 5-20 grams of psyllium per day significantly lowered fasting blood sugar and HbA1c values in people with diabetes and prediabetes.1 This effect is likely noticeable mostly for people who eat a significant amount of carbs. On a strictly low-carb or keto diet it may not help much, as there is far less glucose to be absorbed from the food in the first place.
May improve some heart health markers: Psyllium can bind to bile acids, which may help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Additionally, psyllium has been shown to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol, which may reduce heart disease risk.
May improve stool consistency: Because of its strong water-holding capacity, psyllium husk has a potentially positive effect on bowel function: It may improve both constipation and diarrhea.
Does psyllium husk have any side effects?
Unlike many other soluble fibers, psyllium husk isn’t readily fermented by bacteria in your colon. Therefore, it’s less likely to cause excess gas or other digestive issues. However, if you take a large amount of psyllium husk (greater than 15 grams per day), you might experience bloating, GI discomfort, or increased gassiness.
A good rule of thumb is to introduce a small amount of psyllium husk into your diet initially and gradually increase it.
When consumed with adequate fluid and in moderate amounts, psyllium husk is considered safe. Like other types of fiber, consuming large amounts of psyllium without taking in enough fluid can lead to constipation or even an intestinal blockage, in the worst case (and very rarely).4 Psyllium could be a potential choking hazard if not mixed with enough water when consumed as a laxative, but this is not a risk when used in low carb recipes.
Overall, allergic reactions to psyllium are rare. However, they have been reported, primarily among health care workers who are exposed to large amounts of psyllium in laxatives given to patients. Although components in the seed rather than the husk are responsible for the reaction, researchers report that these components sometimes remain in psyllium husk powder.5 Individuals with highly allergic tendencies, however, can become sensitized to psyllium husk through frequent exposure, particularly through the inhalation of psyllium particles.
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