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Benefits of Psyllium Husk:
1. Relieves Constipation and Diarrhea
Constipation is a very common health issue. Chronic constipation is especially common in adults older than 60 years, and symptoms occur in up to 50 percent of nursing home residents. Additional fiber intake in the form of psyllium is recommended by scientific studies to improve symptoms and provide natural constipation relief. Psyllium is recommended over magnesium-based laxatives, which should be avoided due to potential toxicity. When combined with water or another liquid, psyllium husk swells and produces more bulk, which stimulates the intestines to contract and helps speed the passage of stool through the digestive tract. Psyllium has also been found to be superior to docusate sodium for softening stools by increasing stool water content and has greater overall laxative efficacy.
Since psyllium husk helps make elimination easier, it also helps naturally treat hemorrhoids, which are often the result of constipation. Psyllium husk can also be used to help relieve mild-to-moderate diarrhea. It’s beneficial to diarrhea sufferers because it soaks up a significant amount of water in the digestive tract, which helps make the stool firmer and slower to pass through the system.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
Research makes it very clear that psyllium husk is a therapeutic addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle for people struggling with high cholesterol levels.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study, all subjects maintained their usual diets, which provided less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and approximately 20 percent of energy from protein, 40 percent from carbohydrates and 40 percent from fat. The study found that eight weeks of treatment with psyllium reduced serum total cholesterol levels by 14.8 percent, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 20.2 percent and the ratio of LDL cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 14.8 percent relative to baseline values. The reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol became progressively larger with time, and this trend appeared to continue at the eighth week.
Another study published in The Journal of The American Medical Association examined the effectiveness of psyllium husk as an adjunct therapy for people with mild to moderate high cholesterol levels. This study found that compared with placebo, psyllium achieved a 4.8 percent reduction in total cholesterol level and an 8.2 percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, clearly displaying psyllium husk’s ability to lower cholesterol naturally.
3. Helps Manage Blood Sugar
Psyllium husk can help current diabetics as well as people trying to prevent diabetes since the dietary consumption of fibers like psyllium husk can assist in maintaining healthy glycemic balance in the body. One study evaluated psyllium husk fiber’s effect on lipid and glucose levels as an adjunct to dietary and drug therapy in patients with type II diabetes. The study found that taking psyllium husk daily can help patients with type II diabetes control their blood sugar without negative side effects. Another study obtained similar results, indicating a beneficial therapeutic effect of psyllium in the metabolic control of type II diabetics. Psyllium husk certainly looks like a wise choice in the daily task to keep blood sugar levels in check, as well as a natural treatment for diabetes.
4. Improves Heart Health & Blood Pressure
Adding high-fiber foods like psyllium husk to your diet can help to lower heart disease risk. More specifically, a diet high in water-soluble fiber like psyllium husk is associated with lower triglyceride levels and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated the effects of psyllium in type II diabetic patients and found that psyllium not only improved blood sugar, but also reduced the risk of coronary heart disease.
Psyllium also has been shown to improve hypertension or high blood pressure, which has a direct negative effect on hearth health. Hypertension affects 30 percent of the population and is a preventable condition. One main way to prevent hypertension is through a healthy diet. In a randomized clinical trial, six months of supplementation with psyllium fiber significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in overweight people with hypertension.
5. Healthy Weight Management
In our society, obesity is the most prevalent health issue affecting all age groups, and it leads to many serious health problems, including diabetes and chronic heart disease. Psyllium husk is among the list of medicinal plants that have been shown to significantly decrease body weight. Psyllium husk can be very helpful in maintaining and achieving a healthy weight since it encourages a feeling of satiety when it is consumed. Since we naturally eat less when we feel full, adding additional fiber to our diets in the form of psyllium husk can help us not overeat and can treat obesity naturally.
In addition, psyllium husk’s ability to improve the body’s natural elimination process positively affects weight as waste matter is removed more quickly and regularly from the body. A study published in Clinical and Experimental Hypertension in August 2007 found that psyllium supplementation for a six-month period led to a decrease in body mass index. If you are trying to lose weight fast and looking to control overeating at meals, you can take psyllium husk shortly before or with a meal. The addition of functional fiber, like psyllium husk, should be considered as a tool to improve success in weight-loss diets.
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