Fibre is one of those nutrients that everyone will have heard of and will have seen on the packaging of the foods that they eat. However, unlike things like carbs, fats, and protein, fibre is a nutrient that many people, unfortunately, do not pay too much attention to or really quite understand what it does.
As a result of this, only 5% of adults eat the suggested level of dietary fiber, with the recommended dietary fiber intake being 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men. While this may not seem like a big deal, not getting enough fibre is actually extremely detrimental to your health.
When it comes to upping your dietary fibre intake there are plenty of great options out there, yet a lack of info can again make choosing one hard. This is extra true when there are new types of dietary fibre constantly being found or popularised all the time. A perfect example of this is psyllium husk.
A substance that most people will not have heard of, it is fast becoming a very popular inclusion in fibre supplements. The question is, is it really an effective source of fibre you can trust though? Well, that is what we aim to show you in our all-you-need-to-know guide to psyllium husk and digestion.
What Is Psyllium Husk?
Psyllium husk is a source of indigestible fiber found in the seed husks of the plantago ovata plant, which is native to the Mediterranean, North America, and central, east, and south Asia.
It is a convenient and concentrated source of soluble fiber that can also be fermented into the short chain fatty acid butyric acid. It has long been used in traditional medicine to boost digestion and aid your overall health, and it is slowly beginning to get more popular in modern supplements as well.
How Does Psyllium Husk Work For Digestion?
Like all other types of soluble fibre, psyllium husk absorbs the water that it comes into contact with in the gut. This forms a gel-like substance that adds bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass and less likely to cause any stomach issues, pains, or damage.
The gel effect of psyllium also stimulates “peristalsis,” which is the pumping action of the intestines. By improving this process, it allows the intestines to eliminate waste much more effectively. This can help you to regulate your bowel movements and alleviate symptoms of constipation and diarrhoea.
Improving your digestion also has the added benefit of improving your overall gut health as well, which will increase the presence of gut microbiome.
The Importance Of Gut Health & Microbiome
Gut microbiome is a community of microorganisms that live in the human digestive system and play a crucial role in helping to maintain our overall health and well-being. They can help to break down food, absorb nutrients, improve immune responses, and even boost brain functions.
The better your overall gut health is, the greater quantity of these gut microbiome will be present. This means that your gut health directly correlates to your overall health as well.
Researchers have found that psyllium husk can not only improve gut mobility directly but it can also regulate the gut microbiome as well. This makes it a great choice to enhance your digestive health and overall physical and mental health.
Other Benefits Of Psyllium Husk
Improving digestion and gut health is undoubtedly the primary and most popular benefit of taking psyllium husk. However, it is not the only benefit. We will now look at some of the other benefits of psyllium husk, to give you a much clearer idea of what you are getting yourself into with this fibre.Your Attractive Heading
Psyllium husk is able to promote intestinal mobility and make it easier to pass a bowel movement. While this may seem like an extension of it simply enhancing digestion, it also allows it to be used as a targeted treatment for conditions like constipation that you may already be dealing with.
Not only will it help you to pass a bowel movement and relieve any bloating you may be suffering from, but it will allow you to do so without pain or too much straining. This can help to prevent you from damaging your insides by pushing too hard in your desperation to achieve some relief.
Supports Weight Loss
Like many types of soluble fibre, psyllium husk can help you to control your appetite by slowing down the emptying of your stomach. This will make you feel fuller for longer and lessen your desire to eat, decreasing your caloric intake and supporting weight loss and fat burning.
One study found that taking 10.2 g of psyllium before you eat breakfast each morning can effectively reduce hunger throughout the day, making it far easier to stick to a calorie controlled diet.
Dietary fibres can lower blood sugar levels and insulin production, both of which will reduce the impact of diabetes and the symptoms it causes you to experience.
The gel formed by psyllium husk will also slow down digestion, as we established above, which will prevent the sugar from the foods that you eat being processed and entering the blood stream as quickly, further decreasing blood sugar levels.
Promotes Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association, consuming sufficient quantities of dietary fiber can help to lower the risk of either becoming obese or developing heart disease, with the former also being one of the primary causes of heart health issues in the western world.
This benefit is produced not only by its ability to promote weight loss, but also because water soluble fibres, such as psyllium husk, can help to reduce blood pressure and the risk of chronic heart disease.
Psyllium husk fibre binds to fat and bile acids, so you can excrete them with the rest of your waste.
While its effects on weight loss and digestion can help to prevent fat storage and your cholesterol levels from rising, the loss of bile acids forces the liver to create more bile using cholesterol, thus reducing your overall blood cholesterol levels.
The Best Psyllium Husk Sources
So, now you know a little more about psyllium husk, the next question most people will have is how can you add it to your daily diet? Well, lets take a look at the best ways to get psyllium husk, both from natural sources and supplements, to help you answer that very question.
Psyllium husk is a fibre found only in the seed husks of the plantago ovata plant, so, for people who want to add a natural source of it to their diet, that is the only option. However, oat, barley, legume, nut, seed, vegetable, and certain fruit fibres are all very similar if you don’t like to use supplements.
There are a few products on the market that include psyllium husk, and even pure psyllium husk powders. However, perhaps the most effective choice is Colon broom, as psyllium husk is its main active ingredient, while it is also supported by other ingredients that provide similar benefits.
A vegan friendly and gluten free supplement that is formulated to support your fiber needs and aid gut health, it is an ideal choice for anyone who is planning to give psyllium husk a try for themselves.
Is It OK To Take Psyllium Husk Every Day?
Psyllium husk is generally safe for most people to use every day. That said, you should start out on a dose lower than what is recommended on the product and work your way up, as this will help you to avoid digestive discomfort. Some supplements will even help guide you through a strategy to do this.
What Is The Recommended Dosage For Psyllium Husk?
The exact recommended daily dosage you should take of psyllium husk can vary, as it depends on the particular product that you are using. As a general rule though, you can usually take between 5 and 10 grams 1 to 3 times a day with a full glass of water to achieve maximum results, without any issues.
Side Effects & Risks Of Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is well tolerated by most people. That said, there are certain cases where people may run into issues. For example, psyllium husk may delay the absorption of some medications, reducing their effects. If you are taking any other medications, consult a doctor before you use psyllium husk.
Some people may also experience a few other side effects, like bloating, diarrhoea, gas, or stomach pains. However, in most instances, these issues will subside once your body gets used to the product.
If they persist though, either lower your dosage or stop taking psyllium husk entirely. Constipation or cramps are two other possible side effects of using psyllium husk that may be the most common.
To avoid these, it is crucial to drink enough fluid while taking psyllium husk, as it absorbs the water in your digestive system, and dehydration is one of the primary causes of cramps. Not drinking enough water can also worsen constipation and obstruction of the bowels, leading to discomfort and pain.
Although it is extremely rare, some people can be sensitive to either psyllium husk or to a high-fiber diet in general. This can lead to users experiencing hives or rashes, breathing difficulties, severe cramps, trouble swallowing, vomiting, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
If you experience any of these, stop taking psyllium husk and contact a doctor straight away.
Are There Any Foods Or Drinks You Should Not Consume If You Take Psyllium Husk?
Like with any foods or nutrients, psyllium husk and fibre in general can react to the other things that you consume in your diet and alter the way in which they are processed or affect your body.
Consuming dairy products like cheese, milk, or yogurt may interfere with its absorption and reduce its efficacy. Drinking carbonated beverages like soda or sparkling water may cause gas and bloating, while drinking alcohol may also cause digestive discomfort and should be avoided.
Certain medications also may not work, may work less effectively, or may cause adverse effects if you are taking psyllium husk while on them. As a result, you should always consult your doctor before you start taking psyllium husk if you are on any type of medication.
What Is The Best Way To Incorporate Psyllium Husk Into My Diet?
When you first start taking psyllium husk, begin with small amounts and gradually increase the dose as your body adjusts. You also need to remember to drink lots of water when taking psyllium husk.
The simplest way to take it is to simply add it to a glass of water or juice and mix it together well. You must drink it immediately after mixing though, otherwise, it will turn to gel. For more flavour, you can also add it to smoothies or blend it together with your favorite fruits or vegetables.
For people who want to eat their psyllium husk powder, rather than drink it, you can add it to your baking ingredients or sprinkle it on food. Adding a few teaspoons of psyllium husk powder to your yogurt is also a quick way to get more fiber and probiotics into your system at the same time.
Other Tips To Improve Gut Health & Prevent Bowel Disorders
By this point, you should know all you need to about psyllium husk. However, before we conclude our guide to psyllium husk and digestion, I quickly want to give you a few other tips to improve gut health and prevent bowel disorders, to help you totally optimise your digestive system and health.
Eat A Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital to ensuring you get all the nutrients your body needs to function properly and maintain optimal health. Getting enough fibre, vitamins, and minerals is particularly important, as it will help to improve digestion and gut microbiome production.
Fat will keep you satiated and make it easier to not overeat. Protein and carbohydrates then provide most of the energy that your body needs to function and help to repair any damage that may occur. You just need to make sure that most of your nutrients come from natural, healthy sources.
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is essential for a healthy gut for a number of reasons. Not only will it help to move nutrients through the digestive system effectively and expel waste and toxins, but staying hydrated is also vital to ensure that all of your organs function at an optimal level.
Limit Processed Foods & Sugar
Processed foods and sugar are both detrimental to your gut health and reduce the number of gut microbiome that are present. This can cause a range of problems that includes developing leaky gut syndrome, a disease called dysbiosis, and problems with the internal mucosal barrier of the intestine.
A detox is a way to try and rid your body of any chemicals or toxins that may have built up over time and be harming the way many of your systems function. This can be done by eating a very strict diet, drinking a very large amount of water, or by using dedicated supplements, such as Wellthy Cleanse.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is good for your gut as it will not only keep your body moving but it can also accelerate your metabolism. Both of these will help digestion to occur more effectively, preventing any blockages and boosting your production of the gut microbiome, to enhance your overall gut health.
Take Green Superfoods Supplements
Green superfood supplements are made using a variety of greens, vegetables, fruits, grains, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and more that have been converted into powder form. They make it quick and easy to ensure you get all the vital nutrients that your body needs, without having to alter your diet.
Manage Stress Levels
When you are stressed your body produces a variety of hormones, such as cortisol, which have a negative impact on your health. They can increase fat storage, cause bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, or worsen digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or stomach ulcers.
Keeping your stress levels down will prevent the production of these hormones and the development of all of the complications that they can cause.
Bottomline: Is Psyllium Husk Good For You & Should You Include It As Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle?
Fibre is an incredibly important yet often overlooked part of a healthy diet. It is vital to not only aid your digestion and production of gut microbiome but to enhance your overall health as a whole.
If you are lacking in fibre-rich foods in your diet, psyllium husk is a great way to top up your levels. You can take it in capsules or add it to foods or drinks, to make improving your dietary fibre intake exceedingly quick and easy, without having to change your diet in the slightest.
So, with psyllium husk being largely safe to use for the vast majority of people, if you know you need to increase your fibre intake, we highly recommend that you give it a try yourself.
Steve is a retired professional wrestler with over 10 years of experience in the personal fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer working with a wide variety of athletes as well as a fitness writer.