We all know (or should know) the health benefits of fiber. Fiber is an important party of a healthy diet. It helps our bodies maintain bowel health and regularity, lowers cholesterol levels, aids in weight loss and helps control blood sugar levels.
With the standard American diet that many eat today, people are simply not getting enough fiber. This creates a host of issues within your body and digestive system that are not pleasant. Fiber supplements have been popular for a long time and for good reason. It’s a very simple way to ensure you get an adequate amount of fiber, without worrying all day long whether you ate enough of it through your diet.
One of the most popular forms of fiber available in supplement form (and best in my opinion) is something called psyllium husk powder. Most of you have taken it in one form or another but probably didn’t know it at the time. There are four major psyllium husk powder benefits which make this supplement a must have in your daily lineup!
What is psyllium husk powder?
Psyllium husk powder is a type of soluble fiber which is made by grinding up the outer coating of the Plantago ovata seed. Plantago ovata is a medicinal plant typically grown in India. This amazing little plant provides a strong punch when it comes to health benefits.
Psyllium husk powder has typically been used to treat digestive issues as it is a mild and gentle laxative however, it is what’s referred to as a “bulk forming laxative”. The easiest way that I can describe this is that a bulk forming laxative makes it easier to go because it soaks up water in your gut making bowel movements easier. Psyllium husk powder turns into a gel once it is combines with water. It does not stimulate your body to go faster and uncontrollably like many laxatives. It simply makes it easier to go when you have to go. Psyllium husk is the main ingredient in many commercial fiber supplements including Metamucil.
I realize it’s not the most pleasant thing to discuss, but bowl regularity is a major issue for many people. If you are the rare person in society without any digestive discomfort then have no fear. There are still major benefits for you to gain by taking psyllium husk powder.
Here are my top four reasons to take this supplement.
#1-Digestive system benefits
As I stated above, psyllium husk powder is first and foremost used as a laxative. Due to this, psyllium husk powder has been found effective in treatment of numerous digestive issues to include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diverticulitis and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Particularly with IBS, psyllium husk was found more effective in treatment of symptoms than historically recommended wheat bran.
In addition to its laxative properties, psyllium husk powder has also been found to have prebiotic properties and has been used as a prebiotic by researchers. Prebiotics are compounds in food that induce the growth or activity of healthy bacteria. A healthy amount of good bacteria in your gut is necessary to maintain a strong immune system and maintain overall health.
Psyllium husk powder has been found to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Research has found that psyllium husk can be very effective in those looking to lower their overall cholesterol levels as well.
As I have had cholesterol levels on the higher end due to a genetic predisposition, this makes this supplement a must have for me. There are not a ton of natural products out there known for lowering cholesterol and while I have not been taking it long enough to know the effects it will have on my cholesterol levels, I am excited to find out during my next check up.
#3-Improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels and heart health
One study found that psyllium improved blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics as well as reduced the risk of heart disease. Psyllium husk has also been found to lower blood pressure levels in people who take it regularly. Along with high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels are common issues that plague our society. Coupled with a healthy diet, research definitely supports the effectiveness of psyllium husk supplementation in these areas.
Fiber is well-known to assist in weight loss. Fiber can assist with lowering and managing weight levels due to its ability to make you feel fuller longer. Psyllium husk powder can be particularly beneficial in this area as it expands into a gel- like substance in your gut after consuming it.
One 2016 study found that Psyllium husk contributed to greater fullness and less hunger between meals.
I am not taking psyllium husk powder with the intention of losing weight however, since I have been taking it I have lost 3-4 pounds without even trying. My stomach also has felt much flatter and I do not have that bloated feeling, which I tend to have a lot.
I have been taking psyllium husk powder for approximately one month. While I have taken numerous fiber supplements in the past, I had never tried psyllium husk. From the first time I took it, I immediately noticed a huge difference from the other fiber supplements that I have tried.
Many fiber supplements I have tried in the past seemed to work some of the time or for a short time however, they always seemed to lose effectiveness as I continued to take them. To put it simply, they were inconsistent and usually very difficult to get down.
Psyllium husk powder has maintained its consistency for me since day one. I take it right before I go to bed and upon waking, I almost immediately have to “go”. Not to get too graphic, but it has been the best supplement I have ever used in terms of that. I really notice when I miss taking it for a day in terms of regularity.
As I stated above, I have also noticed weight loss and a decrease in bloating. My stomach has that empty and flat feeling when taking it, which is an amazing feeling. Even if I overeat during a meal, the bloating and full feeling seems to go away much faster the next day after taking it.
To me, this is one of the best new supplements that I have taken in a very long time. I am legitimately in love with it and will be recommending it to everyone I know.
I would love to hear about your experience with psyllium husk or hear about any other quality fiber supplements that you are taking and would recommend. I am always looking for great new supplements to try out and review for you guys.