If you're often troubled with constipation or other intestinal problems, psyllium powder may be helpful. It's ground from the husk of blond psyllium seeds and used as supplemental fiber to ease disruptions in bowel movements. Fiber, often lacking in the modern diet, helps remove metabolic waste from the body. Psyllium is high in soluble fiber and should be taken with adequate water to prevent dehydration from its absorption of tissue water. Although it's safe for daily use, don't take psyllium with other medication as it might interfere with absorption.
Fiber is composed of undigestible carbohydrates mainly from plant sources. It moves through the intestines without being broken down or absorbed, allowing it to carry metabolic wastes excreted in the bile out of the body. It swells in the fluid in your stomach to form a gel, slowing digestion and helping move food through your tract. These properties can generally increase the health of your gastrointestinal system.
The soluble fiber in psyllium husk may aid in reducing high blood cholesterol and glucose levels associated with increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, respectively. When it forms a gel, it slows down the uptake of fats and sugars from food, making blood glucose and cholesterol rise more slowly after a meal. It can also help treat both diarrhea and constipation, and may alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids, as well as lower the risk of colon cancer.
Psyllium husk powder is mixed with water and consumed as a drink. It's safe to consume up to the maximum recommended servings a day on a daily basis. Supplemental fiber should not make up the majority of the fiber you ingest per day. Most should come from eating fresh, fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. You should consume several servings of these healthy foods each day, in addition to a fiber supplement.
Consuming psyllium fiber without adequate water raises the risk for dehydration and bowel obstructions. It could also interfere with the absorption of many medications or vitamin supplements. Take psyllium at least one hour before or at least two to four hours after any of these additions to your diet. Long-term use of psyllium fiber with low dietary fiber intake can cause dependency. When beginning to take psyllium, add it gradually to your diet to prevent gastric upset.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.