Fiber is an excellent source of slow-release glucose that fills you up quickly without expanding you waistline. Because of its highly-desirable health benefits, fiber is the go-to food of people who want to be lean but fit. But not all fibers are created equal; some are better than others in the weight-loss department while packing more nutritional punch. One of the most sought after soluble fibers is psyllium whose seeds and husks have found application in a wide range of digestible benefits.
Psyllium Reduces Hunger Pangs
Collected from ‘Plantago ovata’ which grows abundantly in India, psyllium husks have been traditionally used as laxatives because of their bulk-forming properties. Recent discoveries, however, have elevated psyllium husks into something more marketable: as supplements for weight-loss programs. Instead of starving yourself lean – and losing muscle tone in the process – you can have your fill of soluble fiber, thus staving off hunger pangs and the inevitable expanding waistline.
It is the incredible water-absorbing capability of psyllium husk that has earned it a great deal of following. When the husks come in contact with water, they can swell up to 20 times their size, creating a gelatin-like mass that reduces sugar cravings because it makes you feel fuller. This gelatin mass also triggers the contraction of intestines which in turn results to bowel movement. But instead of just getting evacuated, psyllium husks bring with them impacted fecal matter and a host of colorectal toxins, thus cleansing your bowels like a diligent street sweeper.
Potent Weapon Against Common Diseases
Even better, psyllium lowers your post-prandial (after meals) blood sugar levels so you don’t get the typical sugar crash after helping yourself to a generous psyllium-based diet (sprinkled on cereal, for example). Persistent high blood sugar level is not only linked to obesity, it is also the culprit behind a host of pernicious diseases like diabetes, hypertension and plaque build-up in the arteries (that leads to stroke and heart attack), among others. Making psyllium a regular part of your diet would decrease your risk of developing these conditions.
Pysllium also works well in controlling hypertension among patients who are concurrently overweight. Because of its water-absorbing powers, it is also the ideal digestible weapon against inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis and colon cancer (both of which stem from a lack of sufficient fiber in the diet).
So if you are yearning to look trim, feel good and live long, consider making psyllium a regular part of your meal.
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on February 27, 2014