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Psyllium husk (isabgol or ispaghula) is the outer covering of the seeds of Plantago ovata. It is commonly used as a laxative and has now been clinically proven to help weight loss. The key driving force is the high soluble fibre (8 times that of oats) content of the husk or mucilage.
How Psyllium Husk Helps Weight Loss
Dietary Fiber: How psyllium acts for weight loss. Dietary fibre applies to the fibre we consume. It is a vital part of the vegetables and fruits we eat on a daily basis. The simple way to think about dietary fibre is that it is the parts of the plants that give it structure and shape. When the vegetables and fruit are juiced, the fibre – or the roughness – is what is left behind. The health benefits of this fibre are that we prefer consuming whole foods as opposed to refined or juiced vegetables and fruits.
Dietary fibre is only found in plants. Beans, berries, lentils, whole grains, avocado, and nuts are all great sources of dietary fibre. Animal products have no dietary fibre.
A diet rich in dairy, meat, and refined grains is low in dietary fibre. If you are eating a fresh diet, fibre supplements are even more essential. Psyllium husk is a perfect way to make up the dietary fibre that you may be lacking. And low fibre consumption may just be why you are searching for a way to take psyllium husk for weight loss.
Psyllium is high in soluble fibres. Soluble fibres are fibres that dissolve in water. In your digestive system, when fibre dissolves in water, it slows down digestion. One of the dietary fibre benefits is when the sugars contained in your food will take longer to reach your bloodstream. The lower blood-sugar levels – and fewer “spikes” are what help prevent long-term conditions like diabetes. Insulin spikes also inhibit fat loss and can increase hunger and cravings. This is part of why eating sugar often actually makes you feel more hungry.
Psyllium Husk Benefits
You may also use psyllium husk for gravy, chicken soups, and casseroles.
Soluble fibre also binds to fatty acids. Fatty acids are an important part of how cholesterol is stored in the body. When fibre dissolves with fatty acids, it captures free cholesterol molecules and brings them as waste through the digestive system. This could result in lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
The simplest way that psyllium husk works for weight loss is to control how we feel hunger and fullness. In our digestive tract, the soluble fibre in psyllium absorbs water. The fibre expands its original size multiple times. Enhanced volume in the stomach and intestines aids signal fullness.
Soluble Fiber and Your Gut
But the story of psyllium and weight loss is a lot more fascinating. In addition to the detoxifying results of psyllium, the soluble fibre in psyllium also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria which contribute to a healthy intestinal flora. Our intestinal microbes play a crucial role in our overall health. Scientific studies investigate the various ways in which our intestines influence wellbeing – including obesity, cholesterol, diabetes. Digestive flora is also a major component of our immune system.
When you take psyllium husk for weight loss, good bacteria feeds on the soluble fibre psyllium. As a by-product of consuming food, the bacteria release a short-chain fatty acid called acetate. Acetate enters the bloodstream and passes to the brain. The part of our brain responsible for the metabolic processes, the hypothalamus, responds to this chemical, signaling us to stop feeding. So psyllium husk could literally “turn off” your urge to eat too much!