The Scotty's Everyday Team
What’s the Deal With Psyllium Husk?
Benefits and Beyond
There’s been a lot of buzz about psyllium husk these days, and for good reason. You might have heard the ingredient touted on TikTok or seen it in health stores listed as a digestive aid or blood sugar balancer. But what is psyllium husk powder and why is it all the rage lately? We’ve used psyllium fiber as a star ingredient in Scotty’s mixes for years, so let’s dive into the science behind this plant-based, keto-friendly ingredient.
Health experts recommend that we consume 25-40 grams of fiber per day. But the reality is that most of us are only getting 10 to 15 grams. Our most common food sources don’t contain as much fiber as they used to, and as a society, we have high rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Psyllium fiber (pronounced “silly-um”) is being touted as an easy way to pack daily fiber into your foods in order to hit your nutrition goals and manage health conditions.
What is psyllium husk powder?
Crushed from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant, a plant most commonly found in the desert in India, psyllium husk has been prized for hundreds of years as a medicinal plant used to support overall health. Mind you, psyllium is not related to wheat, and it doesn’t contain any gluten!
Psyllium husk is a concentrated form of fiber. The husk of these seeds is an ideal source of soluble fiber that can absorb up to 10x its weight in water. Its functionality is ideal for gluten free baking as a gluten replacer. It’s not digested in the small intestine, but is instead broken down in the colon, where it becomes a food source for the flora in your microbiome.
Psyllium husk benefits
Psyllium husk can help enable weight loss in two ways, both by decreasing calories in (helping you feel satiated), and by increasing your calories out. Its ability to bulk up and absorb water contributes to a feeling of being full, so that you’re likely to consume fewer calories. Psyllium husk can also help boost your metabolism, easing your digestive process so that everything is working in harmony. Essentially, if your stool is too small, too hard, or too liquid, psyllium fiber works its magic to help consolidate it and send it on its way. One study showed that psyllium, a soluble fiber, had a better effect on the moisture, texture, and weight of stools than wheat bran, an insoluble fiber (1).
Psyllium husk is most famous for its ability to promote regularity and encourage digestive wellbeing (2, 3, 4), but it has benefits for your whole body, including your heart and pancreas. Studies have shown that fiber, like psyllium, can help lower blood pressure, strengthen your heart muscles, and lower your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that soluble fiber can help people regulate their cholesterol levels. One study found that after six weeks of daily psyllium husk ingestion, obese and overweight subjects were able to lower their cholesterol with very few side effects (5).
Fiber is hugely important in managing your glycemic index, and studies have shown that daily psyllium husk can help those with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar (6, 7, 8, 9). Consuming fiber helps control your body’s response to a glycemic load, and this is especially true for soluble fibers (10).
Psyllium can also help remove toxins from your body. As you’re digesting the fiber, it swells up, absorbing toxins, waste, and water. This helps sweep those toxins out of your body at the same time that intestinal bulk becomes smoother and easier to pass. This fiber is a prebiotic, meaning that it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are needed in order to nourish the healthy colonies of probiotics in your microbiome. These healthy colonies are essential for immune function, helping your body to reduce inflammation and fight infection.
Because there’s a connection between what goes on in your gut and your brain (known as the gut-brain axis), a happy gut has far-ranging effects including boosted mood. A growing body of research suggests that diet is a powerful tool for combating mood disorders like depression and anxiety. There’s also something that’s known as the gut-skin axis. Taking care of your gut by consuming healthy levels of prebiotics and probiotics can help improve your skin, another reason many people consume fiber as a supplement.
How to take psyllium husk If you’re looking to take psyllium husk to promote regularity, have improved bowel movements, strengthen your gut microbiome, balance your blood sugar, or as part of a healthy diet for weight loss, how should you go about incorporating this fiber into your life?
Psyllium comes in a few forms. There’s psyllium husk powder that you can mix into water (at least 8 ounces), psyllium husk capsules if you prefer pill form, even liquid concentrates. People typically take this supplement at the beginning of their day or at the end of the evening. Use the recommended dosage or talk to your doctor about how much to take. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and with your supplement, as it relies on moisture in order to produce its intended effects.
There’s also a tastier way to get your psyllium husk in.We’ve included psyllium fiber as a key ingredient in all of our Scotty’s mixes. In addition to resistant starch from tapioca, psyllium helps healthify our keto baking mixes, so you can get the fiber you need to stay healthy while enjoying the fresh baked goods you love, all with zero net carbs per serving.
Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2831263/ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318707#benefitshttps://www.ijsr.net/archive/v4i9/SUB158459.pdfhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5413815/https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/effect-of-a-fibre-supplement-compared-to-a-healthy-diet-on-body-composition-lipids-glucose-insulin-and-other-metabolic-syndrome-risk-factors-in-overweight-and-obese-individuals/DDE90317EE5D477C1E0594B6E2B1AA79https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874105003983?via%3Dihubhttps://www.nature.com/articles/1601398https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5062871/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.6609