Perhaps you have heard about it, but still wonder what is psyllium? Psyllium is a plant product produced by a member of the Plantain family and has been used for centuries as an addition to flours and meals, as a food supplement, and as a textile stiffener.
The health benefits of psyllium are increasing, thanks to the dedication of scientists and researchers, while the list of benefits from eating psyllium daily are growing.
What is Psyllium the Plant?
The plantain family of plants includes common plantain found in most arable regions of the world, but the best psyllium comes from the Blond Plantain, Plantago ovata. This light colored plant resembles the yard and garden plant Plantago lancelota in that it has a center stalk that grows much taller than the ground leaves and forms a dense, tightly packed seed head. The husks of the psyllium seed are most often the part used in cooking and for health purposes, and can be purchased in bulk if desired.
What is Psyllium for Colon Health
The health benefits from psyllium include constipation relief by improving gut functions and providing fiber. Psyllium is the primary ingredient in many fiber laxatives and can be confirmed by reading the ingredient labels. Stool production after eating a daily diet that includes psyllium are softer, easier to evacuate and help undigested food pass from the body faster. Retaining undigested foods and chronic constipation can lead to many medical conditions including hemorrhoids, hiatal hernia and may contribute to colon polyps. Research the many ways to improve digestive health including learning about what is psyllium and if this bland, plant seed husk may be something you wish to add to your diet.
Psyllium and Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol you will also benefit from knowing what is psyllium, especially since adding psyllium to your diet may allow you to reduce your prescription medication intake. It is important to not adjust prescription medication without discussing it with the prescribing physician; however, after two months of eating psyllium daily high cholesterol levels may be much lower.
Breakfast cereals that contain psyllium seed and supplements of psyllium husk have shown, in a number side by side tests, that cholesterol levels may be lowered up to 10% or more. Psyllium will not interfere with multi-vitamins or additional calcium supplements and is safe to use at any stage of life including during and after menopause.
Psyllium and IBS
What is psyllium may also be helpful for those with IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, lessening the effects and potentially preventing ulcerating colitis. Additionally, diabetics may also find that their sugar levels are easier to balance.
Psyllium and High Blood Pressure
Psyllium can be added to almost any food and most studies indicate that a psyllium supplement works more efficiently when taken with food. When combined with soy foods psyllium may have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure however studies have not confirmed this to the satisfaction of the American Heart Association.
Psyllium can cause side effects, such as:
If you are on these types of medications or have diabetes knowing psyllium side affects is important but taking a psyllium supplement one hour before or after medications and blood sugar level testing may prevent side effects.
PSYLLIUM CRACKER RECIPE
Combine the powders and salts. Slowly add olive oil mixing with a fork until dough crumbles. Add all the water. Stir vigorously for 15 seconds ensuring all the crumbles are dissolved. Allow mix to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit.
Place dough in the middle of a 15 by 18 inch cookie sheet by turning it out of the bowl. The dough should be soft if it fails to retain the shape of the bowl added 3 additional Tablespoons of psyllium husk powder when you make this recipe again. Spread the dough evenly covering the entire cookie sheet.
Toppings may include sesame seeds and grated parmesan cheese.
Average baking time is one hour, although sometimes additional baking time is required. A baked cracker will curl away from the pan. Should the center of the cracker require additional baking time, break off the edges and return the cookie sheet to the oven.
Recipe Provided by Atkins Challenger's Recipe Page
What is psyllium? A beneficial, natural baking ingredient as well as a fiber supplement and a potential aid in helping manage high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure.
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