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The Magical Fiber

Deepika Rathod

 

Psyllium husk is commonly known as Isabgol in India and is the procured from the ‘Plantago ovato’ plant, commonly grown in the subcontinent. It is actually husk of the seeds of the plant. Hygroscopic in nature, it swells and expands to become mucilaginous. Isabgol has a prominent space in Ayurveda. It is known for its gentle laxative, cooling, diuretic properties. Psyllium husk is known as Ashvagola or Ashwakarna in Ayurveda which literally means one which have ears like horse (Ashva=horse; Gola=round and Karna=ears). It named so perhaps due to appearance of seeds which are concave and elongated like horse ears.

Psyllium husks/ Isabgol contain both soluble as well as insoluble fiber. It is a mix of 70 per cent soluble and 30 per cent insoluble fiber, it also contains carbohydrates, protein, tannin, glycosides, fixed oil, linoleic acid, palmetic acids, iron, zinc, potassium and sodium. It has other health benefits also, so let’s see what those benefits are:

Constipation

Isabgol has a natural gelatinous substance. After you soak it in water, it swells forming a gel with no taste and odor of its own. It has laxative properties, which helps in a passage of intestine and promotes bowel movement. It doesn’t absorb any other nutrients as it is unaffected by any of the digestive enzyme. It is full of fiber. It expands in the digestive tract too, the insoluble fiber in Isabgol helps by providing enough roughage to the wastes and takes it towards the intestine and gelatin base helps in natural bowel movement. As it is hygroscopic in nature, it absorbs water from the intestine, which helps in improving the consistency of the stools.

Digestion

If anyone suffers from indigestion on a regular basis and experience on and off episodes of constipation and diarrhoea, Isabgol is the magic wand for that individual. Isabgol helps in regularising the bowel movement, cleans stomach wall from excessive toxins and increases the peristalsis of waste (movement of food towards intestine).

Acidity

Isabgol is a known home remedy for hyper acidity. Psyllium husks create a protective wall of the stomach and reduce the excessive secretion of digestive acid. It nullifies the effect of the acid in the stomach. Moreover, since it helps in proper digestion and secretion of stomach acids, Isabgol also reduces the number of acidity episodes one might suffer from.

Diarrhoea

It is really hard to believe that Isabgol can help in both extreme conditions constipation and diarrhoea. This is due to the soluble fibre found in Isabgol. The soluble fibre absorbs the water in the intestine and swells up to bind the loose stools. When you suffer from diarrhoea, mix the herb in curd and consume. Additionally, curd is full of probiotics which heal the infection caused due to diarrhoea.

Diabetes

The insoluble fibre in Isabgol helps in diabetes by managing hunger pangs. Isabgol has a natural gelatin substance which slows the breaking down and absorption of glucose in our body, thus it lowers the intake of glucose and helps control diabetes.

Piles and fissures

We have already discussed how its laxative properties assist in the natural bowel movement. Since the fibres present in Isabgol are both insoluble and soluble in nature, it is great for those suffering from painful conditions like anal fissures and piles. It is very useful for dry and bleeding piles. It prevents and cures constipation. It also cures congestion in the liver and has a cooling effect on body. Not only does it help clear bowels effectively, it also softens the stools by absorbing water from the surrounding parts of the intestine – making the passage of stool smooth and pain free. Isabgol also helps aid the healing of fissures, as it protects the anus from stretching too much while the person passes motion and prevents the rupture of healing wounds.

Heart friendly

The fibre present in Isabgol is very helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, which in turn protects your heart. What makes it so special is that it is high in fibre and low in fat, exactly what doctors and nutritionists recommend when it comes to preventing heart diseases.

As its fibre reduces cholesterol and gives you satiety curbing your hunger pangs, it is also a good option for weight loss.

How to Buy It:

l It is available everywhere, you can buy it from a market or from an online store too.

l Don’t buy the Isabgol capsules or loose Isabgol, as it may be contaminated or adulterated.

l Buy only the natural one without any flavour, these are more natural and work better on your stomach.

l Buy pre-packaged products from the market from a trusted brand.

It has a probiotic effect too. It promotes the growth of good bacteria in human gut. it has so many health benefits that Isabgol can called a magical fibre. It is high in fibre and absorbs water so it is important to increase the fluid intake. It is generally safe and is tolerated quiet well by everyone, but if you are allergic then please consult your doctor before consuming it Isabgol.

 

(Send in your food related queries to nutritionhub77@gmail.com)

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