Most Americans get about only half of the fiber that is recommended. Soluble dietary fiber can help control weight and lower cholesterol, which studies suggest can help prevent heart disease. We can find this type of fiber in lentils, pears, apples, and of course, the heart-healthy hero oatmeal. But there is another excellent source of fiber that often goes unsung: psyllium husk.
If you are not familiar with psyllium, here is a quick introduction: The herb psyllium is the husk of the seed of the Plantago. It contains a spongy fiber that helps relieve constipation and soften stools.
According to Herbwisdom.com, “Every 100 grams of psyllium provides 71 grams of soluble fiber; a similar amount of oat bran would contain only 5 grams of soluble fiber.”
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects with hypercholesterolemia (very high cholesterol) were studied for 26 weeks. One group was given a teaspoon of psyllium daily, while the other was given a placebo. The results showed that serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations were 4.7% and 6.7% lower in the psyllium group than in the placebo group.
Does this mean one can take psyllium daily and quit worrying about cholesterol? Of course not. The psyllium worked on subjects who consumed a low-fat diet.
Be sure to take psyllium with plenty of fluids. MedlinePlus suggests, “Drink at least 8 ounces of fluids for every 3-5 grams of husk or 7 grams of seed. In some people, blond psyllium might cause gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.”
Before adding a supplement to your diet, it’s always best to consult with your doctor.
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