The GI Tract, Your Immune System, Lower Cholesterol Naturally.
How is it that Cheerios can emblazon their cereal packages with the claim that eating Cheerios will lower cholesterol?
It’s a rather simple process. Fiber naturally binds with cholesterol and flushes it out of the system. Most Americans do not get enough fiber because they don’t eat enough vegetables and beans. Is this you?
In ancient times, vegetables and beans were known as poor man’s food. The rich ate meats. Poor people who can’t afford luxury foods generally are healthier than their more well-to-do brethren.
Sometimes it’s not possible to eat well. At trade shows, in the office even at most schools the food choices are dismal and junky. If you are willing to take a few fiber capsules a day it helps you in several major ways.
1. Fiber helps you to feel full, thereby you tend to eat less, especially if you are willing to listen to what your body is telling you.
2. Lowers cholesterol, as we mentioned above. If you don’t get enough fiber, the liver still flushes out excess cholesterol but then the small intestine reabsorbs it.
3. Helps you stay regular. This is very important not just for your comfort but also for your immunity system.
4. This is a very inexpensive and natural way to get more health into your life.
Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small intestine. The purely mechanical action of psyllium mucilage absorbs excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main use has been as a laxative, it is more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber and as such can help reduce the symptoms of both constipation and mild diarrhea. The laxative properties of psyllium are attributed to the fiber absorbing water and subsequently softening the stool. At the same time, this added bulk causes the stool to be better formed, which can reduce symptoms of diarrhea. Psyllium is therefore able to promote regularity in bowel movements.
Psyllium is produced mainly for its mucilage content, which is highest in P. ovata. The term mucilage describes a group of clear, colorless, gelling agents derived from plants. The mucilage obtained from psyllium comes from the seed coat. Mucilage is obtained by mechanical milling/grinding of the outer layer of the seed. Mucilage yield amounts to about 25% (by weight) of the total seed yield. Plantago-seed mucilage is often referred to as husk, or psyllium husk. The milled seed mucilage is a white fibrous material that is hydrophilic, meaning that its molecular structure causes it to attract and bind to water. Upon absorbing water, the clear, colorless, mucilaginous gel that forms increases in volume by tenfold or more.
The United States is the world’s largest importer of psyllium husk, with over 60% of total imports going to pharmaceutical firms for use in products such as “Metamucil”. In Australia, psyllium husk is used to make “Bonvit” psyllium products. In the UK, ispaghula husk is used in the popular constipation remedy “Fybogel”. In India, psyllium husk is used to make “Gulab Sat Isabgol” psyllium products. Psyllium mucilage is also used as a natural dietary fiber for animals. The dehusked seed that remains after the seed coat is milled off is rich in starch and fatty acids, and is used in India as chicken feed and as cattle feed.
Psyllium mucilage possesses several other desirable properties. As a thickener, it has been used in ice cream and frozen desserts. A 1.5% weight/volume ratio of psyllium mucilage exhibits binding properties that are superior to a 10% weight/volume ratio of starch mucilage. The viscosity of psyllium mucilage dispersions are relatively unaffected between temperatures of 20 and 50 °C (68 and 122 °F), by pH from 2 to 10 and by salt (sodium chloride) concentrations up to 0.15 M. These physical properties, along with its status as a natural dietary fiber, may lead to increased use of psyllium by the food-processing industry. Technical-grade psyllium has been used as a hydrocolloidal agent to improve water retention for newly-seeded grass areas, and to improve transplanting success with woody plants.
It is suggested that the isabgol husk is a suitable carrier for the sustained release of drugs and is also used as a gastroretentive carrier due to its swellable and floatable nature. The mucilage of isabgol is used as a super disintegrant in many formulations.
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