Isabgol or Psyllium husk is a plant-based dietary fiber that helps with bowel movements. It is an excellent solution for constipation, a prevalent yet most annoying issue during pregnancy. But, how safe is Isabgol during pregnancy? Here is everything you need to know about psyllium husk and pregnancy.
What Is Isabgol (Psyllium Husk) And How Is It Used For Constipation?
Psyllium Husk or Isabgol is, as the name implies, the husk of seeds of the plant -‘ Plantago Ovata.’ Isabgol is not rare in Indian households. It is immensely rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber (contains around 70% soluble fibers and 30% insoluble fibers).
Psyllium husk is well known for its medicinal value owing to its long-time use in Ayurveda since ages. It is used in many home remedies, mostly for a digestive disorder. Being rich in fiber, it is highly beneficial in combating constipation.
Related Reading: 18 Home Remedies For Constipation During Pregnancy
It is available in different forms. You can find Isabgol granules, capsules, or powder. It is available in online stores or in supermarkets. Always opt for the non-flavored version of Isabgol. Isabgol, once it gets into the digestive tract, absorbs lots of water and gets swollen. This helps to increase stool mass and relieves constipation.
How To Take Isabgol For Constipation?
To ease constipation, add two spoons of Isabgol in a glass of warm milk or warm water. Mix well. Drink this just before bed time.
Is Isabgol Safe During Pregnancy?
Yes, consuming Isabgol during pregnancy is safe. It is an ayurvedic medicine that is safe to use. However, moderation is the key. Five grams to 10 grams of Psyllium husk per day is considered safe. When it comes to pregnancy, it is always better to seek an opinion from the doctor before including anything new in your diet.
As the husk is not digested by the body, it is not absorbed into the body. Therefore, it poses no harm. Moreover, Isabgol is rich in vitamins like vitamin A, C, D, E, and K. . It also contains omega-6 and omega-3
It also contains a significant amount of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. Therefore, besides being safe, Psyllium husk can also be beneficial during pregnancy.
How Long Can I Take Psyllium Husk During Pregnancy?
Daily recommended consumption of Psyllium husk is safe as long as required. Isabgol works as food fiber rather than a drug. So there are no safety issues of prolonged usage. You can use it without fear.
However, there are a couple of things to take care of while consuming Isabgol during pregnancy:
- Do not take Isabgol with daily vitamins. Psyllium husk can impede the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
- Drink plenty of water along with Isabgol. This is because it absorbs the moisture on its way. If water is not restored in the body, it can trigger dehydration.
- Consume it as soon as you add it to milk or water as the seed husk starts to swell and harden as time passes, which makes it hard to ingest.
Health Benefits Of Isabgol During Pregnancy
Apart from relieving constipation, Isabgol during pregnancy provides more health benefits during pregnancy.
1. Flushes out toxins from the digestive tract
The gel in Isabgol, along with moisture, also absorbs bacteria and other harmful toxins that are present in the intestine. Thus harmful bacteria in the digestive tract also get flushed out if you consume Psyllium husk during pregnancy.
2. Treating diarrhea
Yes, you read it right. Isabgol, if consumed in a different medium, can effectively treat diarrhea and constipation during pregnancy. To ease constipation, this husk is taken along with warm milk or water. On the other hand, to treat diarrhea, it should be taken along with curd.
While the right amount of probiotics in the curd ease the flaring stomach, Psyllium husk helps harden the running stool by absorbing the excess water. Therefore, Isabgol in pregnancy is good for loose motion.
3. Maintaining a healthy digestive system
Psyllium husk is well known for its colon cleansing property. Regular intake of this husk also stimulates digestion. Digestives issues are pretty common during pregnancy and can be eased out by taking Isabgol during pregnancy.
4. Regulating blood glucose level
Isabgol slows down the absorption of sugar or glucose. This helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Therefore, it is beneficial for expecting mothers who are also dealing with gestational diabetes.
5. It helps to maintain a healthy weight
It is important to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Gaining excess weight can create many issues that impede the healthy progression of pregnancy. Isabgol helps to make you feel full, thereby curbing hunger pangs.
Further, the soluble fibers in Psyllium husk interfere with the absorption of fats and sugars to a certain extent.
Related Reading: 9 Common Pregnancy Aches and Pains With Remedies
6. Improving cholesterol levels
The hygroscopic (ability to attract and hold water molecules) properties of Psyllium husk makes it ideal for lowering the serum cholesterol in the blood. Isabgol absorbs the cholesterol from the food and makes a thin layer in the intestine. It also impedes further absorption of cholesterol.
7. Isabgol during pregnancy can help with acidity
Acidity is another issue experienced by many expecting mothers. Isabgol is one of the finest natural remedies that can calm the burning sensation caused by acidity. The soluble fibers in this husk form a defensive layer in the inner wall of the stomach.
This layer safeguards the stomach from the burning sensation caused by acidity. Isabgol also enhances good digestion and reduces the abnormal release of digestive acid. Thus this husk cuts down the impact of acid in the stomach.
8. Helps in curing piles and fissures
Some expecting mothers experience painful issues like piles or anal fissures. Isabgol acts as a stool softener and makes the passage of stool soft and pain-free.
9. Enhances cardiovascular health
The water-soluble fiber in Psyllium husk brings down the triglyceride levels. It enhances cardiovascular health. It helps to reduce blood pressure, enhance lipid levels, and to strengthen the heart muscle.
Side Effects Of Consuming Isabgol During Pregnancy
If consumed in moderation, Isabgol during pregnancy cause no major side effects. However, excessive consumption of this husk can bring about adverse effects. If crossed the moderation level, consuming psyllium husk can bring about.
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Vitamin deficiency
- Bloating and gas
- Itchy skin or skin rashes
How To Consume Psyllium Husk To Reap Benefits?
Psyllium husk has many health benefits and is an excellent home remedy for many health issues. How to consume Psyllium husk and when to consume it depends on the purpose. People usually take Isabgol with water, juice, or milk.
Some people even add it to their vegetable or fruit smoothies. As already explained above, to combat constipation, you can have it with a glass of milk just before bedtime.
For example, if you are taking psyllium husk to regulate blood sugar or cholesterol level, it would be more effective when taken with food. Especially if taken along with the two largest meals of the day.
Here are some other ways to consume Isabgol for various purposes:
For acidity: Mix one or two grams of Psyllium husk in a glass of cold water
For diarrhea: Mix 2 tsp Isabgol and 3 tsp curd together. Take it twice a day, right after meals, to get good results.
To enhance digestion: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Psyllium husk to a glass of buttermilk.
To regulate cholesterol: Add one to two teaspoons of Psyllium husk to a bowl of breakfast oats.
To maintain blood sugar level: Mix one to two teaspoons of Isabgol in a glass of water soon after the meal.
Does Isabgol expire? It is a question asked in many health forums. Well, if stored in an airtight container in a dry place, husks will not get expired. It may lose its potency or strength, or effect over time. However, it still retains many of its qualities.