Some of the health benefits of Psyllium husk for children include control of blood pressure, relief from constipation, has soothing effect on haemorrhoids, helps in controlling weight, helps in treaing bowel disorders, cleans colon and keeps it healthy, is good for children with diabetes and can lower the risk of cholesterol.
Psyllium husk refers to the powdered seed that comes from a plant called Plantago Psyllium. It is a native of Pakistan and India. It is obtained from the husk or outer coating of the seeds of Psyllium plant. It is gluten free for being different from wheat. It contains naturally soluble fiber that is similar to fiber existing in grains like barley and oats.
Also referred to as isabgol and ispaghula, Psyllium has been an essential part of Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic medicine for ages, as it is a naturally rich source of fiber. Psyllium is considered to be hygroscopic, a quality to expand and become mucilaginous.
It has been revealed through clinical studies that taking a certain amount of Psyllium husk as a part of healthy dietary fiber can provide an array of health benefits.
How does Psyllium Husk benefit Children
Psyllium husk has numerous health benefits associated with it. The husk contains inert bulk that provides a constant volume of solid material, regardless of other dietary aspects of any disease condition of the gut. It is considered as one of the gentlest and safest laxatives for containing large quantities of mucilage, a type of soluble fiber, which absorbs water to form a gel.
Some of the most important health benefits of Psyllium husk are listed ahead. These are benefits that even kids can enjoy depending on the kind of health issue they face.
Health Benefits of Psyllium Husk for Kids
Better Heart Health: Many children suffer from heart disease as a birth disorder. According to studies conducted on the benefits of Psyllium husk for heart disease, it has been revealed that this husk has significant benefits for heart health. According to a study published in the Journal of Cardiology in Review, May 2007, by the Department of Medicine, Mt. Vernon Hospital in New York, it was reported that Psyllium husk is a soluble gel-forming fiber with the unique property of binding with bile acids in the gut, thus providing preventive effects of re-absorption, just like bile acid sequestrate drugs. Adding further, Psyllium husk also has proven benefits as a part of dietary therapy for treatment of mild-to-moderate hypercholesterolemia not just among adults but children as well.
Controls Blood Pressure: As reported by a study conducted in the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and published in the British Journal of Nutrition, healthy diet is one of the best ways to lower or control blood pressure as well as arterial stiffness in obese and overweight individuals. Psyllium intake along with a healthy diet and proper medication improves the level of blood pressure among hypertensive patients.
Relieves Constipation: Psyllium has the quality to absorb water and swell on passage through the digestive tract. This results in adding bulk to the stool. The extra weight and size stimulates the muscles that push stool through the intestine while, simultaneously, making the stool softer and more convenient to eliminate. Psyllium has shown effective results in relieving constipation in case of kids and children, and not only adults.
Controls Diabetes: It is a well known fact that a high fiber diet helps in lowering blood sugar and insulin levels in patients with high elevated levels, specifically in those suffering from Type II diabetes. This is true not only for adults, but also in case of children, who suffer from diabetes (Type I) since birth or as a result of a genetic disorder. It also reduces the risk of developing diabetes among those who are susceptible to. As per a report presented by the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications Issue, Sept-Oct 1998, a study conducted to investigate Psyllium benefits on Type II Diabetes and its related effects on blood lipids and glucose levels, it was revealed that taking the recommended dosage of the husk for a specific time showed a major reduction in levels of fasting plasma glucose, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride and total cholesterol levels. Also, the HDL cholesterol showed a significant rise without any notable side effects. Thus, it was proved that Psyllium husk is an effective adjunct to the dietary therapy in Type II diabetes.
Diarrhea: Psyllium husk has shown positive results in the treatment of mild to moderate diarrhea. This is due to the water absorbing property that works by adding bulk to the stool and making it firmer as well as slower to pass.
Controls Weight: Psyllium husk is one of the most effective herbs to facilitate weight loss and control obesity. This benefit of Psyllium husk comes from its spongy fiber that is not digestible at once. This causes a feeling of being full, thus resulting in reduced appetite. Being a rich source of fiber it improves the digestion process along with cleansing of the system. It acts as an excellent fiber source for low carbohydrate diets, thus being effective in weight loss programs.
Hemorrhoids: Doctors usually recommend Psyllium husk to help with the condition of hemorrhoids. It works by softening the stool and reducing the associated pain.
Lowers Cholesterol Level: The soluble fiber present in Psyllium husk not only lowers, but also helps in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol when clubbed with a low fat diet. It has also been revealed through studies that Psyllium husk lowers not only the total cholesterol, but also the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. For children, who are born obese and congenitally suffer from inadequate cholesterol levels, Psyllium husk works as a blessing if combined with proper cholesterol medication.
Colon Cleansing Considerations: Use of Psyllium husk is widely suggested for colon-cleansing regimen not only for adults but also for children. Although no specific detoxification benefits have been revealed to be associated with this dietary fiber, its laxative effect ensures quick elimination of wastes. It has even been proven to be effective in the prevention of colon cancer. As per a study published in the journal of Cancer Letters, November 1993, with investigations on the potential synergism of Psyllium husk and wheat bran on murine rats, it was revealed that rats fed with Psyllium husk showed significantly lesser number of colon tumors.
Treats Bowel Disorders: Besides providing regularity in the functioning of the digestive tract, Psyllium husk helps in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis (an inflammation in the large intestine wall) in adults as well as children. As stated in a report published in the British Medical Journal in August 2009, it was revealed that patients with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) showed remarkable improvements in their symptoms on taking certain dosage of Psyllium husk over a specific period of time. Also, as reported by the University of Mary and Medical Centre, patients with chronic symptoms of diverticulitis reported in reduced flare ups by through intake of high fiber diet along with Psyllium dosage.
Instructions for Psyllium Intake
Usually, Psyllium husk is used in its whole natural state. However, to make the consumption easier for kids, it can be used in dried, chopped and powdered state. It should be noted that it is consumed with water or any non-caffeinated drink irrespective of the state or form.
However, it is always good for children to obtain fiber through a healthy diet. It is recommended to go for Psyllium supplements only when advised by the doctor.
For a normal adult, the recommended dosage of Psyllium husk is about 1-2 teaspoons three times a day. However, remember to combine it with fruit juice (non-caffeinated) or water and gulp it down before it swells and thickens. It is also important to drink at least 2-2.5 liters of water a day following consumption of Psyllium. This would help to prevent bloating and constipation.
The recommended dosage of Psyllium for children is about ½ – 1 teaspoon a day. Any more quantity can be a reason for side effects. It is also worth mentioning that Psyllium consumption by children is necessarily to be followed by drinking at least 1-2 glasses of water. However, the more the quantity of water, the better it is.
Psyllium consumption is considered safe only if taken the correct way and in appropriate dosages. If taken in a higher dosage or in an inappropriate manner, it can cause certain side effects like gas, diarrhea, stomach ache, nausea and even constipation. Some other precautions or suitability checks for Psyllium suitability are listed ahead.
- For kids and adults who have sensitivity to Psyllium husk, side effects can occur in the form of asthma, sneezing and hives.
- For children who have a difficulty in swallowing things, Psyllium might be a cause of choking. This is because it swells in reacting with water. If not consumed with sufficient water, Psyllium can result in choking.
- Psyllium is not recommended for children or adults who are suspected to suffer from gastrointestinal narrowing, spasms or obstructions.
- For children or adults who are under prescription medication, it is recommended to take doctor’s advice before opting for Psyllium husk health benefits. It has been observed Psyllium husk consumption might slow down the absorption of certain medications.
Everything has certain pros and cons associated with it. Psyllium can provide amazing benefits, for adults as well as kids, if taken properly and with due care.