Psyllium (also called psyllium seed husk, isabgol or isphagula) has been used for years to alleviate constipation, cleanse the colon and to improve digestion, and it can be found in many over-the-counter laxatives. Some people also use psyllium to lower their cholesterol or help control diabetes. One popular way to use psyllium is to add it to hot cereal. If you make your own granola from scratch, you can also use it on cold cereal. Before starting a new health regimen or changing your diet, talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your digestion, cholesterol or diabetes.
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Prepare a serving of oatmeal, grits, multigrain porridge or other hot, cooked cereal according to package instructions.
Stir a very small amount (such as 1 tsp.) of psyllium husks into one serving of the cooked cereal.
Add a bit more liquid, such as milk or water, to the cooked cereal and stir well.
Eat the cereal, and pay attention to your digestion the rest of the day. If you experience gas, bloating, diarrhea or other upset stomach issues, try a smaller dose of psyllium next time, or look into increasing your dietary fiber in different ways. If you tolerate psyllium well, you can slowly increase the amount of psyllium in your hot cereal until you find a dose that works best for you. A standard dose is 1 tbsp.
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On its own, psyllium has a fairly bland, mild taste. Adding it to hot cereal may make the cereal slightly thicker or more gelatinous.
On rare occasions, some people may be allergic to psyllium. If you experience a swelling of the throat or shortness of breath after consuming psyllium, do not take psyllium again and talk to your doctor immediately.
People who have had bowel surgery should talk to their doctor before incorporating psyllium into their diet.