The health-conscious community is becoming more cautious about what they put in their food, from spices and sweeteners to flours to binders. As a result, the use of healthful foods is observing a rise; this is why in recent years, psyllium husk powder has gained worldwide acclaim, especially among the gluten-free community and those with digestive disorders.
Unfortunately, you’ll realize psyllium husk powder is still relatively difficult to find and expensive. Similarly, I once experimented with keto pumpkin bread, which I wanted to keep both egg-free and gluten-free. Therefore, my best bet was using psyllium husk powder. But since I didn’t have enough of it, I decided to buy a little more at the grocery store. However, they informed me it was not available.
In situations such as mine, opting for a substitute for psyllium husk powder is the way to go. So naturally, the next issue arises: which is the best substitute for psyllium husk powder? But before I get to answer it, let’s do a brief overview of the history and facts about psyllium husk powder.
What is psyllium husk powder?
Psyllium is a soluble fiber procured from the seeds of Plantago ovata; it is native to the land of India. It has been used for an extended time of about 5000 years in India as part of Ayurveda, a pseudoscientific healthy lifestyle system, and numerous other cultural societies. Psyllium is a traditional Indian medicine mainly used as a dietary fiber supplement to cure constipation.
However, Persian history also exhibits proof of using psyllium with the names of Isabgol and Ispaghula. This word is a compound of two Persian words, Namely Isap meaning “ear of horse” because its shape resembles a horse’s ear and Gol or Ghula meaning “solution.”
Psyllium husk powder is an organic and healthy alternative to the artificial laxatives sold in markets today. Recognizing its numerous benefits, many people have taken to adding it to their daily diet plans or meals.
Psyllium husk powder benefits:
This ingredient has various health benefits that make it a valuable product to have at home. Moreover, it is also taken as a supplement by a large number of people in the form of Metamucil, which is essentially psyllium fiber gummies. Below I have listed some of the most sought-after psyllium husk powder benefits:
- It helps with the absorption of water, which increases the size and moisture of stools. Thus, the final product is larger and easier-to-pass stools. As a result, psyllium fiber capsules are often prescribed to patients afflicted with constipation.
- Research shows that psyllium can relieve diarrhea. It acts as a water-absorbing agent that increases stool thickness and slows down its passage through the colon.
- Psyllium slows down the digestion of food, which helps manage blood sugar levels.
- Psyllium aids in controlling appetite by curbing your stomach, emptying, and diminishing your appetite; this reduced appetite and calorie consumption support your body in weight loss.
- Psyllium husk powder adheres to fat and bile acids, encouraging the body to excrete them. In the process of restoring these lost bile acids, the liver utilizes cholesterol to create more. As a result, blood cholesterol level decreases.
- Water-soluble fibers, such as psyllium, help reduce blood triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk of heart disease.
Psyllium husk vs Powder
|Psyllium Husk||Psyllium Powder|
|Husky and grainy||Very fine|
|Light beige color||Dark beige color|
|Light and flaky||Dense and heavy|
Whole psyllium husks are considered better for baking than psyllium powder.
5 Best substitutes for psyllium husk powder
Psyllium husk powder is a healthy choice, but if you don’t have it, there are many substitutes for psyllium husk powder that you can go for. I have listed my favorite ones below:
The best substitute for psyllium husk powder you can use is flaxseed or linseed. It is fitting for both gluten-free and vegan diets and in making dishes, drinks, or baking. Flaxseeds are rich in essential vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B, fiber, essential fats, omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, zeaxanthin, and lutein.
Flax seeds help our body reduce the risk of health issues like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Moreover, it also lowers the level of cholesterol and stabilizes our body’s blood sugar level. Another benefit of flax seeds is that they save our cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Furthermore, when it comes to flaxseed’s nutritional benefits, it is proven to be an excellent psyllium husk powder alternative because of its high fiber content. As a result, you can relish the same benefits as you would have with using psyllium husk powder. You may use flax seeds, either whole or in powdered form.
2. Chia Seeds
This psyllium husk powder substitute is remarkably similar to flax seeds. It contains loads of antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients, like fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, healthy fats, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, selenium, and magnesium. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise that chia seeds help our body keep our blood pressure at optimum levels and our heart in combating cardiovascular disease.
If you prefer to use chia seeds to substitute for psyllium husk, you can use them in the whole form. However, you may also blend them into powder. A spoonful of chia seeds works excellent as a thickener.
The best thing about this substitute for psyllium husk is that, most likely, you already have it at home. It is one the commonest starch that you can find in any kitchen where baking occurs regularly.
Cornstarch is commonly found in commercially processed foods. It is also gluten-free; thus, it is used to create wheat-free dessert fillings. However, the primary purpose of cornstarch is usually to thicken any dish so that it may have the desired consistency. Therefore, it is used in soups, Manchurians, and several kinds of sauces.
Despite its benefits and flexibility, I would recommend you avoid using it in acidic recipes. For instance, if your recipe calls for lemon, then you should go for some other option. Typically, cornstarch is used in recipes to keep powdered or granulated food items held together or, as mentioned above, a thickener.
As a psyllium husk powder replacement, use it in a 1:1 ratio to psyllium fiber powder. And remember that starches require heat to be activated.
4. Xanthan Gum
Although this substitute for psyllium husk powder doesn’t provide the same nutritional benefits, it makes an excellent binder. Xanthan gum is actually a powder that thickens any liquid when you mix it with water. However, it is typically used as a binding agent to hold all the ingredients together when baking or cooking.
To chemists, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide. It is obtained from fermenting and synthesizing sugars, using a specific kind of bacteria called Xanthomonas Campestris, later turned into powder. It is how xanthan gum got its name.
Xanthan gum is commonly used in jellos, yogurts, sauces, ice creams, soups, puddings, etc. One advantage of using it is that it makes you feel full for a long time; this helps decrease calorie consumption. Consequently, it is the perfect ingredient for a weight loss diet.
However, to substitute xanthan gum for psyllium husk powder you have to be careful with the amount you use to replace psyllium. For every part of the psyllium that your dish calls for, use only ⅓ rd or half the amount of xanthan gum.
5. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch is another gluten-free substitute for psyllium husk powder; this powder is obtained from cassava root pulp, which has been washed and squeezed to extract its starch. Tapioca starch is the best psyllium husk alternative for people who prefer not to eat corn or potatoes. Besides, it is easy to digest and free of the most common allergens.
Furthermore, when it comes to nutritional and health benefits, we find tapioca starch is rich in starchy carbohydrates. In addition, it also possesses calcium and iron, which are essentially beneficial for our body and should be taken daily.
As most of the other substitutes for psyllium husk powder had weight loss quality, tapioca starch does the opposite. It helps you gain weight! One cup of tapioca starch provides almost 544 calories, which is an excellent addition to your diet plan. You don’t have to fret over the adverse impacts of consuming too much cholesterol or fat.