Psyllium is a healthier and more organic alternative to the artificial laxatives found in the market today. This natural bulk-forming laxative works by relieving constipation, treating diarrhea, boosting metabolism, helps with diabetes, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and also helps with weight loss.
The psyllium husk powder may also be used in baking recipes for people on a low-carb diets as well as those with gluten sensitivity. However, since psyllium husk powder is a fiber that’s soluble in water, it retains too much water which causes the baked bread to become too crumbly. The taste and texture also don’t quite satisfy some chefs who are on a search for the perfect replacement.
What are the side effects?
Since the psyllium is not digested in our large intestines, this may result in the production of excess gas or other digestive problems like bloating and discomfort. In some extreme cases, consumption may cause internal blocking although that’s rare. You should take lots of fluids to reduce these symptoms.
Psyllium affects the absorption of medicine since it forms a bulk in the intestines. If you’re on any prescribed medication, it’s advisable that you consult your doctor before taking any psyllium husk powder. If you must, wait at least 2 hours after you have taken your medication.
This leaves one to wonder if there really is a good psyllium husk powder substitute.
Psyllium Husk Powder Substitutes
Considering all its benefits, it can be quite hard finding another option that checks all the boxes. We put together a list of 10 items that you may use as substitutes for psyllium husk powder that are still gluten-free, nutrient-rich, low-calorie, and low-carb. These are:
This is also referred to as linseed and it tops the list for psyllium powder substitutes. It’s a gluten-free option that’s commonly used in many vegetarian and vegan diets.
Flaxseed is high in magnesium, minerals, phosphorous, and vitamins. It’s also an great source for fiber, healthy fats, omega-3, and antioxidants such as lutein.
2. Chia Seeds
These are quite similar to flaxseeds in that they have lots of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3, essential fats, manganese, copper, selenium, and other nutrients.
Ground chia seeds may be used when baking or even added to smoothies – the only downside is that just like flaxseeds, chia seeds have some extra calories.
3. Xanthan Gum
This soluble fiber is commonly used as a thickening agent for stabilizing liquids when cooking or baking. Due to the fact that xanthan gum is added to liquids to make them more viscous, it’s used in yogurts, jello, soups, sauces, and puddings.
It swells up when eaten making you feel full. This is helpful in reducing calorie consumption and slows stomach emptying for weight loss purposes.
Cornstarch is gotten from corn kernels and is a commonly found in processed foods. It’s gluten-free and is, therefore, used to make wheat-free dessert fillings.
Additionally, it’s used to thicken syrup and candy in confectionary factories as a way to create better consistency. Its anti-caking properties keep the tiny particles from being clumped together.
5. Arrowroot Powder
This gluten-free powder is used as a thickener that can take the place of psyllium husk powder. This flavorless natural additive is mixed with water to form a thick mixture that may be used to thicken gravy, and fillings for acidic substances. This property makes arrowroot powder a better option compared to cornstarch which can’t be used with acidic substances like cranberry juice.
6. Tapioca Powder
This gluten-free powder is made from the root of a cassava plant that has been made into a pulp. It is excellent for sauces and pies. Tapioca starch is perfect for people who aren’t supposed to eat corn or potatoes.
7. Hemp Flour
This is made from crushed seeds of the hemp and can be used to give a strong nutty flavor to baked bread, muffins, cookies, and waffles. Hemp flour is rich in omega-3, proteins, and fats.
8. Guar Gum
This is also known as guaran and is used to make a variety of processed foods and other foods like soups, yogurt, ice-cream, pudding, and sauces.
It’s also found in cosmetics and medications.
That’s about everything you need to know about psyllium husk powder and its substitutes before including them in your diet. Remember that the substitute may not add the exact taste and texture that you’re looking for and neither is it guaranteed that it will provide similar benefits. It’s, therefore, necessary for you to experiment with the above-listed substitutes before you find what works best for you.
Besides the potential substitutes we have listed, you could also try coconut flour, almond flour, potato starch, rice flour, green banana flour, millet, and sorghum. The list is endless and the alternatives are limitless depending on your dietary needs.