The Secret Behind Psyllium Husk
Is psyllium husk gluten free? If you are having a gluten-free diet, you must at least once get a piece of advice to include this ingredient in your diet menu. It said that this is one of the best ingredients that you can choose for gluten-free needs.
Is Psyllium Husk Gluten Free? Yes, Psyllium Husk is Gluten Free
Before you consume, make sure you are tolerant of psyllium. And make sure that you drink adequate water to prevent you from choking when you take it as a dry ingredient.
However, you can’t just use this fact to include it in your diet menu. First of all, let’s understand what you can get from this ingredient.
Psyllium husk powder is similar to guar gum and Xanthan gum, ingredients that are mostly used in gluten-free baking. The three ingredients are binding agents, and they’re popular to use for gluten-free diets and recipes.
The purpose of adding psyllium husk powder and other similar ingredients is to perform as binding agents and as thickeners.
Some ingredients are added separately, but some are used together. For those who cook with high-fat content, it’s better to use these binding agents in every gluten-free diet.
If you make food that contains barley, rye, or wheat, the protein you use in this gluten-free flour will have the same purpose as psyllium husk powder, guar gum, and also Xanthan gum.
What is Psyllium?
This content has another name, ispaghula or isobgol. It is native Indian plants that are rich in both insoluble and soluble fiber, when you mix it with fluid or water, it will form a gel.
Psyllium is gluten-free which makes it safe for those with coeliac diseases, and good for gluten-free baking.
There are several benefits of psyllium that people choose as the substitution of flour. If you take a teaspoon of it, it will give you 4g of fiber. This means small amounts of psyllium will give you a lot of fiber intake to help you fulfill the minimum intake per day, 24grams.
It helps you to keep bowels regular and can be found in several products as a natural yet gentle laxative. Studies confirm that 10 grams of psyllium will help you to reduce bad cholesterol and total cholesterol by 7% for people with high and normal cholesterol levels.
It also gives good impacts on good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol. If you consume more than 10 grams of psyllium, you won’t get extra benefits. It only affects your cholesterol levels.
And for those with coronary heart disease, psyllium can also be used to reduce the risks if you consume 7 grams per day.
The Benefits and Risk of Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk can help you to improve your digestive system performance. Its ability to absorb water and create slippery gel is good for softening your stool. Therefore, many people use this ingredient to solve their constipation problem.
Moreover, 70% of soluble fiber inside also help your digestive system to absorb all nutrients from the food that you eat.
However, you can’t just eat the psyllium husk just like that.
Consuming raw psyllium husk will only increase the risk of many health problems. For example, the mucilaginous fiber in psyllium can become a factor that makes your autoimmune system become more aggressive. It will attack your healthy cell.
On the other hand, this ingredient also can become the food of pathogenic bacteria that enter your body along with the food. Moreover, if you eat the psyllium husk that has been contaminated with other kinds of seeds.
That will only increase the risk of having more health problem. And, its gluten-free benefits will be disappeared because of this problem.
How to Use or Consume Psyllium Husk safely?
The amount of psyllium you take will depend on the reason and lifestyle you bring. It will give you an understanding of how often and how much you need to put psyllium in your diet.
You can mix the psyllium with juice, water, and food. Or even you can make energy bars and mix that psyllium into them. Some choose to use it as a natural laxative, so they take psyllium as a pre-made drink. And some try to mix it with food, to bump up their daily fiber intake.
Putting it as a top for your frozen berries or natural yogurt. When your berries defrost, it will form a berry juice, and when the psyllium soaks, it will make a jelly that mixes well with the yogurt. It tastes great.
Or another way to use psyllium husk is using it as one of the baking ingredients. There are many benefits that you can get from using it as baking ingredients. First of all, it will act as the ingredients that tie down other ingredients.
Usually, if you bake the gluten-free bread using gluten-free flour, it will be easier to crumble when you bite it or pinch it with your finger. Adding psyllium husk will solve that problem.
Actually, you can use xanthan gum, which will give you a similar result like the bread that you make using normal flour. However, psyllium husk is much cheaper and easy to use. So, this is the best choice.
If you want to use psyllium husk for baking gluten-free bread or cookie, there is a rule you must follow. The amount of psyllium husk you can use must be 5% of the gluten-free flour amount.
With this amount, you will get a nice result in the end. The less crumble and delicious gluten-free bread.
The best of all, you can use psyllium husk in any type of breads that you want. You can even use it for making pizza dough and even pasta.
It’s Side Effect
Another side effect is related to gastrointestinal since psyllium husk also works as a gentle and natural laxative. You may experience diarrhea or bloat after taking it, and this may happen often because of the increase in fiber intake.
If it’s your first time taking psyllium as your fiber ingredient, you better take a small amount first to let your stomach become accustomed to it. And for a daily basis, take psyllium two to three teaspoons a day for your fiber intake.
Gluten-Free Binders Alternatives
If you want to make gluten-free food, you can try to use this gluten-free binder and flour. The first one is Xanthan gum which is coming from a complex chemical process from sugar fermentation.
When you’re gluten-free baking, the ingredient helps you to thicken and bind your dough.
Another gluten-free binder to try is guar gum which is derived from guar beans’ ground endosperm. To get the powder, you need to clean the husk of the guar beans’ seed and mill it, the off-white powder is ready to be used.
Guar gum is similar to Xanthan Gum. It gives you elasticity, structure, and binding for baked goods. And it doesn’t contain any gluten. Those who are sensitive to soy may have similar negative effects towards guar gum.
Flax seeds are another gluten-free binder you can add to your baking. This plant is famous as a fiber source that will produce gel when you mix it with water.
Flaxseed comes from the flax plant, it is also known as linseed. It has a binding structure that will be great for baking. Flax is high in fiber and fat, it is also easy to mix it with other ingredients.
Chia seeds are similar to flax seeds. It’s derived from the mint family. This seed is famous in South America and Central America. And for those who are concerned about healthy food, chia is popular, since it’s rich in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids that are great for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores.
Chia also has mucilaginous properties which make it a good addition for those who want to make gluten-free recipes.
Eggs are also a natural binder you can try. It is usually used in wheat-based and gluten-free baked goods. It is the egg yolk that works as an emulsifier agent because it contains lecithin. While egg whites are sticky when you mix them with everything. It contains mostly protein.
Both the yolk and the egg white will work together to make macaroon cookies of macaroon. They will naturally make the macaroon sticks. Eggs are an excellent binder, you will get egg white binding ability, and also the yolk emulsifying ability.
Yet, make sure that you don’t put eggs in your dough, since it will make your goods taste the egg. Try to balance the egg with other binding agents above to make your sourdough taste good.
So which gluten-free binder do you choose? Psyllium might be great for those who need fiber intake.