Not many have psyllium husk available at home. Many have never even heard of it. However, it can be hard to know what to use in its place if it does pop up on one of your dishes.
This type of fiber is beneficial for many, and it can make meals bulky and healthy. Still, the flavor is not so great, and it can be pretty hard to digest for some. Instead of worrying too much, why not try one of these substitutes?
What Is Psyllium Husk?
This form of fiber comes from the husks of the seeds from the Plantago ovata plant. Sometimes, it is referred to as ispaghula and it is most often used as a laxative or bulk agent.
This ingredient is great for people who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome, because it can help regulate bowel movements.
Psyllium husk works by soaking up the water in the gut and creating bulk in the stool, which results in more regular and easier bowel movements.
Psyllium husk has also become popular because it is a prebiotic food, meaning it can help promote microorganism growth in the gut. These microorganisms are important for the absorption and digestion of nutrients and can help lower inflammation.
At the same time, psyllium husk is a great food to consume for those that suffer from high cholesterol and who have diabetes. This type of fiber can absorb cholesterol and bile, excreting it later in stool, which results in lower cholesterol levels.
As for blood sugar, eating psyllium husk can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and lowers sugar levels.
What Can I Replace Psyllium Husk With?
If you need an alternative type of fiber or an easy to prepare ingredient, try these psyllium husk substitutes next time:
Best For Baking, Keto, and IBS
This gluten-free ingredient is a great replacement for psyllium husk, particularly for those that are vegan and vegetarian. Flaxseed is high in omega 3 and 6, vitamins, and minerals, and also fiber, so it can replace psyllium husk without sacrificing any nutritional value.
Use flaxseed when you bake, in your oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or just add it to water and drink often for the treatment of IBS.
People following a keto diet can also use flaxseed sparingly, particularly if they need a healthy alternative when baking and frying. Keep in mind that this ingredient also changes the final texture a bit.
#2. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a soluble fiber and thickening agent that has become extremely popular lately. It contains virtually no calories, so it can be safe to use for those in low-carbohydrate diets, like the ketogenic diet.
Xanthan gum is great when you want to bake and when thickening sauces and soups.
Something to keep in mind is that xanthan gum doesn’t have much nutritional value. This option may help create bulk, but it doesn’t offer any of the health benefits that psyllium husk does. However, since it is flavorless, it is incredibly versatile.
See More: Xanthan Gum Substitutes
#3. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a fantastic ingredient. Just like flaxseed, these seeds are high in soluble fiber, omega 3, vitamins, and minerals.
Use these seeds to give your meals more fiber, to improve bowel movements if you have IBS, and to get extra nutrients when you follow a keto diet. Chia seeds are also great in baked goods, like muffins, cakes, and bread.
Like flaxseed, these seeds can alter the texture of your meal, so you should consider this before you cook. Some people even like to leave these seeds in water overnight and then drink it in the morning to promote healthy gut movements.
See More: Chia Seeds Shelf Life
Best For Bread, Eggs, and Breadcrumbs
Cornstarch is a great ingredient to have handy for many different reasons. In this case, like psyllium husk, cornstarch can thicken, bind, and provide texture but without any flavor. Use cornstarch when you bake bread, when you make egg dishes, or instead of breadcrumbs for a light coat.
You should keep in mind that cornstarch contains more calories and carbohydrates than other choices on this list. Unlike psyllium husk, cornstarch is also relatively low in fiber, so it may not be the healthiest choice.
See More: Cornstarch Alternatives
#5. Almond Flour
Almond flour has gained a lot of popularity these days because it is low in calories but high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
When you need to bake, use almond flour in place of psyllium husk, but consider adding more liquid, as it can dry out quickly. You can also use almond flour to thicken sauces, soups, and to replace breadcrumbs in frying and baking.
Another thing to consider with almond flour is that it does have a slightly nutty taste, so it may change your final flavor a little. Like psyllium husk, almond flour can promote healthy bowel movements, without adding too many calories.
See More: Almond Flour Replacements
#6. Coconut Flour
Although less nutritious and higher in calories, coconut flour has become incredibly popular for those following a gluten-free diet. This flour is high in fiber as well, so it can serve a somewhat similar purpose to psyllium husk in promoting healthy digestion.
Use coconut flour in baking bread and cakes, thickening soups, making egg dishes, and if you want a light coat instead of breadcrumbs.
You should keep in mind that just like almond flour, coconut flour has a unique flavor, that though not too strong, it could alter your final taste. Another key factor to consider is that coconut flour is drier, so you may want to add more liquid if you use it when baking.
See More: Does Coconut Flour Go Bad?
#7. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is gluten-free and nut-free, so it is safe to use in many things. This powder is high in starch, but it is also a great binder and thickener, but it doesn’t change the flavor at all since it is tasteless. Use arrowroot powder in baking, bread, sauces, eggs, and more.
Unlike some of the other items in this list, arrowroot also works very well with acidic ingredients, so it is perfect for jelly and jam making. You can also use it to substitute breadcrumbs when you want to fry or bake.
See More: Best Substitutes for Arrowroot Powder
Psyllium husk is often used to coat things when baking and in giving texture and bind. This ingredient is a healthy alternative to flour and other high carbohydrate foods. In some cases, it is also added to provide a higher fiber content.
When someone is talking about psyllium and psyllium husk, they are referring to the same ingredient but with a different texture. Psyllium powder, on the other hand, is finer and doesn’t contain the husk itself. Psyllium husk is grainier and lower in calories.
Unlike chemical or synthetic laxatives, taking psyllium every day poses no dangers. Most people suffering from constipation or IBS, take psyllium or psyllium husk every day to promote healthy gut movements. This type of fiber is also helpful in reducing blood cholesterol, so it can be good for those suffering from heart disease.
Even though not everyone takes or uses psyllium husk daily, this ingredient is very versatile and nutritious. If you find yourself wanting a substitution, why not use one or more of these seven substitutes? You can mix them too and create a higher nutritional content.
*image by depositphotos.com/OlgaLeschenko