PSYLLIUM – Nature’s miracle fiber
Psyllium is a natural fibre with unique and very useful properties. It gels when mixed with liquids and is often used as a binder in gluten free baking to provide elasticity and strength to dough or batter. It can also be used medicinally to improve bowel regularity as well as reduce cholesterol and other circulating blood lipids. Always have some in your pantry !
What is it?
Psyllium powder is the husk or the outer shell of the seed of the psyllium plant which has been ground to powder. Pure psyllium is 100% natural, 100% pure fiber and gluten free.
The properties of the husk and powder are all very similar. Psyllium is mucilaginous, which means that it forms a gel when mixed with water. Psyllium will absorb up to 20 times it’s weight in water so 50g of psyllium can absorb a liter of water!
What will it do for me?
Psyllium can help current diabetics as well as people trying to prevent diabetes since the dietary consumption of fibers like psyllium husk can assist in maintaining healthy glycemic balance in the body. It can also benefit your digestive system by increasing the moisture content of the food travelling through your digestive tract. Ensure you consume lots of water when eating foods containing psyllium or taking the fiber as a supplement because it absorbs so much water.
Baked goods containing psyllium can contribute to your intake of this beneficial fiber.
What can I do with it?
Psyllium is popular as a natural flour binder in gluten free baking as it imitates the “stretchiness” of the gluten in ordinary wheat flour. It can be added to the gluten-free flour as dry powder or it can be mixed with the wet ingredients and allowed to gel somewhat before being mixed with the dry ingredient. The results will differ and you will have to determine which one gives you the result you desire, unless the recipe tells you.
The powder can also be used as a thickener in smoothies and yogurts.
How do I store it?
It is best kept in an airtight container because of it’s tremendous affinity for moisture. Can be stored in the freezer to extend it’s shelf life, probably almost indefinitely.