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Guar gum: functions, benefits, medicinal properties and contraindications

Guar gum: functions, benefits, medicinal properties and contraindications

If you have never heard of guar gum, you are missing an ingredient that can be very useful in your recipes, mainly because this product gives them more texture and consistency, but it can also be a food supplement for various ailments. Check your benefits now!

What is guar gum?

Guar gum is a fiber extracted from the seeds of plants of the species Cyamopsis tetragonolobus, also known as Guar, a very resistant legume that grows in arid regions.

This plant is native to India and Pakistan, and is widely cultivated in the United States and in some regions of Africa and Australia.

Features

The seeds are similar to beans and about 20 to 40% of their weight consists of gum.

Properties

The main property is its ability to form a viscous gel when it comes into contact with water. Even in small concentrations (1 to 2%), guar gum already forms a gel in water.

The formation of the gel occurs through chemical crosslinks that involve units of the saccharides galactose and mannose, which leads to the formation of a polymeric network that retains water inside, causing its expansion.

Applications

There are several uses for guar gum. It is used in the production of food, beverages, medicines, consumer products for animals, cosmetics and in the manufacture of paper.

It is widely used for its thickening and stabilizing action, which contributes to the best formulation of various products, providing greater structure, texture and consistency to foods such as breads, cakes, pancakes, cookies, mayonnaise, sauces, creams, pastes, jellies, jellies. and ice cream.

For homemade recipes for breads, pizzas and cookies, it is recommended to use about 1 teaspoon of guar gum. For cakes, just ½ teaspoon is enough.

As a therapeutic product, guar gum can be used as a dietary supplement, to treat constipation, diarrhea and as an aid in the treatment of obesity, diabetes, the reduction and control of cholesterol.

Medicinal properties

As you can see, in addition to being useful in the kitchen, it can be used as a complement to extract health benefits, such as:

-Improved intestinal function

Guar gum is a type of polysaccharide that belongs to the class of soluble fibers.

In the case of guar gum fibers, these pass intact through the stomach and small intestine and are fermented by bacteria from the flora of the large intestine, which is why it has a prebiotic action (contributes to the maintenance of good bacteria), which helps improve bowel function.

Due to this property, it prevents intestinal disorders such as constipation or diarrhea. This is due to the fact that this product retains water inside the intestine, preventing the stool from being extremely dry, in addition to forming a voluminous gel that helps to evacuate them, relieving constipation.

In the case of diarrhea, guar gum absorbs excess water from the stool itself, fighting the symptoms of this imbalance.

For those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which causes intestinal contractions causing pain, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation, it can be a good alternative to alleviate these symptoms.

-Reduces the absorption of cholesterol and glucose

By forming a gel in the intestine, guar gum hinders the absorption of cholesterol and glucose, making it an ally in the treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes.

Due to this property, guar gum contributes to reducing total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) without affecting the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). In addition, it reduces blood glucose and insulin levels, benefiting people with diabetes.

-Favors the feeling of satiety

Because it is not easily absorbed and retains water, guar gum promotes a feeling of fullness, which can help you lose weight. This is because it generates volume in the stomach and intestine, fighting hunger.

-Low blood pressure

The ingestion of guar gum can help reduce blood pressure favoring hypertensive people.

Collateral damage

Like all foods when consumed inappropriately, it can have certain side effects, such as increased gas production, leading to flatulence.

The production of gases is produced by fermentation of the chewing gum by bacteria present in the large intestine.

Contraindications

More serious symptoms can occur from the use of guar gum in food supplements (in the form of dried granules) that can cause a blockage of the esophagus and intestine. This may be because it absorbs a lot of water and is up to 20 times its size, in dry form.

In this context, people who experience a narrowing or blockage in the esophagus or intestine, or who have difficulty swallowing, should not consume it.

Consumer attention

Patients with hypoglycemia should carefully monitor their glucose levels, since the intake of guar gum, in these cases, can worsen the decrease in blood glucose.

People with low blood pressure should be careful when eating guar gum as it can lower blood pressure further.

Drug interactions

Consuming guar gum can interact with some medications, interfering with their effects. These medications are:

  • Contraceptives: containing ethinylestradiol, as it can minimize the absorption of this drug, reducing its effectiveness, as a contraceptive method.
  • Metformin diabetes remedies: Due to guar gum they reduce the absorption of this drug principle.
  • Penicillin: Guar gum can decrease the absorption of this substance and impair the treatment of infections.
  • Digoxin: can slow the absorption of this chemical used to treat heart failure.

Recommendation

Consult your doctor before starting the therapeutic use, to know the correct doses, ways of use and other possible drug interactions.

In short, all this information and clarifications are for you to know how to use guar gum correctly, extracting various utilities and various benefits.

By Deise Aur. Article in Portuguese

Video: Professional Supplement Review - Guar Gum (October 2020).