Konjac is a yam or tuber found only in Asia. Its root is a rich source of Glucomannan that is a water-soluble dietary fiber that can expand many times its size. When consumers eat this dietary fibre, they feel full due to its expansive nature along with increasing their fiber intake.
Many studies have indicated that their dietary fibre helps in regulating blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. In simple terms, we are talking about being highly beneficial in a natural form with almost zero carbs as it’s almost entirely fibre. It is extremely low in fat, calories and carbohydrates and it won’t be wrong to call it almost free food.
What Are Konjac Noodles?
These noodles are available in two main types, namely plain yam noodles and Tofu Shirataki noodles. The plain yam noodles, also called Shirataki, have a white semi-transparent colour and are mainly made from only the yam flour. On the other hand, Tofu Shiitake also contains tofu that gives these noodles a creamy white and opaque colour. Tofu also adds a few carbohydrates to the mix.
As far as the uses of these noodles are concerned, they are traditionally used for stir fry and soups, but may also be used as an alternative to al dente pasta. While it is true that these noodles can’t replace well-cooked pasta as they have their unique texture, but they can offer an option as a side dish to your weekly menu as many times as you want.
Konjac Glucomannan Health Benefits And Nutrition Facts
The Konjac root is a rich source of a variety of minerals, vitamins and dietary fibres. The most beneficial quality is its high dietary fibre content. It is full of various minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, selenium, iron and potassium. It also contains a variety of essential amino acids as well as polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Foods made from Konjac root are great for satiety, which means these make you feel full quickly. In fact, the main ingredient in Konjac foods is Glucomannan, which absorbs enough water to increase up to 200 times its original volume.
Due to this high absorption rate, it makes you feel full quickly. It also has many other benefits such as balancing Salinity, clearing up the intestine, cleaning your stomach, supplementing calcium, and removing toxins from the body.
It also can delay the absorption of glucose in the body, which reduces postprandial blood sugar.
As mentioned above, Glucomannan fibre is the main ingredient in the Konjac root. Glucomannan is a low-fat, low protein and high fibre food and it also contains over 16 types of amino acids.
It helps in lowering blood sugar and LDL cholesterol. Furthermore, Konjac foods not only offer high nutritional benefits, but can help you to lose weight.
Glucomannan fibre also helps in lowering blood sugar and increasing insulin in the body. A number of medical studies have shown that this dietary fibre can help in preventing, treating and controlling diabetes. It is also capable of delaying the retention time of chyme and enhancing the gastrointestinal viscosity.
It helps in reducing and postponing the glucose absorption in the body which inhibits elevation of blood sugar levels by forming a protective layer in the intestine wall. It is also capable of lowering glucose tolerance, improving insulin sensitivity and reducing levels of free fatty acid in the blood. It is an ideal food for diabetics as it helps in lowering blood sugar and improves various symptoms and conditions related to Type II diabetes.
The root of Konjac contains around 5% to 10% protein content. Seven out of the 16 types of amino acids present in Konjac root are essential amino acids, which helps to supplement the body.
This root is also an excellent source of various essential minerals including copper, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
As far as the content of dried crude Konjac flour is concerned, it contains around 49% to 60% glucomannan fibre. The remaining carbohydrates include 5% to 14% crude protein, 2% to 5% insoluble fibre, 3% to 5.3% ash in the form of mineral content, 3% to 5% sugars and 10% to 30% starch.
It is an alkaline food that provides a variety of nutrients to the body. Such as being rich in protein, water, carbohydrates, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, lipids, zinc, copper, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin B1, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, fatty acids, niacin, folic acid, pantothenate and dietary fibre.
The demand for Konjac noodles continues to increase due to its numerous positive health benefits.
Here is a list of some of the major benefits of consuming these foods on a regular basis:
- Helps in controlling the body’s level of blood sugar.
- Helps in reducing LDL cholesterol.
- Helps in regulating the gastrointestinal tract.
- May also help in losing weight.
- Ideal food for diabetics.
- Rich in calcium.
- Alkaline in nature.
- Helps in reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Also has anti-ageing benefits.
On consuming Konjac foods, the fibre in the food mixes with the water in the stomach and the glucomannan fibre helps in absorbing the bile acid in the stomach. Due to its highly absorbing property, it also helps with weight loss while dieting. It also behaves as a probiotic and contributes to the growth of Lactobacillus bifidus in the intestine.
Konjac Noodles Health Benefits Overview
We have listed some of the many health benefits of Konjac Root Noodles below:
An Ideal food for individuals suffering from diabetes. The glucomannan fibre helps in regulating blood sugar levels in type II diabetes. Since glucomannan has relatively high viscosity when compared to other types of soluble fibres, it may also help in reducing insulin, serum lipid and blood sugar levels after meals.
Control of High Cholesterol
Glucomannan helps in lowering the level of cholesterol by attaching to the bile acids in the digestive system. It helps in removing these bile acids from the body and in the process, it also helps in reducing levels of fat in the blood.
Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia
Glucomannan fibre helps in stabilising the levels of blood sugar in the body by becoming a gel in the digestive system that slows down the digestive processes which in turn traps carbohydrates.
Due to its high absorbability, it helps in softening the contents of the digestive system and increases the volume of stool that provides relief from constipation.
As far as the role of glucomannan fibre for weight loss is concerned, it can absorb up to 20 times its weight in water. As it expands in the stomach after ingestion, it promotes the feeling of fullness.
High Blood Pressure
One research study on men’s health has shown that a four-week course of glucomannan supplements led to a decrease in systolic blood pressure.
Possible Food Poisoning Antidote
Some researchers also claim that it may act as an antidote to food poisoning. In a laboratory study, 18 different food products were exposed to various bacteria including Salmonella and E. Coli and these bacteria were allowed to bind to the products.
The sesame seed extract and Konjac gum bounded the largest quantity of bacteria as measured by the levels of bound bacteria in these products. Researchers concluded that glucomannan may be useful in preventing harmful bacteria from entering the host cells. Further claim confirmation is awaiting as these have not been studied so far in a clinical environment.
Where to Buy Konjac Noodles
If you’re looking to buy Konjac noodles, it may not be easy as sourcing locally at this time is difficult. However, some local stores may have this available. There are currently suppliers in Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, UK and US.
Konjac noodles are Japanese, which means that you should be able to find these noodles in a local Japanese grocery store. Give them a call or visit them to see if they have them in stock. The Shirataki noodles are considered a Japanese staple diet and you should be able to find these noodles easily at any local Japanese grocer.
The calorie free, carbohydrates free and gluten-free noodles are highly popular as a healthy diet option for reducing calorie consumption and carbs. Various other names for Shirataki include Shirataki noodles or Konnyaku noodles.