Before Konnyaku became the superfood that it is known as today, its gelatinous form – the konnyaku jelly was all the rage. People were trying to out-create each other in the jelly-making department. Soon it took on art forms because it is easier to mould into any shape, less fragile than gelatine and its crystal clear form makes a nice canvas. We just love the texture of it. It offers more bite than regular jellies made from gelatine and yet softer than the seaweed-derived agar-agar.
BY GREEN BUTCHERY | 13 Sept 2021
What is Konnyaku and Why is it Touted as a Superfood?
Konnyaku is extracted from the Konjac root (Amorphophallus), aka Elephant Foot Yam or Devil’s Tongue or Voodoo Lily or Snake Palm. Foul as they may be, the names have not prevented people from consuming it for the past 1,500 years. Originally native to Yunnan in China (蒟蒻), Konnyaku has been used in Japan since the sixth century as a medicinal food.
Its high content of glucomannan, a soluble dietary fiber that naturally occurs in the Konjac plant makes it beneficial in more ways than just a nice dessert.
- Good for digestive health. It helps clean our digestive system.
- Prevents constipation. Glucomannan promotes bowel movements. Details here.
- Helps rid toxins. Glucomannan absorbs toxic substances produced during digestión, preventing the toxins to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Great for weight management. Research has shown that consuming glucomannan makes you feel full faster and for longer. Yay!
- Extremely low in calories. There’s really no need to count calories as it’s almost zero.
- Regulate blood sugar levels. If Konnyaku is taken with other foods, it reduces the speed of sugar intake and lowers the blood sugar level by increasing insulin production.
- Rich in minerals, especially calcium. It packs 75mg of acid-soluble calcium in every 100gm block of konnyaku. It contains natural minerals such as copper, zinc and magnesium too.
- Cholesterol free. My heart will thank me later.
- Keto-friendly. Yup, it’s so low in carbohydrates, you can have your cake and eat it. The jelly-like chewy texture and natural seafood flavour make it a great seafood replacement. We like them in any shape and form. Pass me that Shirataki, will ya.
The konjac root is rich in ceramide, which is essential to build a strong and healthy skin barrier. A study in 2013 shows that it can help reduce acne too. So it’s not surprising that we see konjac being used in facial washes, scrubs, moisturisers, hair conditioners, masks and made into sponges. It deserves another article solely dedicated to its benefits as skincare. Stay tuned.
Glucomannan is generally very well-tolerated. However, like most high-fibre products, if consumed in excess, it may cause digestive problems such as:
- diarrhea or loose stools
- abdominal pain