What is Konjac?
Konjac is a plant that belongs to the genus Amorphophallus. The plant grows mostly in tropical and subtropical areas of eastern Asia including china, Japan and Indonesia4.
Konjac is also known as an elephant yam because its corm is similar to the true yam. However, these pants are not closely related. The plant is known for its starchy corm, a structure that looks like a tube which is part of the stem of the plant and is grown below the ground and acts as a storage part of the plant.
Konjac is the primary source of glucomannan, which is a fiber that makes up around 40% of the plant’s corm. Once this plant has matured as shown by the glucomannan content in it, it will be dug out for cleaning and processing.
Processing of konjac may be done traditionally or by machines. For traditional processing, people separate corms from the rest of the plant, wash, peel, slice and then dry them in the sun. Modern processing can be used to quicken the drying process of the corm by using coal. The main goal of these processing methods is to produce a product that is dried properly so that it can be stored well and achieve a high glucomannan concentration1.
Processing of konjac is based on factors such as whether it is used as food, food additive or as a nutritional supplement.
Health Benefits of Konjac Root
Konjac root and its derivatives have numerous health benefits such as2, 3:
It helps to reduce weight
The root of konjac has low calorie content and has high fiber content. This combination can help you reduce weight. When you consume konjac powder, it makes you feel full and as a result you do not feel like overeating. This can help you to lower weight in the long run.
Konjac root can effectively reduce weight when used in combination with lifestyle changes. You need to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet along with konjac root so as to achieve your weight loss goals.
It improves digestion
Konjac root powder has prebiotic which is a source of food for bacteria in the intestines. Normally, foods rich in Probiotic are good for overall health of the digestive system. Glucomannan is an example of prebiotics which is useful in the digestive system. It helps to balance bacteria in the intestines and thus ensure your digestive system is working properly.
Konjac root helps in relieving constipation issues. Constipation occurs due to low fiber content in the body, lack of exercise and dehydration. Many studies have documented that konjac root powder can be helpful in solving constipation problems. When you take konjac root powder, it acts as a prebiotic in the body which helps improve bowel movement.
In addition, konjac root powder can help promote large and bulky stool that can pass easily through the colon. Taking konjac root powder encourages bowel movement with 12 to 24 hours after intake.
It promotes the health of your heart
There are many things that affect the health of your heart such as lack of exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels in the blood, high sugar levels, high fat levels and obesity. Findings of 14 glucomannan studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that glucomannan had positive health effects on low density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose and body weight. But it did not affect blood pressure and high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
In these studies, glucomannan was able to reduce the total cholesterol, lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. Glucomannan is a fiber and it is able to lower the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the digestive system.
It helps to manage diabetes
Diabetes is associated with high blood sugar. Konjac root powder can help delay the natural emptying process of the stomach. As a result, sugar will be slowly absorbed in the body and thus it reduces the amount of sugar after meals in the body.
Taking glucomannan by mouth or including it your diet can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar and high blood pressure in diabetic patients.
Konjac root when used as a nutritional supplement, it comes in the form of tablet, powder and capsule. According to studies, the recommended dosage is 500 to 1500mg. You have to take it before meals with a lot of water. In case you are using the powder form, stir it properly in water and take the solution before it thickens.
Konjac is readily available in most of the retail nutritional and drugstores online. Konjac is mostly sold as capsules containing 700mg of glucomannan and the prices varies. You can also get konjac at various multi-ingredient supplements where it is mixed with other nutritional fibers.
Konjac is also available as a food product particularly as nodules in different shapes and sizes. You can prepare konjac nodules at home by mixing it with pickling lime and water. Then boil the mixture for about three minutes and allow it to cool. Once it’s cool, it is stable and thick and can be cut into any shape and size.
The powder form of konjac root is considered safe when included in the food you eat. In terms of medicinal value, capsule, powder and tablets are safe in adults for a period of about four months. The most common side effects of konjac forms are: you may have diarrhea and other stomach problems such as bloating. You may also experience constipation problems and abdominal discomfort.
Solid tables of konjac are unsafe for adults and children. They are likely to block your throat or the intestines. This may be dangerous to people with abnormalities in their digestive system. In case you have problems in your digestive system including having difficulties in swallowing, do not take konjac root powder or pills.
Another side effect of konjac root is that it can significantly lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels. If you are diabetic, you need to monitor your blood sugar when you are taking konjac root. In case you are using it together with drugs that lower blood sugar, it can cause blood sugar to reduce further in the body. To ensure you are safe, consult your doctor to find out whether your sugar reducing medications can be changed when using konjac root. In addition, if you are planning to go for surgery, stop using konjac root two weeks before surgery.
In case you are pregnant and breastfeeding, avoid using konjac root since its effects are unclear.
- Konjac root. https://draxe.com/glucomannan/
- Konjac root http://www.livestrong.com/article/296292-konjac-root-for-weight-loss/