Not many people know this, but the perennial Konjac plant is a staple in the Korean diet. Affectionately nicknamed devil’s tongue because of the long-shaped tuber that emerges from its flower, konjac is cultivated in the warmest, subtropical regions of Asia, including Korea. It is hard to miss: not only the flower is strikingly beautiful, but the plant grows from such a large corm, it can reach a whopping 25 cm in diameter!
Although it is somewhat flavourless, Konjac has gained a prominent place in plenty of traditional Korean dishes, such as noodles and jelly-based desserts, thanks to its rubbery, O-jelly consistency – biting into them gives your teeth a funny sensation! The plant is mainly used as a source of glucomannan, a fiber that makes up about 40% of its corm, making Konjac the richest source of soluble fabric in nature! Glucomannan is well-known for its many health benefits, which include the treatment of obesity, diabetes and acne.
Konjac is, by far, one of the best foods to consume if you’re trying to shed a few pounds. Studies have shown that by adding it to your diet, you can lose weight without making any other change to your eating or lifestyle habits. What makes it so effective is its ability to absorb up to twenty times its weight in water. When you eat it, the fiber expands in your stomach, promoting a feeling a fullness that prevents you from snacking between meals. According to Korean dietary and medical experts, the correct way to consume it is one hour before a meal and washed down with at least eight ounces of water!
Konjac is also a powerful ally in the treatment of hyperglycemia and diabetes. Its fiber attracts water in the digestive system, turning it into a gel that slows down the digestive process and traps carbohydrates, thus stabilizing the level of sugar in the blood. The fiber also reduces the levels of insulin and serum lipids in the blood, which further aids patients with Type 2 Diabetes to keep the disease under control. On top of it, Konjac also lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Finally, Konjac is a natural skincare treatment that improves the health of the skin and is particularly effective at busting acne. A study published in the American Journal of Dermatology and Venereology has recently confirmed what Korean women have known for centuries: Konjac reduces acne vulgaris and aids in wound healing.
In short, konjac is a powerhouse that treats your body from the inside out: it helps you shed weight, treat diabetes and get rid of acne. I bet I’m not the only one who fancies a bowl of Konjac noodles now!