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Konjac also known as konjak, konjaku, konnyaku potato, devil's tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam, is a plant of the genus Amorphophallus. It is native to warm subtropical to tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China south to Indonesia. It is a perennial plant, growing from a large corm up to 25 cm in diameter. The single leaf is up to 1.3 m across, bipinnate, and divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are produced on a spathe enclosed by a dark purple spadix up to 55 cm long.

The food made from the root of this plant is widely known in English by its Japanese name, konnyaku, being cooked and consumed primarily in Japan. The two basic types of cake are white and black. Pushing the cake through a grid of sharp blades at the end of a wooden box gives noodles, called shirataki, which are also sold in white and black colors.

The corm of the konjac is often colloquially referred to as a yam, although it bears no marked relation to tubers of the family Dioscoreaceae.

Konjac has known in Japan since the sixth century, as a medicinal food, and it has been eaten for 1500 years. In 1846, the publication of the book Konnyaku Hyakusen demonstrates its popularity in the Edo period.

Konjac is grown in China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and southeast Asia for its large starchy corms, used to create a flour and jelly of the same name. It is also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin.


In Japanese cuisine, konjac appears in dishes such as oden. It is typically mottled grey and firmer in consistency than most gelatins. It has very little taste; the common variety tastes vaguely like salt. It is valued more for its texture than flavor.

Ito konnyaku is a type of Japanese food consisting of konjac cut into noodle-like strips. It is usually sold in plastic bags with accompanying water. It is often used in sukiyaki and oden. The name literally means "thread-konjac".

Japanese konnyaku is made by mixing konjac flour with water and limewater. Hijiki is often added for the characteristic dark color and flavor. Without additives for color, konnyaku is pale white. It is then boiled and cooled to solidify. Konnyaku made in noodle form is called shirataki and used in foods such as sukiyaki and gyudon.

Konjac is consumed in parts of China's Sichuan province; the corm is called moyu, and the jelly is called "konjac tofu" or "snow konjac".

The dried corm of the konjac plant contains around 40% glucomannan gum. This polysaccharide makes konjac jelly highly viscous and may be responsible for many of its health benefits as used in traditional Chinese medicine, detoxification, tumour-suppression, blood stasis alleviation and phlegm liquefaction.

Konjac has almost no calories, but is very high in fiber. Thus, it is often used as a diet food. The dietary fiber from the root of Amorphophallus konjac is used as a component of weight loss supplements. Konjac supplementation at modest levels has been shown to promote increased butyric acid through improved bowel flora ecology and increase bowel movements in constipated adults.

Konjac can also be used for facial massage accessories which are currently popular in Korea.

The product Lipozene is made from the konjac root.

The Nutrition and Health Benefit of Konjac foods:

The Konjac root is highly rich in positive vitamins, minerals and fiber. Besides its most beneficial nutritional quality of being high in fiber, Konjac contains vitamins such as iron, potassium, phosphorous selenium and calcium. The root also contains many types of essential amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Konjac foods are an ideal food when it comes to satiety. Glucomannan will increase up to 200 times of its original volume after absorbing water. This leads to the sensation of feeling full after consuming Konjac derived foods. Konjac also has the function of supplementing calcium, balancing salinity, cleaning stomach, clearing up intestine, and removing toxin inside body. Konjac can delay the absorption of glucose, effectively reducing postprandial blood sugar.

The main ingredient of the Konjac root is glucomannan fiber. Glucomannan fiber not only contains more than 16 types of amino acids but is a low-protein, low-fat, high-fiber food. Thus, Konjac can lower LDL cholesterol and blood sugar. Not only do the nutritional benefits of Konjac foods assist in a positive diet, consuming this dietary fiber can help you lose weight.

Glucomannan fiber in Konjac has excellent diabetic supporting effects such as increasing insulin in the blood and lowering blood sugar. Medical studies have shown that glucomannan fiber can control, prevent and treat diabetes in some cases. Konjac glucomannan is the most viscous dietary fiber, which can enhance gastrointestinal viscosity and delay the retention time of chyme. Konjac glucomannan helps to form the protective film in the intestinal wall and effectively reduces and postpones the absorption of glucose, inhibiting rise of blood sugar. Konjac glucomannan can also reduce free fatty acid levels in the blood, improving insulin sensitivity while lowering glucose tolerance. Konjac foods is an ideal food for diabetics since it can lower blood sugar, improve symptoms and effectively control the conditions of diabetes.

Konjac root has a protein content about of approximately 5% to 10%. With a total of 16 kinds of amino acids, seven of the amino acids found in the Konjac root are essential amino acids, required by the human body since they cannot be produced internally. 

The Konjac root contains a number of essential minerals as well. Konjac root contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper.

On average, dried crude Konjac flour contains between 49% to 60% Glucomannan fiber as the main carbohydrate. The remaining carbohydrate includes 10% to 30% starch, 2% to 5% insoluble fiber, 5% to 14% crude protein, 3% to 5% sugars and 3% to 5.3 ash.

Konjac foods are alkaline food that provides several nutrients to the body. It contains water, protein, carbohydrate, lipids, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, pantothenate, niacin, fatty acids, folic acid and dietary fiber.

With the numerous positive health benefits of Konjac foods, it is no surprise that the demand for this noodle continues to increase.

The Health Benefits of Konjac Foods:

Medical research has shown that Konjac foods have many positive health benefits. Some of the benefits include: 

  • Control blood sugar levels
  • Reducing LDL cholesterol
  • Regulating the gastrointestinal tract
  • Weight Loss Properties
  • A Diabetic Friendly Food
  • Reducing Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • The Calcium Benefit of Konjac Foods
  • The Alkalinity of Konjac Foods
  • The Anti-Aging benefits of consuming Konjac Foods

After the Konjac fiber comes into contact with water in the stomach, the glucomannan fiber in the digestive tract helps to absorb bile acid. Contributing to the sensation of satiety, Konjac helps to achieve weight reduction when dieting. The glucomannan fiber also behaves as a prebiotic in the intestine for Lactobacillus bifidus growth.

Konjac fiber has very high water absorbent and expansion rate, it is very helpful for control blood sugar level, reduce cholesterol lever, weight loss.

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