Konjac is a plant found in the warm subtropical and tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China to Indonesia. Konjac flour or Glucomannan is a natural, odorless soluble fiber that is found in the konjac plant. It has been known in Japan since the sixth century as a medicinal food, and it has been eaten for 1,500 years.
It has the highest density and strongest viscosity of any dietary fiber in nature. It absorbs 10 times as much water as cornstarch, but it is a soluble fiber which does not contain starch and sugar. It has almost no calories, but is very high in fiber, therefore it is often used as a diet food.
Health Benefits of Konjac:
- It is gluten-free, making it the perfect substitute in cooking and baking when flour and other glutinous starches must be avoided
- Its root is highly rich in positive vitamins, minerals and fiber.It is rich in iron, potassium, phosphorous selenium and calcium.
- It can delay the absorption of glucose, effectively reducing postprandial blood sugar.
- It can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- It promotes weight loss, with the sensation of feeling full after consuming Konjac derived foods.
- The soluble fiber in Konjac absorbs water, softens digestive contents and increases stool volume.
In the kitchen:
- It has about ten times the thickening power of cornstarch. When using konjac flour for thickening, always mix it with a small amount of liquid (cold water, stock, wine, etc.) till smooth, then add this mixture to the food that you want to thicken. It can be used as a thickener for smooth gravies, sauces, glazes, soups, stews and casseroles. It is also used for pies, puddings, custards and cake fillings.
- Konjac flour thickens nicely when heated to boiling temperature, so it usually works well for savory sauces.
- It is also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin.
- It can be used as extra fiber and also as a thickener in low carb diet recipes.
- If you have not used konjac flour as a thickening agent before, it is best to experiment with smaller amounts first and adding more until you reach the desired consistency.
Konjac is not known to have undesirable side effects when used in food preparation or when taken as a nutritional supplement. Konjac absorbs large quantities of water, helping to give weight-loss candidates a feeling of fullness and thus reducing their appetite for more food. If the fiber becomes lodged in the esophagus before it reaches the stomach, its intended destination, then it can become a choking hazard, particularly as it swells with any liquid it may pick up.
For safety, never eat Konjac flour without a lot of water! Always mix it with some kind of liquid before!
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