Getting the right vitamins and minerals in one’s diet is extremely important — especially if you’re trying to manage your weight, or have a metabolic health condition like diabetes or high cholesterol. But we get it, eating enough of certain nutrients can be extremely difficult. Luckily, supplements like konjac can give us the nutritional boost we need to live a long, healthy life.
You may not have heard of the mighty konjac before now, but trust us, this herb packs a powerful nutritional punch. The konjac plant has a starchy root called a “corm” which manufacturers use to make flour, jelly, and supplements that can benefit our health in so many ways. In fact, it’s been used historically in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is often found in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Shirataki noodles, for example, are made from konjac flour.
How Konjac Benefits Your Health
Konjac is considered to be a nutritional powerhouse because it contains a high amount of soluble fiber in the form of glucomannan. In general, soluble fiber improves our health because it binds to excess cholesterol in the small intestine and helps to eliminate it from the body. On top of that, fiber slows down the digestive process, making it harder for the body to convert carbohydrates into glucose. In turn, this prevents blood sugar levels from spiking and helps insulin to work better.
Glucomannan from konjac has shown to have these effects on the body. One review of studies found that glucomannan supplements helped lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels. Glucomannan was also found to reduce body weight and fasting blood sugar in the same review, and the researchers concluded that glucomannan could be a beneficial complimentary therapy for people with diabetes or high cholesterol. Scientists from another study similarly found that glucomannan lowered LDL cholesterol, and recommended it as a preventative treatment for cardiovascular disease.
Interestingly, glucomannan from konjac may benefit those with diabetes in more ways than one. A 2015 review of studies found that taking glucomannan made people with diabetes less likely to eat foods that increased their blood sugar, as they reported feeling fuller for longer — an effect that’s typically found with high-fiber foods. Another study found that taking glucomannan along with American ginseng over a 12-week period significantly lowered blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood.
Now that you’re convinced of the magical healing powers of konjac glucomannan, you can start incorporating it by taking it in supplement form. We love this one from Nova Nutritions (Buy on Amazon, $9.99)! As always, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen. It’s also important to note that as with many fiber supplements, there is a small risk of bloating and digestive discomfort. That being said, start with a small dose to see how your body reacts.
So whether you’re trying to lose a little weight, manage your blood sugar, or lower your cholesterol levels, taking konjac glucomannan may be an ideal therapy option. Here’s to a healthier you!
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.