Also referred to as “Miracle Noodles,” shirataki noodles can be used in many traditional pasta dishes. In this article, you’ll learn about the health benefits of the konjac plant and why you should add shirataki noodles to your next shopping list.
Health Benefits Of Shirataki Noodles
Also known as elephant yam, the konjac root is native to various parts of Asia. This root vegetable is also a common ingredient in konjac jelly or noodles.
Konjac is not used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a herbal ingredient in formulations or remedies. However, the various health benefits of konjac consumption do align with TCM beliefs. For instance, TCM believes that konjac can neutralize toxins, help with phlegm, and dissipate swells, lumps, and clots. It can also help with indigestion, bruises, and burns.
The following is a list of health benefits of the konjac plant, which is what shirataki noodles are made from:
1. Helps Lower Cholesterol
The consumption of water-soluble fiber can help keep cholesterol levels under control. A 2017 meta-analysis shows that glucomannan — a type of soluble fiber found in konjac — can reduce LDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels in the body.
In fact, you can consume konjac alongside other TCM ingredients. A 2018 clinical study shows that a combination of konjac blend and American ginseng reduced the LDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also improves blood sugar control and potentially helps lower the risk of heart disease.
Cautions: Consult a TCM practitioner before taking this combination. “As with any food or herbs, you should consume konjac in moderation or sparingly depending on your body constitution and medical condition. Never self-diagnose and consume without professional guidance from a TCM physician,” notes Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew from Real Health Medical Clinic in Singapore.
“There is a TCM saying, 是药三分毒, that translates as ‘all medicines have their toxicity’. It aptly implies that all medicines, even those mild enough to be used as food, must be consumed with caution,” says TCM physician Yew. The same applies to food, as TCM believes that all foods have their own unique nature and properties, which can upset the bodily balance if not consumed in moderation.
2. Supports Digestive Health
A larger intake of glucomannan-rich foods like konjac jelly or noodles can help improve constipation in pregnant women. A 2018 study shows that 32 constipated pregnant women who consumed this fiber achieved better bowel movement and increased stool consistency, thus easing their discomfort.
In the same way, a compilation of clinical studies also show that glucomannan use contributed to an increase in the frequency of passing stools amongst 122 children.
3. Keeps Your Skin Healthy
Konjac is also known for its healing ability against hyperpigmentation, redness, and dry, itchy, or oily skin. This is because konjac is an abundant source of ceramides — also known as lipids — which play an essential role in preventing skin dryness and improving the conditions mentioned above. Applying konjac glucomannan hydrolysates on the skin effectively reduces infection in severe acne or pimples. It can reduce allergic response and improve
4. May Help You Lose Weight
Konjac-based foods are part of popular diet plans because glucomannan helps keep a person satiated for longer. Like all fibers, konjac achieves this by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties itself.
The inclusion of konjac rice, noodles, or jelly in well-rounded diet plans can increase the potential of losing weight. Eating konjac-based foods as snacks between main meals prevents unhealthy food binges.
Alternatively, consuming a nut mixture that includes almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds can help a person stay full for longer periods. It also provides an intake of protein and healthy fats.
Final Thoughts On Shirataki Noodles
TCM believes that konjac is bitter, cold, and pungent. According to Senior Physician Brandon Yew, “People with yang (warming energy) or qi (vital life energy) deficiency of the heart, lung, spleen and kidneys, excessive yin (bodily fluids and cooling energy), and cold pathogen must avoid consuming Konjac.”
The best ways to consume konjac is in the form of powder, noodles, and jelly. It should not be consumed raw due to its toxicity. This means, you should cook it thoroughly by boiling, frying, and steaming.
The consumption of konjac rice, noodles, jelly, or supplements can provide an array of health benefits. You can add them as part of your meal, to support a well-balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
To support a weight loss diet and suppress the absorption of carbs, you can also try a slimming drink made with green coffee bean extract, oat bran fiber, Garcinia and Hoodia.
- National Library of Medicine. 2017. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of the effect of konjac glucomannan, a viscous soluble fibre, on LDL cholesterol and the new lipid targets non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B.
- National Library of Medicine. 2018. Co-administration of a konjac-based fibre blend and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) on glycaemic control and serum lipids in type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled, cross-over clinical trial.
- National Library of Medicine. 2018. The effect of glucomannan on pregnancy constipation.
- National Library of Medicine. 2017. Effect of glucomannan on functional constipation in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
- BMC. 2020. Potential benefits of oral administration of AMORPHOPHALLUS KONJAC glycosylceramides on skin health – a randomised clinical study. [
- Scientific and Academic Publishing. 2013. The Use of Konjac Glucomannan Hydrolysates (GMH) to Improve the Health of the Skin and Reduce Acne Vulgaris.