Benefits of Fox nuts or Makhanas

Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 12, 2020

When we think of healthy evening snacks, we at times run out of options. And then we grab fried snacks which are full of trans fats and sodium. Most people deliberately don’t choose fruits or other such healthy snacks because they don’t find it tasty. Thankfully, we have one healthy option which is tasty too. Enter – Makhana.

Makhanas are also known as lotus seeds or fox nuts. They are light, crunchy, tasty and above all very healthy. In India makhana is considered auspicious and offered to gods during special occasions. It is not just used to make different dishes, but it also offers a great value in the Asian medicine.

What makes makhanas so healthy?

Makhanas are known to be low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. Well, that’s not it! They are a good source of magnesium, manganese, thiamine, protein, potassium and phosphorous.
Nutrient value of 100 grams makhana:
Calories – 350
Carbs – 65 grams
Protein – 18 grams
Fat – 1.9 – 2.5 grams

Let us look at the benefits of makhanas in detail:

  1. Benefit in weight loss: Makhanas being low in calories and high in protein makes them an excellent choice for healthy snacks that helps in feeling full for long period of time. It has low glycemic index making it ideal for weight loss.
  2. Benefits to heart: High potassium levels in makhanas help reduce the blood pressure levels in hypertensive patients. The magnesium and folate nutrients in them help reduce heart diseases. Also, low sodium levels help keeping blood pressure in check.
  3. Benefits in anti-ageing: This advantage is one of the favorites in women. Makhanas contain enzymes which are known to block/slowdown the anti-ageing process. Other essential nutrients present in makhanas help rejuvenation of the skin.
  4. Benefits of calcium in makhanas: We are aware that calcium is beneficial to the bones of the body. Makhanas are rich source of calcium that makes your bones stronger and also is useful for people suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis. Including makhanas in your diet can help fulfill the recommended calcium requirement of the body.
  5. Benefits in anti-inflammatory properties: The flavonoids in makhanas help reduce inflammation in the body.
  6. Benefits in blood sugar levels: Makhanas being low in glycemic index help manage blood sugar levels. It is a healthy snack choice for people fighting with diabetes and obesity due to their low sodium and high magnesium content.
  7. Benefits to digestive system: Indigestion and constipation is mainly due to low fiber in diet. Makhanas come to rescue in this as well. They have high fiber content which help in regular bowel movements.
  8. Benefits in cognitive function: For sustaining the cognitive function of nerves thiamine is required. Makhanas have high content of thiamine.
  9. Benefits in detoxification: Makhanas play a crucial role in detoxification or cleaning of spleen.
  10. Benefits in insomnia: The anti-oxidants present in makhanas help reduce stress in the body and benefit in insomnia patients.

Side effects of makhanas

Although there are so many benefits of makhanas as discussed above, one should be cautious while consuming them to avoid certain side effects. As it is been said, consuming something healthy over the limits can also be harmful to the body.

  1. Having makhanas in excess can cause constipation, flatulence and bloating. Someone suffering from constipation should try avoiding eating makhanas.
  2. As mentioned, makhanas help lower blood sugar levels in the body. When someone is on insulin to get the diabetes in control, eating excess of makhanas tend to reduce the sugar levels further. Hence, it would be best to speak to your doctor before having them.
  3. People with allergies to lotus seeds/makhana should avoid them completely.

If one experiences discomfort on consuming makhanas it is best to speak to your doctor regarding the same.

Makhanas can be used in different recipes as per your taste. Just like popcorn one can roast the seeds with little ghee and add salt and other spices of your choice (turmeric, black pepper, oregano). One can also prepare makhana kheer and other deserts. Get innovative and prepare your own recipes with makhanas and enjoy their health benefits. Remember to consume within limits.