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Makhanas, the snack made from lotus seeds, has become popular in the last five years or so. Makhana as a superfood is quickly making a name for itself as an FMCG product, due to its innumerable health properties. It is considered a healthier alternative to sugary snacks.

Makhanas are popular since they can be consumed as ready-to-eat snack food by people of all age groups. Makhana is popular in India, china, Japan and Thailand.

Traditionally, fox nuts were also known as lotus seeds. In Hindi, it was called phool makhana because of its distinct flowery appearance. Makhana is popped lotus seed and is considered a substitute for popcorn. To elaborate, it is the edible starchy kernel found inside the lotus seed. Popped makhana is readily available in the market, in plain and flavoured forms.

Lotus seeds have been used as a functional food and as medicine since ancient times all over Asia due to its ability to prevent several diseases. The lotus seed may be small in size but packs in several health benefits. The seeds can be consumed in raw, roasted or ground forms. They can be boiled into a syrup or paste after being peeled.

Makhana is only a snack, not a meal. It has to be eaten in moderation.

While fasting, dry or ghee-roasted makhana can be a tasty, yet healthy alternative to sabudana and potato fries.

Roasted lotus seeds are consumed while fasting during Navratri as they are nutritive and possess many health benefits. While fasting, dry or ghee-roasted makhana can be a tasty, yet healthy alternative to sabudana and potato fries.

In its original form, makhana has a bland taste and takes on the flavour of the dish you add it to. This is the reason it is used in several Indian foods and sweet dishes like makhana Kheer, khoya makhana, makhana raita, makhana halwa, and so on. Makhana paste is highly popular in countries like China and Japan, where it is widely used in pastries and desserts.

Bihar alone accounts for 90% of India’s makhana production in our country.

(Photo Credit : Pixabay)

The lotus extracts that are obtained from the different parts of this water plant such as the stem, roots, leaves, and most importantly its seeds are all healthy. The lotus seed is also used as a dry powder in bread dough to improve bread’s functional aspects.

Makhanas are an excellent option as an alternative protein source that is gluten free. Scientists have tried adding lotus stem powder to sausage to boost the fiber content. Further, lotus seeds are an outstanding prospective pharmaceutical and nutraceutical material. It can be ground together with pulses and soybeans and used.

As a traditional medicinal component, the lotus seed is used in the treatment of inflammation, cancer, diuretics, and skin diseases and for treating many ailments, including insomnia, palpitations, poor digestion, chronic diarrhoea, enteritis, and cancer. Nutritionally it has a solid content of carbohydrate, protein, vitamins including vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin A and E, and other essential minerals like magnesium, potassium and sodium. Lotus seeds also contain abundant amounts of phytochemicals, with valuable anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant traits.

The properties that are found in lotus seeds differentiate them heavily from any other regular nuts and seeds. The high magnesium levels paired with the low sodium levels make them an excellent choice for anyone who suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. Makhanas are rich in protein and carbohydrate and are in low glycemic index. The glycemic index of makhanas is lower than that of several staple foods. Consuming makhana limits the rise in blood sugar levels after food.

Lotus seeds contain magnesium and folate that help to improve heart function The embryo of the lotus seed helps to reduce high blood pressure as it has a bitter taste and cooling properties which is good for the heart. Their decent calcium levels make them perfect for strengthening the bones.

The high fibre content in makhanas helps improve one’s digestive health, bowel movement and treat diarrhea.

The lotus seeds have a calming and natural sedative property which can cure people with sleeping disorders, restlessness, and laziness. The high fibre content in makhanas helps improve one’s digestive health, bowel movement and treat diarrhea.

Soak lotus seeds in warm water for a few hours and then add rock sugar. This makes for a natural remedy for diarrhea but also keeps constipation at bay.

Makhanas are enriched with the goodness of antioxidants, which further helps in relieving chronic inflammation, early ageing and stress. They also help in the prevention of excessive and frequent urination. Do not consume it as a fried snack though.

(Photo Credit : Roasted phool makhana chaat by Jeyashri Suresh- Flickr)

Makhana are loaded with astringent properties and can effectively help in aiding kidney related issues. They help to detox the spleen. Makhana or fox nuts are a great source of selenium, which helps the thyroid function properly.

How much makhana to eat in a day for weight loss?
One can have 30g of makhana. A handful is considered a safe bet. Make sure to add spices like pepper and turmeric that aid weight loss to your own recipes of makhana.

When to eat makhana for weight loss?
One can have makhana during snack time. One bowl of plain roasted makhana will have approximately 106 calories.

Is makhana easy to digest?
Lotus seeds contain antioxidants which makes it an easy to digest food. People from all age groups can digest makhana without any problems. However, refrain from consuming a lot of makhana in one day. 

How do makhana aid in weight loss?
Makhanas are a rich source of proteins and carbohydrates and are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. The nutritional profile of makhana aids in weight loss by helping one stay full longer after eating.

Makhana have a detoxifying effect on the liver and boost metabolism, which helps with losing extra weight. For best results, pair makhanas with a healthy diet and exercise. Stick to your regular meals and avoid crash diets for healthy weight loss.

Final Thoughts – However popping a lotus seed supplement needs the advice of a healthcare professional first, as the safety and their side effects remain largely unknown. That said, using lotus in cooking is generally considered safe.

Lotus seeds can be allergic to some. Lotus seeds and the powder residues are usually well-tolerated by most people in minute doses. In some cases, it triggers gut problems like indigestion, constipation and stomach cramps .

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