Makhana is a high value aquatic cash crop and traditional Indian snack. It grows in stagnant perennial water bodies.
Makhana has been widely used in traditional oriental medicine to treat a variety of ailments including kidney problems, chronic diarrhea, excessive leukorrhea, and hypofunctioning spleen. Moreover, it is rapidly emerging as a super food globally due to its rich medicinal values and mineral content.
Makhanas are rich in nutrients and are a very potent source of manganese, potassium, magnesium, thiamin, protein and phosphorus. Additionally, raw and fried Makhana is rich in essential amino acids.
Lightly roasted makhanas are a great teatime snack and a perfect tiffin option for kids. In India, people prepare dishes such as kheer, curry, raita and cutlets using makhanas.
Many people use makhanas in religious rituals and as an offering to God. As one travels through the country, the variation in the consumption and use of makhanas is visible. For example, in North Bihar, people eat the seeds in burst form, while in Manipur, people cook the Makhana leaves and stem and enjoy them in a vegetable curry.
There are different grades of Makhanas available in the market. The quality of Makhana depends on the size and color of the lava. After polishing, there are 2-3 grades of Makhana, namely Lawa or Rasgulla, Murra or Samundha and Thurri. The health benefits and nutritional value of makhanas make them a popular choice for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Origin of Makhana (fox nut)
In India, the state of Bihar is the largest producer of makhanas. Makhanas are derived from lotus seeds. Lotus develops seed pods and each pod contains about 20 seeds which mature in 40 days.
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The seeds are then dried and roasted over high heat. The outer black shell breaks open and the white puffs come out. These seeds are what we call makhanas.
What makes Makhana so popular?
Makhanas/Fox nuts have become extremely popular in recent years due to their high nutritional value. Many celebrities have also talked about fox nuts and why they include them in their diet.
International stars eat them for lunch or as a post-workout snack for an energy boost. This led to a sudden increase in the popularity of the makhana.
Makhana is also easily accessible and a great snack option. Low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, it’s a great option for snacking and maintaining an ideal weight.
They are easy to carry, are a perfect Tiffin option, a great snack to curb cravings, and are very tasty. They are also surprisingly easy to prepare and a delicious dish can be whipped up in a jiffy.
The Makhanas were extremely underrated before. Makhana has grown in popularity in recent years as people have become more health conscious.
Now people are returning to the once forgotten snack for its nutritional value. Supermarkets are also full of different variations of makhanas. Their high fiber content makes them an ideal snack for an instant energy boost during fasts.
Is it good for vegans?
Veganism is a growing trend not only in the West but also in India now. Veganism excludes all food products of animal origin such as meat, dairy products, fish, eggs, etc.
A vegan diet is also called a plant-based diet. Although veganism is a great choice, vegans often fall short of their daily nutritional needs. However, they are often deprived of essential vitamins, minerals and proteins in their diet.
This can lead to long-term deficiency-related health problems. This is where the makhanas can come to fill the need.
Makhanas are loaded with phosphorus, protein, calcium, magnesium, fiber, zinc, etc. They are a perfect choice for a vegan lifestyle. Unlike common ingredients like barley and wheat, they are also gluten-free.
Vegans often have to look around to find the perfect snack option. Makhana is a great vegan snack for those untimely hunger pangs. These low-calorie nuts are a great option for guilt-free eating.
Makhanas Nutrition Facts
Makhanas are rich in fiber, which helps keep the excretory tract healthy. It also contains potassium which helps balance cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. Fox nuts, although small, are a nutrient powerhouse.
Snacking on them can bring you incredible health benefits, like beautiful skin, controlled weight, good heart health, hormonal balance, and more.
100 grams of Makhana contain:
- Calories: 347
- Protein: 9.7g
- Fats: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 76.9g
- Fiber: 14.5g
- Total lipids (fats): 0.1 g
- Calcium: 60mg
- Iron: 1.4mg
11 Proven Health Benefits of Makhana
1. Maintains Kidney Health
Makhana ensures kidney health by controlling blood flow and regulating urination.
They detoxify and cleanse the spleen. It helps to eliminate all toxins from the body.
2. Healthy Heart
Makhana are rich in vital elements nutrients such as magnesium, protein, calcium and carbohydrates.
Fox nuts are also low in sodium and fat, which helps regulate blood pressure.
3. Detoxifies the liver
Our liver detoxifies our body by eliminating all waste products.
Makhanas help the liver function properly and improve metabolism.
4. Good for diabetic patients
Makhana helps regulate blood sugar levels.
They have low caloric and glycemic indexes, which helps diabetic patients maintain their sugar levels.
5. Make bones strong
Makhana are rich in calcium. Calcium improves bone and cartilage health, lubricates bones and joints, and prevents degenerative bone disease.
Consume fox nuts daily with milk to improve your bone health and density.
6. Weight loss
Makhana are low in cholesterol and calories and therefore aid you maintain the perfect weight.
Unlike other fried or packaged snacks, fox nuts do not aggravate weight issues.
7. Hormone balance
Makhana helps maintain hormonal balance in your body.
During menstruation, makhanas help control these cravings and prevent overeating. They also help to deal with premenstrual symptoms.
8. Keeps the Digestive System Healthy
Our body needs fiber for proper digestion. Makhanas are rich in fiber, which ensures the proper functioning of the digestive system.
If you suffer from digestive issues like constipation or hard stools, include fox nuts in your daily diet.
9. Good for fertility
Makhanas maintain hormonal balance in our body.
They are excellent for female fertility and ensure the proper functioning of all female reproductive organs. Regular consumption of makhanas improves the reproductive health of women.
10. Prevents Inflammation
Makhanas has a compound called ‘kaempferol’ which helps to minimize inflammation in the body.
Regular use of fox nuts can help cure inflammation.
11. Prevents Aging
Makhana are loaded with antioxidants and amino acids, which prevent early aging.
The antioxidants present in makhanas help keep the skin healthy and glowing.
Makhana Healthy Recipes
Recipe 1 – Spicy Makhana
This is a quick and easy recipe to satisfy those sudden cravings. All the ingredients for this recipe are readily available from us at any time. This is a great option for an evening teatime snack.
- Makhanas – 3 cups
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Chaat Masala- 1 tsp
- Black pepper – ½ tsp
- Ghee- 1 tbsp
- Heat some ghee and roast the nuts for about 10-12 minutes on low heat. Keep stirring.
- Add all the spices. Turn off the flame.
- If needed, add more Chaat Masala. Mix well.
- Store in a tightly closed box
Recipe 2 – Makhana Tikki
Makhanas taste great with anything. This is a perfect recipe to serve your guests. It adds a perfect twist to the traditional aloo tikki and is much healthier.
- Medium potatoes – 2 cooked and mashed
- Fox nuts – 1 cup
- Green peppers – 2, finely chopped
- Roasted peanuts – 2 tbsp, coarsely crushed
- Coriander leaves – a handful, finely chopped
- Fennel seed powder – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala Powder – 1 tsp
- Chaat Masala – 1 tsp
- Cooking oil – 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Salt to taste
- Dry the fox nuts roasted in ghee until crispy. Coarsely grind them.
- Put the coarsely ground Makhanas, mashed potatoes and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
- Mix well. Adjust the salt and spices to your taste.
- Make round or oval patties. Fry in a non-stick pan or bake until both sides are golden brown.
- Serve with ketchup or pudina chutney.
Recipe 3 – Healthy Makhana Chaat
This is a healthy version of chaat without oil. It’s a quick and easy recipe that can be prepared in just 15 minutes. Experiment with the ingredients of your choice and create your own version of this recipe.
- Onion – 1 chopped
- Plain yogurt – 1 cup
- Pomegranate seeds – 1/2 cup
- Black pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
- Raisins – a handful
- Roasted cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander leaves – a handful – chopped
- Lemon juice – 1 tsp (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Soak the Makhanas in water for 5-10 minutes.
- Squeeze out the water and put it in a bowl.
- Add all the ingredients to the bowl.
- Mix well.
- Add the raisins at the end.
Makhanas are a complete snack. They are packed with essential nutrients and provide great health benefits. These little nuts are an amazing snack option and perfect for satisfying midday cravings. Although makhanas are great, there are potential side effects like allergies, gastrointestinal issues, etc. If you are someone with a sensitive stomach, be a bit careful when consuming too much makhanas.
Do not substitute makhanas for your main meals in order to lose weight quickly. Losing or gaining weight depends on your general lifestyle. Eat fox nuts but in moderation. Exercise regularly and be active.
Makhanas are great to experiment with and you might end up creating the perfect snack recipe for yourself. By eating makhanas, you will not only improve your health, but you will also support the local farmers of the country involved in the cultivation of makhanas.
Makhana – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. What are the health benefits of makhana?
A. Makhanas are full of health benefits. The sodium and potassium content helps regulate hypertension and high blood pressure. Makhanas are high in protein and promote feelings of fullness for longer periods. Makhana is also low in calories. This combination makes it ideal for snacking. The fiber content of makhana contributes to digestive health. The antioxidants and amino acids they contain prevent premature aging. Makhanas also regulate hormonal imbalance.
Q. How do I store makhana?
A. Airtight containers are ideal for storing makhanas. They keep air out, keeping the nuts fresh. Place containers in a cool, dry place. Do not expose the makhana to direct sunlight for too long. A good trick to prolong the life of these nuts is to roast them. Storing roasted nuts can guarantee its flavor. This prevents makhanas from quickly becoming obsolete.
What is makhana aid in digestion?
A. Makhanas contain a significant amount of fiber in their nutrient profile. Fiber-rich foods promote digestive health and help regulate bowel movements. This prevents bloating and stomach cramps. Makhana contains antioxidants which also aid in digestion. Regular consumption can also prevent swallowing and constipation.
Q. Why are makhanas so popular?
A. Makhanas owes its popularity to its immense health benefits. It is famous in India as a fasting food. Makhana is an important ingredient in many dishes. It is one of the healthiest snacks to snack on. The low calorie and high protein content is a rare combination to find. Apart from this, ancient medicinal practices praise makhanas.
What is makhana help lose weight?
A. Makhanas are low in calories and are a rich source of protein and fiber. This combination makes it an ideal snack choice. The protein content gives a feeling of satiety for longer durations and prevents overeating. Adding makhanas to your regular diet can speed up weight loss.