The A-Z Of Indian Superfoods: Makhana

Appetising snack that is a superfood? It’s possible. Full of great nutrients, this Indian superfood can offer you a range of health perks as you indulge your munchies. Read on to learn more about the many benefits of makhana or fox nuts.

By Sahajiya Halder
26 Sep 2021

Celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor Khan and nutritionists such as Pooja Makhija have been talking about this snack that can satisfy your cravings and provide health benefits—the humble makhana. Makhana is a type of seed derived from the Euryale ferox plant of the water lily family. Also known as Gorgon nuts or fox nuts, makhana is grown mostly in India and East Asia. Makhana has been used in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine for issues such as diarrhoea, insomnia and kidney problems, and is also a part of rituals for occasions such as Navratri. Makhanas are enriched with carbohydrates, protein, as well as many useful micronutrients, making the hype as an emerging superfood well-deserved.


Benefits of Makhana

1.Has Antioxidant Properties
Makhana is full of a bunch of powerful antioxidants such as gallic acid and epicatechin, which aid in mitigating the damage caused by free radicals in your body, helping protect against chronic health issues such as cancer and type 2 diabetes. Antioxidants can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.


2. Can Promote Better Bone Health
The calcium content in makhanas help in contributing to stronger bones and teeth. One cup of makhana can offer about 41 mg of calcium.


3. Can Help In Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
Makhanas have a low glycemic index, so they do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar level after consumption. Moreover, some animal studies such as one published in Interdisciplinary Toxicology has suggested that extract from fox nuts can help in managing blood sugar.


4. Helps In Maintaining Cardiovascular Health
An article published in Biotica Research Today says that the magnesium and potassium present in fox nuts are beneficial for heart health, the former helping in maintaining cardiac function and the latter helping to control blood pressure. Makhana also has a role in controlling blood pressure because of its high potassium and low sodium content. It also has folate, which can help in protecting your heart health. A study in SpringerPlus showed that fox nut extract improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats.


5. Can Have Anti-Ageing Qualities
According to a review published in Advances in Plants & Agriculture Research, fox nuts have a host of beneficial amino acids, including glutamine, cystine, methionine, and arginine, which can stimulate collagen production, help in maintaining skin function, and contribute to firm skin. Moreover, fox nuts also have flavonoids called kaempferol and quercetin, which also can have anti-ageing properties.


6. Can Aid In Weight Loss
Makhanas have a significant quantity of protein, which can help to curb cravings. They are also rich in fibre, making them a filling food. Makhanas are low in calories, as well, and hence can be a good choice when you are reaching for a snack.


Ways To Include Makhana In Your Diet

1. Prepare a delicious snack by roasting the seeds and seasoning with spices of your choice, such as salt and pepper.

2. Use it to prepare curry.



3. Make makhana kheer using whole or ground fox nuts. Roast makhana in some ghee, then add whole or blended to some milk. Add sugar to taste, along with cardamom, and boil and stir the mixture until it thickens. Garnish with chopped nuts and raisins.

4. Use makhana in your bhel puri recipe instead of puffed rice.

5. Caramelise makhana with some jaggery.

6. Add it to your raita.


Things To Keep In Mind
Makhana is generally safe when eaten in moderation. Some individuals may be allergic to fox nuts. Excessive consumption over a prolonged period of time could lead to digestive issues and may impact the effect of insulin in transporting glucose. It is also prudent to consult your doctor and adhere to the recommended quantity of makhana to be consumed in case of pregnancy.


The above information has been verified by Dr Lakshmi K, Ph.D Food Science & Nutrition, University of Georgia (USA), Head Nutritionist, URLife


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