If you’re looking for a guilt-free snack for the summer, look no further than Twinkle Khanna’s unique gluten-free Makhana recipe.
Earlier this year, Twinkle Khanna’s digital media company, Tweak India, designed a 21-day fitness challenge (called #21Tweaks) for people who were willing to make small changes to their daily habits to ease into a healthy lifestyle.
From healthy diet changes to mindfulness meditation techniques to workout hacks, the 21-day challenge covered all things fitness and wellness.
As part of this challenge, Twinkle Khanna shared her family-favorite Makhana recipe, which is the perfect healthy snack for evening tea breaks and midnight munchies.
Take ghee or oil in a hot pan, add rai, curry leaves, green chilies and then add the makhana.
Stir it continuously till it gets a golden color.
Mix it thoroughly and transfer to a bowl or plate and serve hot.
That’s it — your delicious and healthy makhana snack is ready. Enjoy it with tea, a smoothie, or any other healthy drink.
In her Instagram post, Twinkle Khanna acknowledged makhana’s health benefits. Since makhana is low on cholesterol, saturated fats, and is a gluten-free source of healthy carbs and iron, it makes for a perfect tea-time snack. It can even satisfy your midnight cravings.
So replace all the unhealthy snacks in your kitchen with healthy and gluten-free makhana. If you don’t have time to cook, order our ready-to-eat flavored Nummy makhana today. It’s available in three flavors — Cheesy, Tangy, and Spicy.
Whether you’re on a long hiking trip, or just spending time at home it’s often said that nuts are the undisputed snack companions. They are filling, healthy, tasty, and just munching on them is always a treat all on its own. Nuts are also a versatile ingredient when it comes to crafting up unique recipes that are sure to satisfy anyone’s palate.
One particular peanut variant has been growing a steady amount of interest from health-conscious individuals – the Makhanasor fox nuts as they’re more commonly called.
What Are Makhanas?
Makhanas are seeds of the lotus flower, the Euryale ferox, which is a type of watering plant classified in the water lily family. These plants usually grow in the stagnant water of wetlands or ponds in East Asia.
These edible seeds have become quite a staple in Indian cuisine, and they have also been used in ancient Chinese medicines. Thus, proving once more the sheer versatility of nuts in any shape or form.
Makhanas are highly produced in the state of Bihar in India, as well as other Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. A few parts of Eastern Russia have also cultivated these edible seeds, and they’ve been reaping all the fantastic health benefits.
Health Benefits of Makhanas
Makhanas are known for the many health benefits that they bring. They are commonly consumed when fasting due to their nutritional value. The nuts are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium making them the ideal snack to satisfy one’s hunger pangs.
The delightfully munchy Makhanas are a popular aid in weight loss due to their low caloric content. The nuts are also a good source of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, manganese, and phosphorus.
Not only are they delicious, the nuts can be consumed just for its health benefits alone. A few of these health benefits include:
Saturated fat is one of the many culprits of unwanted weight gain, coupled with high caloric content and the potential for overeating. There are various food items today that contain a mishmash of the bad stuff, which is why it is important to keep an eye on everything you consume when trying to lose weight.
Fortunately, Makhana is a superfood for weight loss. These nuts are low in calories and contain negligible amounts of saturated fat, which make them a great snack option when trying to stay fit and healthy. Moreover, Makhanas contain sufficient amounts of protein that can help one stay full for longer periods of time.
Makhanas contain a certain anti-aging enzyme that helps repair damaged proteins. The regular consumption of these nuts aids in the fight against free radicals.
They contain a natural flavonoid called kaempferol which helps slow down the aging process. Kaempferol greatly assists in the aging process by slowing down the signs of aging such as wrinkles, grey hair, and hair loss.
The nuts also contain detoxifying agents that help flush out all the toxins from the body. Makhanas play an essential role in helping the detoxification of blood by cleaning out the spleen. Their antioxidant properties are essential health benefits that consumers could definitely leverage.
Lowers Health Risks of Various Diseases
Due to their high magnesium and low sodium content, Makhanas can be beneficial to those who are suffering fromhigh blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Since they are rich in good carbohydrates and protein, they are great inclusions to a strict diet. Makhanas are low glycemic foods that can play a significant role in managing one’s blood sugar levels.
Makhanas have a lower glycemic index compared to other staple foods making them a snack you can keep having if you need to watch your sugar levels. The correct preparation of this highly nutritional snack also plays an important role towards delivering the right nutrients to its consumers.
Makhana Recipes to Try
Munching on Makhanas is fun and healthy, but theycan also be used as an ingredient for delightful dishes. It must be noted though that preparing Makhana the right way is vital for maximizing its potential health benefits. Here are several recipes that you can try for yourself to elevate the Makhanafood experience:
Dry Roasted Makhana: In a non-stick pan or griddle, placeMakhanas and roast on a low flame until they appear slightly brown. Moderate the flame as necessary, but do not burn the nuts. Once the nuts are roasted, transfer in an air-tight jar and store in a dry place.
Makhanas Roasted With Ghee/Coconut Oil: For individuals who are not averse to a little bit of healthy fat, ghee or coconut oil can be added to the pan before roasting Makhana. Salt and chaat masala could also be added, but make sure to avoid adding too much of these artificial flavorings.
Sugar-Free Makhana Kheer:For individuals with a sweet tooth, Makhanas can also be prepared as a dessert. Dry roast the fox nuts until crisp, once dried the nuts should be cooled before blended coarsely in a grinder. Boil milk in a deep non-stick pan. Add dates and the coarsely crushed Makhanas once the milk boils. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and cook on a medium flame for about two to five minutes while stirring occasionally.
Makhana Raita:In a pan, dry roast the Makhanas for five minutes until they are crisp. Cool the nuts and store in a ziplock bag. Once stored, roll a rolling pin over the bag until all of the nuts are crushed but not powdered. Whisk yogurt in a bowl until smooth, and add chaat masala, salt, and the crushed Makhanas. Stir the mixture and serve with coriander leaves as garnish.
Makhana Curry: Boil onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and cashews in a cup of water for five minutes. Grind to a fine paste once the mixture cools down. Dry roast Makhanas for five minutes until they are crisp. In a non-stick pan, heat ghee and add cloves, cardamom, cumin, and cinnamon. Once the cumin crackles, add the paste and cook for five more minutes while stirring in between.
Add masalas, and saute for one minute. Add a cup of water and let the mixture boil. Add the curd and whisk the entire time. Add the Makhanas and cook for two minutes while stirring. Only stop stirring once the gravy is absorbed, add more water if necessary. Finally, add garam masala and coriander leaves. Serve the dish hot.
Over to You
Makhanas are indeed versatile and healthy nuts that are incredibly easy to incorporate to a lifestyle. Not only is this snack enjoyable to consume by itself, there are also various delicious ways to prepare it.
If you need a guilt-free snack that provides many health benefits, this superfood should become a staple in your pantry. You can find it in most vegetarian shops or you can order Makhanas online from a direct seller.
Try out the recipes we’ve suggested or get creative! The possibilities are endless, and trying Makhanas could be the best health decision you’ll make for yourself.
The Makhana wave has started, and the superfood is quickly making a name for itself as an FMCG product.
The super nutritious snack that once used to go unnoticed on the supermarket aisles is now grabbing the attention of India’s health-conscious folks.
Why is this shift happening?
It turns out that Makhanas (also called lotus seeds, water lily seeds, and fox nuts) are not only tasty but have several health benefits. Here are a few Makhana benefits you should know:
As you can see, one of the Makhana health benefits is “Weight Loss.”
Although using Makhana for weight loss is still a foreign idea to most people, the awareness is growing as more and more celebrities, and dieticians are recommending the healthy snack to the masses.
When a fitness icon and celebrity like Kareena Kapoor Khan swears by the health benefits of Makhanas, health buffs are bound to go bonkers over it. The actress grabbed a lot of media attention for her post-pregnancy transformation and also revealed in an interview that adding makhanas to her diet helped her shed weight and retain her glow.
If you’re someone who is trying to lose weight and are not sure how to use this newfound tool in your arsenal, we’ve got some tasty recipes to get you started.
But before that, let’s find out how makhanas can help you lose weight.
Is Makhana Good for 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.
Makhanas are especially helpful in dealing with untimely hunger pangs and are a great alternative to oily and processed snacks.
You might ask, “What about the calories?”
One of the reasons why Makhanas are a popular tea-time snack in the country is that they are low in calories. One cup of plain roasted makhanas (a 32 g serving) only adds up to 106 calories.
Makhanas have a detoxifying effect on the liver and boost metabolism, which helps with losing extra weight.
According to a study published by PubMed Central, Lotus seed has the potential to be developed as an effective agent against obesity-related diseases. While they aid in weight loss, researchers are also beginning to see that a Lotus seeds diet may slow down the process of weight gain for those who indulge in a high-fat diet.
How to Eat Makhana for Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, Makhanas work best when consumed as a midday snack.
Untimely hunger pangs pose a big threat to our weight loss goals as we are prone to binging on oily and processed snacks at such times.
Preparing and storing a batch of roasted makhanas at home is a low-calorie, highly nutritious alternative over the fried chips and pakodas.
Here are the 3 best makhana recipes for weight loss.
1. Ghee Roasted Makhana
Place your Makhanas in a non-stick pan and dry roast them on low flame.
Keep roasting until the soft spongy makhanas turn crisp and reveal shades of brown. This might take about 7 to 8 minutes.
Once ready, switch off the flame and let the makhanas cool.
Now, add two teaspoons of ghee or olive oil (depending on your choice) to a separate hard bottomed pan.
When the ghee melts, add a pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper.
Mix the ingredients well before adding the makhanas so that the flavours stick on well and are evenly distributed. You can add white sesame seeds for extra crunchiness.
Load the dry roasted makhanas into the pan and toss them on low flame. Do this until you feel that all the flavours have mixed well.
The yummy Ghee Roasted Makhana is now ready. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container for daily use.
2. Healthy Makhana Chivda
Add two teaspoons of ghee to a hard bottom pan. Then add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, some finely chopped green chilies, and some curry leaves.
Stir them for a minute and add a few peanuts.
Once the ingredients are fried well, top the mixture with some chana dal, red chillies, and cashews. You can also add dried coconut if you don’t mind the flavor.
Keep tossing until they are fried well.
Add salt and turmeric depending on your taste. The mixture is now ready to load the dry roasted makhanas.
Mix and roast the makhanas until they are well coated with the masala. Once done, allow it to cool and then transfer them into an airtight container for future use.
3. Mint Flavored Makhana
This is a refreshing snack for your body during the summer.
Start as stated in the earlier recipes. Once the ghee melts, add some curry leaves and pumpkin seeds and stir until they are fried well. Then, add a pinch of rock salt (or table salt) and pepper for flavoring.
Roasted makhanas are now added to the pan and topped with herbs of choice.
Finally, add a teaspoon of mint (pudina) powder and mix the ingredients until the flavors are evenly distributed.
Your refreshing mint makhana is now ready for use.
You can customize the recipes by blending roasted makhanas with herbs and spices of your choice.
If you are more into sweets, choosing jaggery based makhana sweets is a good option over sugar based ones.
For best results, pair Makhanas with a healthy diet and exercise. Stick to your regular meals and avoid crash diets for healthy weight loss.
As the saying goes, “Too much of anything is too bad.” Refrain from overconsumption as it may cause allergies and gastrointestinal issues.
When consumed in the right quantity and right manner, makhana can be your best weight loss companion.
So how are you planning on using Makhana in your weight loss journey? Please do share with us in the comments below.
What comes to your mind when you think of superfoods?
Unlike what they sound, superfoods are not artificial foods that impart superhuman strength to people. The origin of the term ‘superfoods’ has no scientific background. It is mainly a marketing term that came to life considering the growing interest of the people in health and wellness.
So what are superfoods? Superfoods are nutrient-rich, natural ingredients that provide greater health benefits over other foods. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients that help the body. In simple words, superfoods offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimum calories.
Due to extensive research on the subject, the list of superfoods keeps changing every year. While most of them rave about western foods such as kale, blueberry, and avocados, there are several lesser-known alternatives that are commonly available in India.
Long before the idea of superfoods hit us, our grandmothers knew exactly what was healthy and beneficial for our health. Several conventional Indian foods have been in use for thousands of years because of their impressive nutritional profile and therapeutic benefits.
Before we take a look at them, let’s understand how including superfoods in our diet can help us.
Benefits of Superfoods
The emergence of chronic diseases has forced us to take a hard look at our dietary patterns. Studies show that along with elevating our overall health, superfoods can protect us against degenerative diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.
When consumed along with a balanced diet, superfoods improve heart health and promote weight loss. They act against bad bacteria and have antioxidant properties that slow down aging.
Superfoods are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that is lacking in most diets today. Including them in the diet helps reach the daily recommended value of fiber and keeps digestive problems at bay.
Consuming superfoods is a great way to fill the nutritional gap caused by our modern-day busy lifestyle and live through the day with energy and vitality.
5 Commonly Found Indian Superfoods to Include in Your Diet
1. Makhana or Lotus Seeds
Makhanas or lotus seeds, which are the popped seeds of water lily plants, are now gaining popularity for their health and weight-loss benefits. The small puffed balls are low in fat and are rich sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber; a combination that is helpful for weight loss and better digestion.
Makhanas are a great addition to mineral-deficient diets as they carry abundant amounts of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. This comes with a plethora of health benefits such as good heart health, anti-aging, reducing inflammation, diabetes control, relieving infertility, and maintaining healthy kidneys and spleen.
When researchers used crushed fox nuts to substitute all-purpose flour to prepare cookies, they found that the cookies had lower moisture and fat content. Fox Nut flour is a gluten-free and healthier option over refined flour and it’s long term health benefits cannot be overruled.
How to include Makhana in your diet?
Dried Lotus seeds can be soaked overnight and added to soups, salads, curries, and other dishes. For weight loss, replace chips with healthy roasted makhanas as they are low in calories and help satiate hunger pangs.
2. Ghee or Clarified Butter
Wait, ghee? Isn’t ghee supposed to make us fat?
Ghee has been used in Ayurveda for over a thousand years for its therapeutic properties. In the olden days, ghee was predominantly used as a base for administering herbal remedies for various ailments.
Earlier ghee was suspected to be a reason for bad cholesterol and heart problems. But extensive scientific research indicates that moderate consumption of ghee does not show any harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels.
A baffling study on a rural population in India showed a significantly lower prevalence of coronary heart disease in men who consumed higher amounts of ghee. Moreover, the consumption of ghee led to significant improvements in patients with psoriasis symptoms.
These positive research findings support the beneficial effects of ghee outlined in the ancient Ayurvedic texts and makes it worthy of the coveted ‘superfood’ title.
How to include ghee in your diet?
1 or 2 tbsp of ghee is considered a healthy serving for the day. Consuming 1 tbsp ghee on an empty stomach is soothing for the body and helps in cell rejuvenation and healing. Ghee can also be added to your breakfast and meals to reap its benefits.
3. Amla or Gooseberry
Like Ghee, Amla is an old player in the Ayurvedic space. The word Amla is derived from the Sanskrit word “amlaki” which means “the sustainer”.
Amla is used in the two most popular Ayurvedic formulas “Triphala” and “Chyawanprash”. While Triphala detoxifies and nourishes the body, Chyavanprash is known to rejuvenate and strengthen it. Amla is rich in vitamin C and other vital vitamins that are important to our nervous system, immune system, skin, and hair.
An interesting study shows how amla can be beneficial in weight loss. Among two groups of test subjects, one group was served 60 kCals of amla for evening snack and the other group was served sweets of the same calories. It was observed that the subjects who consumed amla ate less food at night as compared to the group that had sweets.
How to include Amla in your diet?
If you don’t mind the sourness, it is best to eat them raw. You can also add amla to fruit salads and cereals so that the taste blends well. Other popular options are sun-dried amla candy, amla juice, amla pickle, and chutney.
The food that is commonly available is also one that is easily sidelined. Coconut is an unsung hero that has been silently saving millions of lives around the world.
An excerpt from NDTV clearly states the connection between coconut oil and heart health. Until the 1980s, despite large amounts of coconut consumption, heart disease rate in Sri Lanka was the lowest in the world i.e. only 1 out of every 10,000 was suffering from a heart condition. Over the past decade, heart disease rates have gone up as coconut oil is replaced by refined vegetable oil.
Besides improving heart health, coconut kills disease-causing bacteria, helps diabetics by slowing down sugar release into the bloodstream and boosts body metabolism. This superfood also carries the potential to prevent strokes and brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
How to include Coconuts in your diet?
Coconut water is a tasty and nutrient-rich alternative over sugary drinks. Try replacing refined sugar with coconut sugar for its health benefits. Coconut milk and virgin coconut oil can be added to curries and sweets. Other options include desiccated coconut (naariyal buraada), coconut chips, and spreads. You would want to consume coconut-based products in moderation to keep the calorie count under control.
If you are looking for a better alternative over quinoa, millets are your best bet. Thanks to the superfood bandwagon, people are now realising the health benefits of these grains that were once called old-fashioned.
Replacing refined flour with millet flour improves the digestive system and keeps one full longer. Sorgham (Jowar), Finger Millet (Ragi) and Pearl Millet (Bajra) are easily available in the supermarkets and are better nutrient sources over rice and wheat.
Millet crops grow in low rainfall regions as they need less water. The crop is completely organic as it doesn’t require pesticides and fertilizers for support. Millets have an excellent shelf life and can be stored for up to two years.
How to include Millets in your diet?
Millet flour is commonly used to make rotis in several parts of the country. When you use refined flour, try replacing 30% of it with millet flour for added health benefits. Millets can also be used to make cereal porridge, idli, dosas, and upma.
Eating a Well Balanced Diet
No single food can provide every single nutrient our body needs in the exact amount needed. So it is best that we eat a combination of healthy foods, all of which balance each other out.
The title ‘superfoods’ may cause some people to excessively focus on a few specific foods, blinding them to other equally nutritious options that aren’t as hyped.
By eating a balanced diet we not only get the essential vitamins and minerals, but also prevent eating too much or too little of a particular nutrient. Importantly, a variety in our diet keeps our meals interesting and flavorful!
Veganism is a growing trend. As of 2018, the size of the global vegan food market was calculated to be worth $12.69 billion and the numbers are growing every year.
For the uninitiated, a vegan diet is one that excludes any food that comes from an animal. This includes eggs, dairy, meat, fish, poultry, and even honey. A vegan diet is also called a plant-based diet.
While veganism has its benefits, vegans are faced with a dilemma when it comes to meeting their nutritional needs. If not careful, vegans can be deprived of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins, which may impair certain bodily functions in the long run.
This has pushed food companies in pursuit of processed plant-based alternatives that are nutrition-rich and competent with their animal-based counterparts.
Considering that processed foods are not particularly healthy and are high in fat, the attention is now shifting to natural plant-based foods that can help vegans supercharge their diets. This is where makhana comes into the picture.
What is Makhana and How Can It Solve Your Nutritional Problems
Makhana is the popped seed of lotus plant or water lily. Commonly called fox nuts or lotus seeds, makhana is a completely plant-based, non-cereal snack, similar to popcorn in appearance.
Makhana is widely used in the preparation of curries, raita and sweets. With increasing awareness about health and wellness, people are now going back to the once-forgotten snack for its health and nutritional benefits.
Although makhana has been in use for many decades, it is a new addition to the list of superfoods. Unlike western superfoods like kale, blueberries and avocados, makhana is easily available in the country.
To understand the role of makhana in a vegan diet, let’s consider an example:
Phosphorus is vital for the formation of bones and teeth and plays an important role in how our body uses carbohydrates and fats. Non-vegans have no problem meeting their phosphorus needs as foods like dairy, seafood and meat are rich sources of the mineral.
Adding just 1 cup of makhana (32g) to your vegan diet will provide 20% of the body’s daily recommended percentage of phosphorus, which is higher than most plant-based food sources out there. When makhana is a part of a balanced plant-based diet, it can supercharge your body with a complete nutritional package and keep various health problems at bay.
Common Problems Faced by Vegans and How Makhana Comes to the Rescue
Junk Food Veganism
This is a highly used term in the vegan circle. Vegan junk food is the most mainstream vegan food option today.
Vegans are commonly caught off-guard when hit by untimely hunger pangs. This leads to dependence on processed and junk foods that are not particularly healthy.
To deal with the challenge, you can prepare a batch of roasted makhana and store it. With this, you have a nutritious, low-calorie snack ready for guilt-free binging when you feel hungry.
Also, makhana is rich in fibre and proteins which help in feeling full longer and prevent untimely snacking. This is helpful when you are trying to lose weight.
As mentioned earlier, choosing to stay away from dairy and meat can deprive vegans of essential vitamins and minerals. A busy lifestyle can lead to haphazard diet patterns and make the problem worse.
Are supplements the only solution? No.
Makhana can solve this problem as just one cup can provide 37% manganese, 20% phosphorus, 17 % magnesium, and 14 % of thiamin along with other vitamins and minerals. The percentage indicates daily recommended values of these nutrients.
All you have to do is snack on a handful of makhana and your body will thank you for it.
The Protein Challenge!
Protein is vital as our body needs it to build and repair tissues.
Although there are many plant-based protein sources to choose from, they are not all complete proteins. Complete protein sources are those which have all nine essential amino acids in them.
Another challenge with a vegan diet is ‘protein packaging’. When we eat protein-rich foods, we are not only consuming protein but everything else that accompanies it. For example, when you eat beans, seeds, and nuts, you are also consuming the fats that come with them.
Makhana is especially helpful in addressing both these problems. Research shows that lotus seed protein is nutritionally well balanced and significantly important for including in diets. Also, makhana comprises 19.8% protein and negligible amount of fats, which makes it an ideal protein package for a vegan diet.
Gluten? No Thanks.
Are you allergic to gluten?
Substitution of wheat flour with gluten-free flour has been receiving considerable attention lately.
Unlike wheat and barley, makhana is gluten-free. With the growing awareness about gluten-free foods, extensive studies advocate powdered makhana as a healthy and gluten-free alternative over wheat and refined flours.
Makhana powder can be blended with wheat or all-purpose flour in 1:1 proportion to make roti and parathas. This helps in cutting down gluten intake to almost half the original amount and increases the nutritional value of your meal.
To summarize, makhana is a protein-rich, low-fat, and gluten-free superfood, ideal for including in a plant-based diet.
Makhana has diverse applications; while some people use it as a tasty tea-time snack, others use it in curries, sweets, and parathas.
By eating makhana, you are not only helping your health, but are also doing your part to support local farmers who are involved in makhana cultivation for their livelihood.
Do you have fond memories of munching on ghee-roasted Makhana during childhood?
The pale-coloured, crunchy and nutritious balls are indeed tasty and form an integral part of many Indian households.
So what exactly is Makhana?
Makhana is popularly known as Lotus Seed. Depending on the region, it is also called Gorgon Nut, Fox Nut or Phool Makhana.
If you are new to makhana, think of it as a snack just like popcorn. While popcorn is nothing but popped corn, Makhana is popped Lotus seed. To elaborate, it is the edible starchy kernel found inside the lotus seed.
Although making popcorn is simple, extracting makhana from hard-coated lotus seeds is a laborious and time-consuming job. But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about any of that. Popped makhana is readily available in the market, both in plain and flavoured forms.
Makhana is considered a pious food in India and is offered to the Gods during Navratri. For people who go on fasts, dry or ghee roasted makhana is a healthy yet tasty alternative over the usual 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 why 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.
Where Does Makhana Come From?
As said earlier, Makhana is the popped seed of Lotus or makhana plant. The plant is a member of the water lily family and commonly grows on wetlands and ponds.
Makhana plants adjust well to the Indian tropical climate. While they grow naturally in some places, makhana plants are cultivated commercially in some parts of Bihar, central and eastern pockets of India by local folks. Bihar alone is responsible for 90% of India’s Makhana production.
Lotus or Makhana Plants bear fruits that hold the Makhana seeds inside. Once ripe, the seeds are extracted, cleaned, and assorted for further processing. The black (or brown), hard-coated makhana seeds go through repeated heating and cooling to prepare them for popping.
When ready, the tempered seeds are roasted in a traditional earthen pot or a cast iron pan at high temperature and popped manually using a mallet or hammer. The hammering requires skilled manpower as a few seconds delay in hammering would lead to poor quality popped makhana. In some places, Makhana popping machines are used for safety and efficiency.
Although Makhana is a seasonal crop, it is commercially available throughout the year because of excellent shelf life.
What is Makhana Made Of
These small, round balls are powerhouses of energy and are highly nutritious. Makhana is low in Fat and high in Carbohydrates, Proteins and Minerals; a combination eagerly desired by today’s health-conscious society. The nutritional profile is similar to wheat and other power-packed cereals.
A 32g serving of Makhana (daily recommended dosage for adults) approximately adds up to 106 kCal, which is very reasonable. Since they have high protein and low-fat content, they help one stay full longer after eating. For the same reason, makhanas are great for dealing with untimely hunger pangs, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Apart from being a good snack, makhana also has immense medicinal value and is used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It is neutral in nature and helps maintain a healthy balance in the body.
According to Ayurveda, makhanas have a Madhura (sweet) taste and are helpful for people with Pitta or Vata dosha. They also help increase strength and stamina, and provide nourishment to the heart, testes, uterus and ovaries.
More Health Benefits of Makhana
A Healthy Heart
Low in Sodium and High in Potassium, Makhana helps in regulating blood pressure. It is especially useful in helping pregnant women deal with Hypertension. Higher amounts of Magnesium in Makhana improve blood and oxygen levels and prevents the risk of heart diseases.
Diabetes? No Problem!
Makhana has a low Glycemic Index; which means it doesn’t spike your blood glucose levels immediately after eating. (If you are Diabetic, please consult a physician to know the healthy amount you can consume.)
Say Goodbye to Wrinkles
Makhana contains Flavonoids that help destroy free radicals in the body. This activity slows down the ageing process and prevents wrinkles, white and thinning hair. It also improves the circulatory system and lowers cholesterol levels.
Time For Some Detox?
Makhana is neutral in nature and helps in keeping your kidneys in good shape. It also helps in detoxifying the spleen.
High fibre content in Makhana eases passage of bowels and helps deal with constipation and indigestion. Makhana is easily digested by all age groups, which makes it suitable for children and the elderly.
Relieves Postnatal Issues
Makhana is recommended for women during pregnancy and postnatal weaknesses. Being an aphrodisiac, it is also useful in treating sexual problems in men and women.
So How are you planning on using Makhana?
Popped makhana seeds are a great addition to a cooked Indian breakfast, curry or raita. You can even replace heavy, oily fries with crunchy and nutritious ghee-roasted makhanas for tea-time snack.
With different flavours of Makhana available in the market today, your taste buds are definitely in for a treat. After all, what are the odds to resist a snack that is both healthy and tasty?