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What is Makhana? Everything You Need to Know About the Indian Superfood

What is Makhana? Everything You Need to Know About the Indian Superfood

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.

Better Digestion

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.

Final Thoughts

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?


Q: Are makhana fattening?

A: Makhanas are low on cholesterol, fat and sodium, therefore they are usually a part of maintaining a healthy weight diet.

Q: How much makhana to eat per day?

A: A handful is considered as an ideal portion. Although, 20 to 30gms of makhana per day is a safe bet. 

Q: Is Makhana good for thyroid?

A: Makhana or fox nuts are a great source of selenium, as many other nuts. selenium, which, according to a review published in 2017 in the International Journal of Endocrinology, helps the thyroid function properly.Therefore, makhana can help in reducing thyroid related issues.

Q: Is makhana good during pregnancy?

A: Makhana is considered as a very good food during pregnancy. It helps expecting mothers to control their blood pressure, insomnia and a great remedy for hunger cravings. Makhana is also a rich source of nutrition that can help in the development of the foetus. 

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What is Makhana? Everything You Need to Know About the Indian Superfood
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How to Use Makhana for Weight Loss (Healthy Makhana Recipes Included)

How to Use Makhanas or Lotus Seeds in Your Weight Loss Journey

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:

Makhana Benefits - Nummy Makhana

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Looking for more healthy Makhana recipes? Try these quick and easy Makhana recipes to add the right dose of nutrition in your daily diet.


How much makhana to eat in a day for weight loss?

You can have 30g of makhana in a day to kickstart your weight loss journey

When to eat makhana for weight loss?

You can have makhana during your snack time. Consider it as a snack and not a meal. 

How many calories does one bowl of makhana have?

One bowl of plain roasted makhana will have approximately 106 calories.

How to eat makhana for weight loss?

Apart from the healthy recipes shared above, you can also make sure you add spices like pepper and turmeric that aid weight loss to your own recipes of makhana

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. 

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Note: This blog post was first published on May 6, 2020 and has been updated regularly since then.

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How to Use Makhanas or Lotus Seeds in Your Weight Loss Journey
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Need a Quick Healthy Snack? Try Twinkle Khanna’s Gluten-Free Makhana Recipe

Need a Quick Healthy Snack? Try Twinkle Khanna's Gluten-Free Makhana Recipe

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.


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A post shared by Tweak India (@tweakindia)

The best part about this Makhana recipe? It’s super easy to prepare.

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cup makhana
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies
  • Salt to taste


  • 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.
  • Add salt.
  • 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.

Order your Nummy Makhana today on Amazon or Big Basket.

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Need a Quick Healthy Snack? Try Twinkle Khanna's Gluten-Free Makhana Recipe