Benefits of Lotus Seeds, Makhana
Makhana, also called as lotus seeds or Fox nuts, are one of the highest selling dry snack these days. They serve as a healthy substitute to popcorn, not only because of their crunchy texture but also due to the health benefits they offer. These seeds roasted in 1-2 teaspoon of olive oil are loved by one and all. While in India lotus seeds are most commonly preferred, in other Asian countries like China the stem, root, leaves and the seeds of lotus plant are all used to flavour their food.
How do Makhanas Look Like?
They are nut like round to oval shaped seeds present in row within the dark green colored lotus seed head. They are green colored when fresh and turn cream to yellow color when dried. The shell becomes harder as much that it can be removed as a coating.
What do Makhanas have to Offer?
Makhanas are highly nutritious. Without much fat and zero cholesterol added to meals, they offer nutrients like folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc as well. These seeds have the ability to prevent inflammation, protect the heart and build bones to some extent by way of its calcium and phosphorus count.
5 Health Benefits of Makhana
1. Excellent Source of Protein : Vegetarians often rely on paneer or soya as key source of protein. But those who wish to bank on protein from plant sources can also turn towards makhana. A cup of dry roasted makhana has around 3.9 g of protein, which is good enough to help build muscle mass and promote cell growth.
2. Gluten Safe Foods : Like many other seeds, lotus seeds are also gluten free and can safely be added to gluten intolerance diet.
3. Brimming with Folate : Folate is a key nutrient which helps in DNA synthesis and cell division. This is a key nutrient for pregnant women, especially in their first trimester, for brain development of the fetus. To prevent neural tube defects in new born folate is a must since pre-conception. A cup of makhana can fulfil almost 50% of day’s requirement for folate. However too much makhana may lend a feeling of bloating in some. So have in small portion sizes and avoid if it gives you stomach upset.
4. Prevent Inflammation : Makhanas are known to possess antioxidant kaempferol, which helps to prevent inflammation and eliminate the harmful free radicals from the body. This thus helps to fix early ageing issue.
5. Protect the Heart : The two trace minerals which benefit the heart are magnesium and potassium. Low levels magnesium can make you prone to heart disease, as it is an essential mineral to maintain heartbeat. Potassium on the other hand, helps to control blood pressure and sustain cardiac health. Folate is another key vitamin which also has a role to play in guarding heart health. Folate is necessary to reduce homocysteine levels in the body. A high level of homocysteine (which are naturally occurring amino acids in our body) can put you at risk of heart diseases and stroke by damaging your blood vessels. However those on treatment for arrhythmia should consult their doctor and / or dietitian before including these seeds in their diet regularly. Know the complete list of Heart Healthy Foods.
Makhana and Weight Loss Connection : A cup of makhana provides 83 calories, which is definitely a healthy snack to munch on in-between meals. They provide protein too which helps boost metabolism and probably aids in some weight loss. They contain no cholesterol and almost minimal fat. Their glycemic index is also known to be low, thus would keep you full and satisfied for long time and avoid that rapid blood sugar hike. However they will stimulate weight loss only if eaten in right quantity and right manner along with other high protein and high fiber foods on your platter to assist in weight loss. Eat and enjoy makhana but keep portion size in control. Remember to not miss out on your exercise regime along with following weight loss diet.
Makhana & Diabetes Connection : Makhana has low glycemic index, but they do have fair amounts of carbs. While small portion of roasted makhana can be included in a diabetic diet, but those who are insulin should consult their doctor / dietitian before consuming it as it has the tendency to reduce sugar levels. Since more research is yet to be initiated in this field, restricted quantity occasionally should be your preferred choice.
Try our tested Falvoured Makhana Recipes like Masala Makhana and Herbed Makhana.
Let’s look into the incredible nutrient profile it carries along with the health benefits it reaps.
Nutritive Information for Makhana (Lotus seeds):
1 Cup of Makhana is about 25 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy – 83 calories
Protein – 3.9 g
Carbohydrate –16.1 g
Fat – 0.5 g
See full nutritional details of makhana in Makhana (Lotus seeds) glossary click here.