The crunchy Makhanas (Phool Makhanas) or Fox Nuts have emerged as a popular healthy snack. The puffed up lotus seeds are on every nutritionist’s list as a tea time snack. Not many know that Phool Makhanas are actually not a nut but the seed of a particular variety of water lily, and grows abundantly in the eastern parts of the country.
It is eaten very commonly in Bihar in various ways ranging from Parathas to a simple trail-mix like snack. It is a very desi, low calorie snack packed with nutrients and consumed in many traditional Indian households. There are also many brands available now who sell artificially flavored Makhanas to make it a little more tasty and spicy.
Consumed in the right quantity and the right manner, makhanas may indeed help you along in your weight loss journey. Let us look at a few facts about this gluten-free plant based superfood.
Calories in Makhanas
Makhanas are quite low in calories, which is why they have become as popular as evening weight loss snacks to munch on. A 50gms serving of dry-roasted makhanas has 180 calories and no saturated fat or sodium at all. Dry-roasted means that no grease or oil has been used in roasting the Makhanas.
Nutritional value Of Makhanas
Nutritionist Shristi Jain says, “They are also gluten-free and contain a flavonoid called kaempferol, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. It is high on magnesium which is important for heart health. It helps regulate levels of calcium, potassium and sodium in the blood. Although, Fox Nuts are rich in carbohydrates, their glycemic index is significantly lower than foods like rice, bread, etc.
Makhanas are also rich in iron, which is important for haemoglobin formation in the blood and for optimum transportation of oxygen (through blood).
How to consume Makhanas?
Plain Makhanas can also be consumed. But not many people like to consume tasteless snacks. In that case you can make your own flavored Makhanas at home.
Place your Makhanas on a non-stick pan or kadhai and roast them on a low flame until they appear slightly brown. Be careful to moderate the flame, so as to not burn the fox nuts. Once they are roasted, transfer the fox nuts in an air-tight jar or container.
You may add a tablespoon of ghee or coconut to your pan, before placing the fox nuts in it. A bit of salt or chaat masala can add to the flavor but avoid adding to many artificial or salty flavouring.
You can also flavor them with naturally spices and condiments like mint leaves, curry leaves, coriander powder, garlic powder, turmeric powder, green chillies, etc. Peanuts or cashews and almonds to the mix to add a bit more crunch and nutrition to the snack.
Helps in weight loss
As a mid-meal snack Makhanas help to control untimely hunger pangs.50 grams of dry-roasted makhanas have 180 calories with no saturated fat or sodium. It will help you in portion control for your main course. If you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, you may want to have them sparingly. Make sure you add spices like pepper and turmeric that aide weight loss to your roasted Makhanas.
Fox nuts have a low glycemic index, and a fair amount of carbohydrates. A small portion of roasted Makhana can easily be included in a diabetic diet. However, if you’re on insulin, you must consult the doctor before making it a part of your diet since it has the tendency to reduce sugar levels.
Rich in Proteins
This is a plant based protein. For vegetarians a cup of it contains 3.9 grams of protein. It is ideal for vegans too. So, Makhanas can help you build muscle mass.
Aids in Digestion
Makhanas are high in fibre. So, if you are suffering from constipation or bloated stomach, it can help you add fibre to your body aAlso, this suoerfood I gluten free
Used in Ayurveda, Oriental and Chinese Medicine
According to Ayurveda, Makhanas not only aid weight loss but also help in keeping your kidneys in good shape. Research has proved that Makhanas boost metabolism by detoxifying the liver.
These seeds have been used extensively in traditional Oriental and Chinese medicine for their health benefits and are valued for their nutritional and healing properties.
These seeds contain an anti-aging enzymes which is believed to help repair damaged proteins.
Fox Nuts can be also be grinded into a flour. Blending its flour with other nutritionally rich legumes like daals and soybean or millets like bajra and jowar will be of immense value to develop low-cost, gluten-free, protein-rich food supplements to combat malnutrition, particularly relevant to India.
Some even boil it into a syrup or paste. The most common use of the seed is in the form of lotus seed paste, which is used extensively in Chinese pastries as well as in Japanese desserts.
Dried lotus seeds may be soaked in water overnight prior to use. They can then be added directly to soups, salads or used in other dishes. Puffed seeds are used in curries, kheer, puddings and dry roasted snacks.
So, go on. Add this superfood into your diet