Makhanas, also known as fox nuts or lotus seeds, have always been used as a fasting food. The reason is they are among the most nutritious snacking options, can be dry roasted, are low in calories and glycemic index (GI), and have a high satiety value.
They are rich in protein and fibre and are dense with minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, making up the daily requirement of micronutrients in the body. They also have some B vitamins. A 100 gram cup of makhanas yields 350-odd calories. The same amount yields 60 mg of calcium, 9.7 gm of protein, 0.1 gm of fats, 76.9 gm of carbohydrates, the complex, good ones, 14.6 gm of fibres, 500 mg of potassium and 1.4 mg of iron. It is low in sodium and has no saturated fat.
Recently, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi professed the virtues of makhanas and nuts as a snack that helped him be on the move during the Bharat Jodo yatra. Even earlier, in 2019, he had pledged to popularise makhanas from Bihar as a replacement to popcorn.
So why are makhanas a good option for snacking or even as a breakfast food? That’s because their GI is below 55, lower than common carbohydrates like rice, wheat and refined flour. This means the blood glucose levels won’t rise immediately and no extra levels would be floating in your bloodstream. Besides their high fibre content slows down hunger frequency and prolongs meal satiety. So, this prevents you from loading up on calories. A study has even shown how a makhana extract supplements helped diabetic rats in better blood glucose control. Several other studies have shown the same result.
As makhanas are abundant in magnesium, they improve oxygen and blood flow in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. An animal study observed that giving makhana extract to rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease for four weeks considerably decreased cholesterol and triglycerides.
The protein and fibre density is associated with better weight management and reduction of belly fat. Makhanas are rich in amino acids like arginine, glutamine, methionine and cystine, all of which are good for anti-ageing properties and plumping up the skin. Besides, they are rich in…