Makhanas or fox nuts: The super food for everyone

An integral part of any north and central Indian kitchen, Makhanas find use in many East Asian delicacies. Makhanas are also known as lotus seeds or fox nuts. They come from a plant called Euryale fox, which grows in stagnant water. In this post, we look at some of the health benefits of having this superfood.

Makhanas are rich in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium and can fulfill about 37% of one’s daily requirement of manganese. They contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and are quite low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. They are not just a healthy source of carbohydrate, but also a good source of protein.

Anti-ageing

It is not a superfood if it cannot slow down ageing, right? Well not necessarily, but makhanas have enzymes that help repair damaged proteins and therefore keeps your system younger for longer.

Diabetes

Due to their low glycemic index, lotus seeds are slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized thereby preventing insulin levels to spike, yet keeping one energetic for a long time. This property makes them an excellent snack for diabetics.

Heart diseases

2 words, folate and magnesium. Low magnesium levels are linked to coronary heart disease (CHD) and a daily dose of folate / folic acid can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by approx 20%. Makahnas will take care of both these needs thereby making them a must have for a healthy heart.

Blood pressure and hypertension

Low sodium and high potassium in fox nuts significantly brings down high blood pressure and therefore in also beneficial in hypertension.

Kidney health

Makhanas have astringent properties and are beneficial for healthy functioning of the kidneys, and also help prevent kidney stones.

Weight loss

Listen up weight watchers, the low glycemic index of makhanas make you feel full for longer, thereby avoiding frequent hunger pangs, and helping you lose weight without starving yourself.

Digestion

Only 100g of makhanas can fulfill upto 30% of your daily fibre requirement. The high fibre content in lotus seeds help smoothen your digestive process. Makhana can also help improve your appetite.

Reproductive health

Makhanas have been recognized in Ayurveda for their aphrodisiacal properties as well as their role in improving sperm count in men and fertility in women.

Detoxifies the spleen

The spleen is the graveyard of dead red blood cells. Fox nuts help detoxify it, ridding the body of dead cells and purifying the blood stream.

There are interesting ways to eat makhanas, as they do not have an overpowering taste. They usually soak up the flavors added to them.

 

Roasted makhana munchies

Preparation time: 5-7 minutes

Toss some makhanas with some black salt, pepper and turmeric powder in a pan. Add some butter or simply dry roast them for a few minutes. There you have it, a bowl of healthy munchies for your next movie marathon!

Sweet makhana dessert / kheer

Preparation time – 10 minutes

Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a pan, add some makhanas and roast them for a while. After this, add some milk (at least till the makhanas are partially submerged) and bring it to a boil. Add to it, some jaggery or honey (healthier than sugar). You can add chopped cashews, almonds or pistachios to make it more interesting. That’s it! Your dessert is ready. (You may also cool it down and have it like a cool dessert)

If you happen to be a little lazy, you can also have’em straight out from the packet. So do not hesitate to add these guilt free snack packs to your list the next time you go grocery shopping!

Health benefits of Manuka raisins

Manuka raisins

If you like having dry fruits, you’ve probably heard about raisins. They are very common in many desserts and especially Indian delicacies. These small dried grapes have a unique flavor and are packed with nutrients. There are different types od raisins, mostly because of the process of making them, and the type of grapes used. Few examples are currants, golden seedless raisins, muscat raisins etc.

In this post, we look at Monukka / Manuka Raisins.

Manuka raisins (grapes rather) are grown in Samarkand, Uzbekistan and some Himalayan regions to name a few. Manuka raisins are distinguishable by their crunchy seeds. These seeds are supposed to be eaten along and add to the nutrition.

The grapes are mostly sun-dried so they retain all of their nutritional value. They are completely non-GMO and 100% organic.

So let’s get to the benefits of manuka raisins:

Healthy skin

Manuka raisins help improve blood circulation and bring a natural glow to your skin. Also, their germicidal properties help prevent acne and other skin problems.

Healthy digestion

These fruits are rich in fibre content, and therefore will help with digestion and ease constipation. They also help flush out toxins from your body, thereby avoiding many other diseases.

Burn cholesterol

They are packed with potassium, which apart from being an essential mineral, stimulates the burning of cholesterol thereby promoting good cardiac health.

Fight anaemia

Manuka raisins contain good amounts of iron, and help fight anaemia. Also, they contain copper, which helps in production of red blood cells.

Fight cancer

Catechins are polyphenolic antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals in the body. These free radicals are the underlying cause of the spontaneous growth of cancer cells. Manuka raisins are a rich source of catechins and hence help prevent cancer.

Healthy eyes

These dry fruits contain beta carotene and therefore go a long way in maintaining good ocular health. They also slow down macular degeneration and weakening of vision with old age.

Oral and dental health

Manuka raisins contain oleanolic acid, which is known to play a cruicial role in preventing tooth decay, cavities and brittleness of teeth. It not only prevents the growth of bacteria responsible for tooth decay, but its boron content curbs the growth of oral germs thereby promoting good oral health.

Sexual health

People looking to improve their sexual health find great benefits by consuming manuka raisins. They contain arginine, an amino acid which is useful in treating erectile dysfunction and improving sperm motility.

Stronger bones

Regular consumption of manuka raisins helps promote bone health. They contain calcium and small amounts of boron; the latter facilitates absorption of calcium in the bones, making them stronger. Also, the polyphenols and antioxidants in manuka raisins have anti-inflammatory properties, which help ease arthritis pain.

Healthy weight gain

These seeded dry grapes also help healthy weight gain as they are concentrated with fructose and glucose. They are a wonderful addition to a pre-workout snack, giving you an extra energy boost, and also a way of promoting healthy weight gain, minus the cholesterol.

So, go ahead and add this guilt free crunchy treat to your daily meals and experience the benefits first hand.