Makhana or Foxnut– Ayurvedic, Keto & Vegan Friendly Low Carb Snack with Fertility Benefits and A Makhana Recipe
Do you want a new healthy snack idea that’s tasty and low carb? I’m going to introduce you to Makhanas, also known as Phool Makhana or fox nuts or Gorgon Nuts (in Chinese Medicine). They aren’t actually new – they’ve been used since ancient times especially in East Asia. They come from the prickly water lily plant and have been cultivated since ancient times in Asia especially China, India, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Korea. India (specifically Bihar state) produces 90% of the world’s supply. They are starchy seeds eaten raw, roasted, or fried.
Makhana – is making a comeback in the health food scene, globally. An Ayurvedic favoured snack that is Pitta and Vata Dosha friendly is not being popularized as a keto friendly or low carb snack.
Botanical Name: Euryale Ferox Salisb
Common Name: Water Lily Seeds or Foxnuts
Dosha: Vata, pitta
Taste/Rasa: Sweet, astringent
Attribute/Guna: Heavy, oily
Dhatu/Tissues: Plasma, muscle & reproductive
Organs Effected: Heart and reproductive organs (testes, ovaries and uterus)
Qualities: Antioxidant, Aphrodisiac, Anti-Diabetic, Cardio-protective, Hepato-protective, Nephro-protective and Spermatogenic.
In Ayurveda Makhanas are used for vigor, fertility, stamina, improvement of the sperm count, and are considered an aphrodisiac. Makhanas are also used to reduce diarrhea and improve digestion. Makhanas also have cardiovascular benefits. Due to being low carb, Makhanas are favoured for diabetic patients.
A Nutrition Powerhouse
Makhanas have a lot of nutrients. They have protein and essential amino acids, as well as fibre. Per 100 grams of Makhana contains 100 micrograms of folate, 2236 mg of Iron, 2397 mg of phosphorus, 66 mg of zinc and 14.52% of protein. They also contain B vitamins (especially B1), potassium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. Additionally, makhanas have polyphenols and flavonoids that are antioxidants and provide many health benefits.
Weight loss and Anti-Diabetic Benefits
In addition to the nutrients you get while eating the whole seed, various extracts have been studied for their health benefits. Polysaccharides extracted from Makhanas have shown to reduce body weight and blood glucose in animal studies, as well as acted as antioxidants and increased the body’s own antioxidants SOD (superoxide dismutase), CAT (catalase) and glutathione. Another study found that the Makhana is high in polyphenols, which decreased weight and lipid/fat deposition on the liver and protected the liver. Another substance found in Makhana improves glucose metabolism, reduce insulin resistance and improves glycemic control.
Additionally, several compounds present in Makhanas inhibit the activities of free radicals, induced by high glucose levels In the blood. This amazing antioxidant activity prevents diabetes neuropathy.
Makhana reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides. In Ayurvedic medicine Makhanas are used regular heartbeat (beneficial for patients experiencing Tachycardia). They also strengthen the heart muscle.
It is said in Ayurveda, when taken along with milk, Makhanas, can improve sperm count, sperm motility, treat premature ejaculation and increase stamina in men. Men can take Makhanas along with other Ayurvedic herbs such as, Ashwagandha, Bala, Cinnamon and Shilajit.
Makhanas are amazing for women who experiences infertility, miscarriages, heavy periods, leuorrhea and other PMS symptoms (fatigue, painful menstruation).
Makhanas provide energy to pregnant women and acts as a galactagogue for lactating mothers.
Avoiding Confusion – Makhanas are not Lotus Seeds
It is good to be aware that Makhanas are often confused with Lotus Seeds as they look similar. Lotus seeds are obtained from Nelumbo Nucifera (Sacred Lotus) but Makhanas or fox nuts are obtained from Euryale Ferox plants.
Where to Buy Makhanas?
In North America (USA or Canada) you can find Foxnuts on Amazon. I would say you can just as easily find Makhanas at any Indian grocery stores at much reasonable price.
A Wonderful Recipe
I love eating Makhanas as a snack. With ghee and spices it becomes the most wonderful snack! I hope this inspires you to try this snack!
- • Makhanas, 2 cup
- • Paprika, ¼ tsp.
- • Cumin powder, ¼ tsp.
- • Sea salt, 1/8 tsp.
- • Ghee or coconut oil, about 1 ½ tbsp.
- • Black pepper, 1/8 tsp.
- In a large pan, dry roast the makhanas for about 4 minutes at medium heat, stirring a few times to prevent burning and ensuring that all sides are roasted.
- Roasting is done when the makhanas are crunchy and dry
- Remove the makhanas into a bowl.
- In the pan, add the oil until melted and turn off the heat.
- Add the spices and mix them up for a few seconds, and then add the makhanas and stir until they are well coated with the spices.
- Remove and serve.
Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine. Harish Johari, Healing Arts Press 2000
Ayurvedic Medicine, Sebastian Pole, 2013
Wu CY et al. The hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of polysaccharides from the petioles and pedicels of Euryale ferox Salisb. on alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice. Food Funct. 2017 Oct 18;8(10):3803-3813.
Jian T et al. Hepatoprotective Effect of Seed Coat ofEuryale ferox Extract in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Induced by High-fat Diet in Mice by Increasing IRs-1 and Inhibiting CYP2E1. J Oleo Sci. 2019 Jun 6;68(6):581-589.
Danish Ahmed et al. 2β-hydroxybetulinic acid 3β-caprylate: an active principle from Euryale Ferox Salisb. seeds with antidiabetic, antioxidant, pancreas & hepatoprotective potential in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Sep; 52(9): 5427–5441.