Makhana is the new popcorn. It is crunchy, tasty, easy to prepare, economical and healthy. Makhana or gorgon nut is an important non-cereal food from aquatic resources. People now a day's prefer protein-rich food in their eating habit for sound health as compared to carbohydrate-rich products. Makhana (Euryale ferox) also known as Gorgon nut, Fox nut, is an aquatic crop belonging to the family of Nympheaceae and it is grown in stagnant perennial water bodies like ponds and swamps. It grows in water and it is found in India, Korea, China, Japan and Russia. 
Nutrient composition of Makhana
Makhana contains 9.7% easily digestible protein, 76% carbohydrate, 12.8% moisture, 0.1% fat, 0.5% total minerals, 0.9% phosphorus, and 1.4% mg iron/100 g. These seeds are low in saturated fats, sodium, and cholesterol and are high in magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. The amino acid index (89–93%) and arginine lysine/proline ratio (4.74–7.6) of Makhana is high and superior when compared to many cereals. Calorific value of raw seed is 362 Kcal/100 gm and puffed seeds 328 kcal/100 gm.
Health benefits of Makhana:
Makhanas are perfect example of how looks can be deceptive. In spite of their extremely small size, they have several health benefits that make them a very good snack to munch on.
1. Weight loss & antinflammatory properties:
Fox nuts are rich in flavonoids, which are chemicals that have a positive effect on the body. The flavonoid reduces cardiovascular risk and also reduce inflammation. They also have anti-bacterial properties and help you stay healthy. Makhana is used as a tonic for the treatment of leucorrhoea and good immunostimulant. Makhanas are rich in protein and less in calories so also help in weight loss.
2. Rich in Vitamin B1(Thiamine):
The seeds contain sufficient number of vitamins and especially Vit B, so it is also used to treat beriberi, a disease caused by deficiency of Vitamin B1 .
Spleen is a body part involved in the formation and removal of red blood cells. Fox nuts help in detoxifying the organ and function properly. Makhana revealed to be containing significant antioxidant activity, which may be associated with its medical applications as a proteinuria inhibitor of diabetic nephropathy .
4. Fights infertility:
Makhana increases quality and quantity of semen, prevents premature ejaculation, increases libido and helps in female infertility. It strengthens body and increases energy level. Because of its aphrodisiac properties it is grouped under Vrishyadi group. The herbs under this group are used in Vajikarana therapy. It helps to increase the fertility in women and reduces Vata and Pitta. .
5. Good for Diabetes:
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which is accompanied by high blood glucose levels. It is a result of improper functioning of the pancreas, which secretes the insulin hormone. Fox nut is a sweet and sour seed. These seeds contain starch and protein which is excellent for diabetes .
6. Slows down the aging process:
Makhana is rich in antioxidants that works as age lock system, and makes us younger for much longer. Makhana is effective for individuals with high risk of premature ageing, premature white hairs, wrinkles and other signs of aging .
7. Use in Chinese medicine:
According to principles of traditional Chinese medicine, fox nut or Makhana is used to strengthen spleen and kidneys. InChinese medicine Fox nut is also used in conditions like spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, neuralgia, incontinence, chronic diarrhoea etc. According to herbalists it is helpful in preventing early discharge of semen and restores sexual vigor in older men. Makhana helps in conditions like arthritis, erectile dysfunction and premature aging. This herb has antioxidant properties and helps in digestion, rejuvenates respiratory system and prevents frequent urination.
8. Multidimensional role play of Makhana:
It is suitable for arthritis, helps fighting impotency and premature aging. Makhana is very useful for women during and post pregnancy period. It also helps our respiratory system, veins and digestion. Popped Makhana contains almost 12% of protein (excellent especially for vegetarians) It reverses the aging process over a period of time  It strengthens the body and reduces burning sensation and quenches thirst.
9. Maintain blood pressure:
Rich in potassium, fox nut contains less of sodium and it is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure. Makhana helps in keeping the blood pressure in control and is one of the best way to maintaining the systolic blood pressure levels .
PRECAUTIONS WHILE USING MAKHANA
All good things come with a price and makhanas are no exception. Though they are loaded with benefits, side effects of Makhana on the body can also not be ignored. Hence, moderation is the key. Some of the side effects are allergies, gastrointestinal problems, and increase in insulin level. Other side effects of excessive consumption are constipation and bloating. It is safe to take Makhana in food amounts during pregnancy. However, due to the lack of scientific evidence, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking Makhana.
How to use Makhana?
a. Take 1-2 handful Makhana or as per your requirement. Or, you can also add a few Makhana to your salads.
Image credit : Google
Image credit : Google
a. Heat oil in a pan on full flame. b. Once the oil is hot, bring the flame to a simmer. c. Add the Makhana and roast until crunchy. d. Season the Makhana with salt, black pepper powder and chaat masala (optional). e. Eat 2-3 handfuls a day or add to salads.
3. Makhana powder Roti (or Makhana flour):
Image credit : Google
a. Take 2-3 cups of Makhana and grind it to form powder. b. Take ½ cup of Makhana powder in a bowl. c. Add hot water in small quantities and mix well and make a dough d. Add ghee or oil at the end and mix well.
e. And then fried in a non-stick pan at about 1500c.
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