Makhana is a type of seed derived from the Euryale ferox plant. They’re also sometimes referred to as fox nuts or lotus seeds.
Makhanas are widely cultivated throughout Asia and are often used in traditional forms of medicine to treat various conditions.
They’re also sometimes roasted and enjoyed as a savory snack or added to curries, side dishes, or desserts.
Here are 6 of the top benefits of makhana.
1. Makhana is rich in nutrients
Makhana is an excellent source of several important nutrients and makes a great addition to a healthy, well-rounded diet.
It contains a good amount of carbs in each serving and is also rich in several micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
Calcium, in particular, has been shown to support bone health, helps reduces blood pressure, and decrease cholesterol levels.
Meanwhile, magnesium is necessary for a wide range of metabolic reactions in the body and is involved in protein synthesis, muscle contractions, nerve function, and more.
Summary: Makhana is a good source of protein and fiber, along with micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
2. Makhana is high in antioxidants
Makhana is rich in various antioxidants, which are compounds that help neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.
In particular, makhana contains specific antioxidants like gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and epicatechin.
Research shows that antioxidants play a key role in several aspects of health and may help protect against chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Antioxidants can also reduce inflammation, which could be beneficial for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Summary: Makhana is rich in antioxidants, which could protect against inflammation and chronic disease.
3. Makhana may help stabilize blood sugar levels
Some research suggests that makhana could help support better blood sugar management.
For example, one animal study showed that administering a supplement containing makhana extract to rats with diabetes helped improve blood sugar regulation and increased several antioxidant enzymes.
Another animal study found that a specific compound isolated from makhana seeds improved blood sugar and insulin levels in rats with diabetes.
Several other animal studies have observed similar findings, noting that makhana extract could enhance blood sugar management.
That said, keep in mind that these studies used highly concentrated amounts of makhana extract in animals.
Therefore, more research is needed to determine how makhana may affect blood sugar levels in humans when consumed in typical amounts.
Summary: Several animal studies show that makhana extract could help improve blood sugar management, but more human research is needed.
4. Makhana may support weight loss
Adding makhana seeds to your diet is a great way to boost your intake of protein and fiber — two key nutrients that may benefit weight loss.
Protein, in particular, has been shown to reduce food cravings and help regulate your appetite.
Meanwhile, fiber moves slowly through your digestive tract to keep you feeling full during the day.
Some studies show that consuming a higher amount of fiber could be linked to reductions in belly fat, as well as increased weight loss.
Still, additional studies are needed to evaluate the effects of makhana specifically on weight loss.
Summary: Makhana is rich in protein and fiber, which may be beneficial for weight loss and fat loss.
5. Makhana may have anti-aging properties
Some studies suggest that certain compounds found in makhana could possess powerful anti-aging properties.
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In fact, according to one review, makhana contains several amino acids that are known for their anti-aging properties, including glutamine, cystine, arginine, and methionine.
Glutamine, for instance, is used to produce proline, which is an amino acid found in collagen, a compound that supports skin hydration and elasticity.
Methionine and arginine are also involved in the production of creatine, another compound that has been shown to have anti-aging effects in several older studies.
Makhana is likewise a good source of antioxidants, which can help promote skin health and slow signs of aging.
Summary: Makhana is rich in antioxidants and contains several amino acids that may have anti-aging properties, such as helping promote skin elasticity and skin health.
6. Makhana may promote heart health
Although research in humans is lacking, some animal studies have found that makhana seeds may benefit heart health.
One animal study found that administering makhana extract to rats with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease for 4 weeks significantly reduced high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are common risk factors for heart disease.
Another animal study observed similar findings, noting that makhana extract improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rats with diabetes.
What’s more, one older animal study found that makhana extract protected the heart against injury and helped neutralize harmful free radicals.
However, more studies are needed to determine how makhana may affect heart health in humans when enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.
Summary: Some animal studies have found that makhana extract could reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels to improve heart health.
How to enjoy makhana
Although makhana isn’t as widely available as other types of nuts and seeds, you can find it at many specialty stores or online retailers.
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It has a mild, neutral flavor that works well in a variety of recipes.
One of the most popular ways to prepare makhana involves roasting the seeds and seasoning them with your choice of herbs and spices, such as sea salt, turmeric, chili powder, or black pepper.
It also makes a great addition to main courses, including curries or bhel puri, which is a dish made with puffed rice, peanuts, chutneys, and vegetables.
Alternatively, you can try mixing chopped and roasted makhana seeds into kheer, a type of rice pudding that’s popular in India.
Summary: Makhana is available at many specialty stores and online retailers. It can be roasted and enjoyed as a savory snack or added to several entrées and desserts.
Makhana is a type of seed commonly used throughout Asia.
It’s rich in antioxidants and micronutrients and may help slow signs of aging and support heart health, blood sugar management, and weight loss.
It’s also versatile and easy to enjoy in many different recipes, including snacks, main dishes, and desserts.