Makhana - Fox Nuts
Makhana - Fox Nuts

10 Proven Benefits of Makhana (Fox Nuts)

Makhana or fox nuts (gorgon nuts) are cultivated for its edible starchy seeds used in various Indian foods and in Indian medicines.

What is Makhana or fox nut?

The seed portion of Euryale ferox plant is called fox nut or Makhana and is a popular food in Asian Subcontinent.

It has both nutritive as well as medicinal uses. “Euryale” is derived from the mythical Greek word “Gorgon” and both words are synonyms. Thus, this plant is also called gorgon nut.

Makhana or Euryale ferox, also known as fox nut is a popular snack in India and I widely cultivate in shallow ponds.

It belongs to the lotus family Nymphaceae. It is common to east Asia, particularly India, China and Japan. It is also grown in some parts of eastern Russia.

Synonyms

  1. Gorgon nut
  2. Euryale seeds
  3. Euryale Ferox (botanical name)
  4. Fox-nuts
  5. Thang-jing
  6. Nikori
  7. Manipuri
  8. Onibas
  9. Onibasu

Nutrition facts

100 grams of makhana (fox nuts/gorgon nuts) contain:

Nutrients Value % Daily Value
Total Calories 350 2%
Calories from the fats 0.9
Total fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Protein 9.7 g 19%
Carbohydrates 77 g 26%
Dietary Fiber 7.6 g 30%
Sugars
Sodium 210 mg 8%
Potassium 500 mg 14%
Calcium 60 mg 6%

Benefits of Makhana

Makhana, also known as gorgon seeds or fox nuts are traditionally used in oriental medicines to treat and cure various diseases, including chronic diarrhea, spleen disorders, and excessive leucorrhea, diabetes and kidney problems. The main benefits and uses are explained hereunder:

  1. Good for heart

The recent studies have revealed antioxidant effects of makhana. Its antioxidant activities are due to the presence of glucosides. In addition, studies have shown makhanas or gorgon seeds can reduce the risk of myocardial ischemia. It is also beneficial for the treatment of myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury. [1]

Euryale ferox seeds are low in the quantity of saturated fats. However, these fats are not bad, as thought first, but these fats can increase the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in some people. [2]

The suspended cholesterol gets deposited in the arteries, causing a condition called Arteriosclerosis, which means the arteries have narrowed down. This can lead to fatal consequences like heart attack, stroke and when the deposited cholesterol hardens, the treatment cannot happen.

Euryale ferox seeds, the fox nut, have low saturated fats and so are perfect for consumption by heart patients and normal people who are health conscious.

This also indicates this is an ideal munching snack for everyone. Generally, either munchies are deep-fried or replete with Trans Fat, which has a harmful effect on the health, so when it is fried, it will not remain healthy nuts.

  1. Reduces Inflammation

Flavonoids are chemicals, which are secondary metabolites in plants. They have been shown by many experiments to have a positive effect on human health. They bring about antioxidal reactions, help reduce inflammation and reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases in the body. They are also shown to be antibacterial in experiments. Fox nut being flavonoid rich, affects the body in a good way and helps maintain good health. [3]

  1. Rich in protein

The protein content in fox nut is about 14.52%, which is quite high as compared to the processed grains and other foods we have these days.

Protein rich food is very good for the muscular tissue of the body. Proteins make up the muscles and are regularly needed to repair the wear and tear in the body.

They are required as structural, functional and regulatory elements in the cells of the body. They can be antibodies, enzymes, messenger, structural or storage and transport in nature.

All these functions belong to the protein and thus they are required in optimum quantities or else the systematic operation of the body is affected in a bad way.

Proteins are abundant in fox nut. Thus, it is necessary to include fox nuts in the diet to provide the body with ample protein.

  1. Detoxifies the spleen

Fox nuts or Euryale Ferox helps to keep the spleen clean. The spleen is the graveyard of blood cells, i.e., it cleans up the blood stream, ridding it of dead blood cells.

While red blood cells are recycled in spleen, white blood cells and platelets are stored. It is also a part of the immune system in the body. Fox nut has therapeutic effect on the spleen and it helps the spleen to function well. [4]

  1. Regulates blood pressure

The fox nut contains low sodium but high potassium. This implies that it helps the patients with hypertension or high blood pressure to keep the blood pressure regulated. Sodium always increases the blood pressure and potassium tries to bring it down. Thus, low level of sodium in fox nut is like a boon for hypertension patients. [5, 6]

  1. Infertility

Fox nut is a hydrant. It helps keep the moisture locked in the body. Due to this, the secretions of the body are also more moisturized.

Thus, it enhances the quality and quantity of semen in a male body and is of use to patients of reproductive disorders and infertile couples.

As it moisturizes the internal organs, it helps relieve the burning sensation in visceral organs also.

  1. Beneficial in diabetes

Euryale ferox has plenty of fiber and low content of fats. This is a double benefit for diabetics and people with gastric disorders because fiber helps in the movement of food through the intestines and low fat means lesser sugars are released into the blood stream. Thus, fox nuts improve digestion and make for a fulfilling meal.

  1. Calcium rich

Euryale ferox has good calcium content. Calcium intake is necessary for the health of bones and teeth in the body. If there is a lack of calcium, the bones start to become frail and weak and chances of fracture increase. Pain in bones may result due to weak bones. Ensuring the consumption of fox nuts fulfills the calcium needs of the body and helps the patients of osteoporosis and also other joint problems. This is the reason why it is also used traditionally in the treatment of arthritis.

  1. Good for the kidney

The kidneys function optimally when the pressure of the blood flowing through them is constant or at least maintained. Since Euryale ferox keeps the blood pressure regulated, there is no pressure on the kidneys.  Therefore, fox nuts help the kidneys to function better and relieve any stress on them. This also means it relieves the body of problems like inability to control urine flow (incontinence), frequent urination (polyuria) or kidney failure.

  1. Acts as aphrodisiac

Makhana or fox nut has been traditionally considered as an enhancer of libido in both men and women. However, there are not many researches on this topic and so one can just conclude that since it emancipates the semen quality and amount, it must be good for the love health too.

Who should not eat Makhana or fox nuts

Makhana is not known for any allergic reaction, but it may have a strong astringent action in the body. Thus, one must be a little cautious about the quantity being consumed.

Cold & Flue

If one has cold and flu, it would not be a good idea to consume this food item. Even more if one is on antibiotics of some sort.

Pregnant & breastfeeding women

For pregnant and breastfeeding women, fox nuts should be taken only with doctor’s consultation and generally avoided.

Acute Diarrhea

However, Makhanas are proven beneficial for chronic diarrhea in which patient’s intestines become weak. It provides strength to the intestines, but patients with acute diarrhea or loose stool should avoid fox nuts or Makhana.

Ideal for snacks, filled with lots of nutrients and very good for the body, Euryale ferox is a great food to have. It is tasty as well as beneficial for the body. Bringing Euryale in the diet plan of a person should mean a step towards a wholesome and healthy life.

References
  1. The effect of makhana on myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury
  2. Saturated Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  3. Anti-inflammatory properties of dietary flavonoids
  4. Effects of a 2 Day Lingzhi Diet
  5. Potassium in regulating blood pressure
  6. Dietary potassium and blood pressure
  7. Makhana Benefits, Side Effects, Toxicity and Contraindications

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