What you see in the picture is 2 handfuls of fox nuts (Phool Makhana) being roasted with 1 – 2 teaspoons of ghee. The result is a very crunchy, crisp and wonderful native Super food which has many wonderful health giving properties.
Euryale ferox is described in Ayurveda as having properties very similar to Padma beeja (Lotus seeds) – this explains why the common term for Euryale ferox, a species of water lily is referred to as “Phool Makhana” a term more common to lotus and its by products.
Because it is a dietary powerhouse, the Fox nut is slowly making a comeback in India mainly for its versatile nature, its crispy texture when shallow fried and its bland taste which makes it suitable to be transformed into both sweet and salty dishes.
In earlier times, many of these uncommon foods would find their way into our homes at 2 times: as a vrat / upwas food and in Prasad. Even now, in traditional homes in India, during vrat (fasting) for Navratri or even Ekadashi, Fox nut is eaten instead of cereals and grains. It is also a very common auspicious food / Prasad, offered in Devi Mandirs in India, where it is soaked and sweetened and offered to devotees as Prasad.
Makhana is considered very similar in property to Padma Beeja (lotus seeds) and has been described in many Ayurvedic texts including from ancient times. The Charaka Samhita, compiled atleast 2500 years ago, classifies Makhana in the “shaka varga” (vegetable varieties) and classifies it as an aquatic “Shaka” (vegetable). Ayurvedic scholars like Professor PV Sharma opine that Makhana has been referred to even in the Atharva Veda as “Andika” an aquatic plant.
Ayurvedic properties of Makhana:
Makhana is said to have a “Madhura” (sweet) rasa after digestion and is described as “Sheeta veerya” (having cold potency), “Guru” (heavy in nature) and “Snigdha” (oily or unctuous). It balances Vata and Pitta dosha because of these properties.
It is considered “Vrushya” (vigour improving and an aphrodisiac), Balya (promotes strength and improves immunity), Grahi (absorbent and reduces watery diarrhoea), and “Garba Samsthapaka” – ensures a safe pregnancy.
Nutritional Profile of Makhana:
Makhana is rich in calcium and is said to have calming properties to bring down restlessness and insomnia (both classical vata aggravation symptoms). Makhana has a very high free radical scavenging activity and is a good anti oxidant. Makhana is said to contain both anti inflammatory and anti aging flavenoids and an anti aging enzyme that helps repair damaged protein structures within the body. Besides this, the seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc.
Contraindications for Makhana consumption:
Makhana should not be consumed if Kapha is very high, if the person is already constipated (as it increases constipation) and in any bloating disease.
Who can consume Makhana?
Everyone except the above set of people. Makhana is very safe and is indicated for consumption in pregnancy and lactation and for children. Makhana is also a good food to consume if you are trying to conceive (for both Men and women) as it improves fertility and chances of conception.
Makhana is also a good food to consume if you are showing signs of excess pitta (premature greying, hair thinning, high BP, stress) and if you are showing signs of excess vata (insomnia, restlessness, inability to sleep, fluctuating appetite, weight loss, dry hair and skin).
Makhana is also a good food to introduce to growing children. It can be an excellent substitute for unhealthy fried food like chips and popcorn.
To improve the Vata and Pitta quenching properties of Makhana, we usually shallow fry the Makhana in ghee. You need to use 1 – 2 teaspoons of ghee and simply move the Makhana across your frying pan – in 2 – 3 minutes, the Makhana becomes very crisp and crunchy and ready for addition into any food.
Suggestions for including Makhana in the diet:
- As a quick breakfast cereal substitute: Makhana makes a great substitute to hollow processed breakfast cereals. After preparing it as suggested above, you can eat it dunked in warm milk. This is a surprisingly filling and satisfying breakfast.
- As an addition to any cooked Indian breakfast dish(Upma, Poha) or even rice dish (Biryani Pulao),– you can add prepared Makhana once your main dish is done to amp up the nutritional content of the dish
- Makhana also makes a great addition to any Raita when it is semi powdered
- As a snack substitute to Potato Chips and Popcorn
As we have mentioned, the key to achieving good health, great skin and great hair is 3 pronged: The right food, Right Regimen and the right set of products work TOGETHER to give you the results that you need.
Hope you found this post interesting and insightful. I also hope this post inspired you to introduce the Phool Makhana into your diet.