Lotus is a symbol in many Asian cultures, especially Indian, Japanese, Chinese, and Egyptian. The flower denotes various life values like rebirth, fruitfulness, enlightenment, and spirituality. In Buddhism, the lotus flower signifies purity and desire.
Lotus Seeds are also called Makhanas (In Hindi) or Fox nuts (In English), derived from the Euryale Fox plant that grows in the wetland or ponds or the stagnant water in and around Eastern Asia so the plant is also known as Aquatic Plant that belongs to Nelumbonaceae plant family.
Chinese medicine has been using Lotus seeds for more than 3000 years, which is why they are the largest producer of lotus seeds in the world.
In China, they see the lotus plant as a symbol of health and harmony. The plant has a significant role in Ayurveda medicine too.
In India, Phool Makhana has been used as an essential ingredient in various religious activities and rituals. The roasted lotus seeds are highly consumed during the fasting during Navratri (a famous Indian Religious Festival) and other days.
Other than India and China, the lotus plant’s parts like flowers, seeds, and roots are used in medicinal preparations in various Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
The lotus seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, ground (powder), boiled syrup, and a paste.
The lotus seeds or fox nuts are rich in nutrition (the reason why they added to the fasting diet in India) and possess many health benefits. The seeds play an essential role in the cosmetics industry and are added to various drinks and desserts like tea, juice, honey, and cakes.
What Are Lotus Seeds or Fox Nuts?
Lotus seeds, also known as Lotus nuts, are the seeds derived from the Lotus Plant called Nelumbo Nucifera. The lotus plant has different names like a Chinese water lily, Indian lotus, and Sacred lotus. It is not only an edible plant or symbol of cultures but also a medicinal plant.
The parts of lotus plants are often eaten and used for medical practices in many Asian countries. The plant also grows in popular western countries like America and Australia, where it is used as holistic medicine and healing treatments.
A study published by Frontiers in Plant Science in June 2016 evaluated and showed that lotus plants are entirely edible and nutritious; still, the lotus seeds boast extreme health benefits and properties. The flavonoid content and alkaloid content found in lotus seeds are making it a capable medicinal plant. The seeds also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-amnesic properties.
How Do Makhanas (Lotus Seeds) Look Like?
Makhanas are nuts or seeds in the round to oval shape. The seeds are present within the head of lotus seeds that are dark green colored and arranged in a row. The color of the seeds is green when fresh, which becomes creamy yellow when dried. The shell over the seeds becomes harder as they grow, and the coating can be removed.
How Is Makhana (Lotus Seeds) Good for Health?
Lotus seeds – aka -Fox nuts are good for heart health as they contain low saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol levels. The rich source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and protein in the lotus seeds make it nutrition filled and clinically proven healthy snack food.
The lotus seeds protect the body from various ailments. The seeds are low in calories so they can help in weight loss, and the high calcium content in the seeds improves bone health. The seeds also detoxify the body, regulate the blood pressure, offer better digestion, and have anti-aging properties that help reduce wrinkles, pimples, or scars and slow down aging.
Common Names of Lotus Seeds (Fox Nuts)
- Botanical Name: Nelumbo Nucifera
- English Name: Lotus Seeds, Lotus Nuts, Fox Nuts
- Chinese Name: 蓮子/Liánzǐ
- Japanese Name: 蓮の実/Hasu no mi
- Indonesian Name: biji teratai
- Thai Name: เมล็ดบัว/Mel̆d bạw
- Tamil Name: தாமரை விதைகள் / Thamarai Vidhaigal
- Malayalam Name: താമര വിത്തുകൾ/Tāmara vittukaḷ
- Telugu Name: తామర విత్తనాలు/Tāmara vittanālu
- Kannada Name: ಕಮಲದ ಬೀಜಗಳು/Kamalada bījagaḷu
- Hindi Name: कमल के बीज/kamal ke beej
- Marathi Name: कमळ बियाणे/Kamaḷa biyāṇē
- Punjabi Name: ਕਮਲ ਦੇ ਬੀਜ/Kamala dē bīja
- Gujarati Name: કમળના દાણા/Kamaḷanā dāṇā
- Bengali Name: পদ্মের বীজ/Padmēra bīja
- Urdu Name: کمل کے بیج
- Arabic Name: بذور اللوتس
25 Health Benefits of Lotus Seeds (Makhanas/Fox Nuts)
Lotus seeds or Fox nuts play an important role in Asia’s traditional medicine systems. The lotus seeds dry powder can be added to bread dough that enhances the nutritional properties of bread.
These lotus seeds have been used as traditional medicine in treating inflammation, diuretics, cancer, and skin diseases. It can also handle various ailments like indigestion, insomnia, diarrhea, palpitations, and more.
The size of the seeds may be small, but the health benefits they provide are incredibly high, and that’s why it is the highest-selling dry snack food that anyone can munch on anytime.
1. Weight Loss
Lotus seeds are low in glycemic index and high in protein, so they help you stay full for a long time and prevent adequate eating; thus, it promotes weight loss and helps to avoid sudden increase in blood sugar levels. The protein content of the lotus seeds boosts metabolism.
The low-calorie content of lotus seeds makes it an ideal healthy snack for all ages of people. The saturated fat also lows in lotus seeds that help improve the overall health and well being.
For instance, a cup of lotus seeds contains 83 relatively low calories, so you can put much on the nuts between your meals.
2. Improved Heart Health
Lotus seeds have two trace minerals that are important for heart health. They are Potassium and Magnesium. If the magnesium levels in your body are low, you will be affected by heart diseases, as this mineral is vital to maintain the regular heartbeat. The magnesium also purifies the blood and oxygen in the body.
High potassium in lotus seeds helps lower high blood pressure and maintain cardiac health. At the same time, the low sodium levels help keep the blood pressure level at normal levels.
Folate is an essential vitamin that aids health, and this vitamin is significant to lower the homocysteine levels in your body. If the homocysteine levels are increased, the blood vessels will be damaged, and you will be prone to heart diseases and stroke.
3. Improved Bone Strength
We must have enough calcium content in our body to maintain bone health. Most people nowadays have back pain, shoulder pain, and knee pain due to insufficient calcium in their bones. Luckily, lotus seeds are rich in calcium that can be eaten in any way and improve bone health by giving enough calcium to your body.
4. Anti-aging Properties
Lotus seeds contain Enzymes that can fight against aging. L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, an enzyme that aids in maintaining and treating the damaged proteins. It boosts collagen synthesis in your body.
You can check that most cosmetics nowadays have included lotus seeds as powder form in their products to prevent aging and give youthful skin by vanishing the fine lines and wrinkles.
The regular consumption of lotus seeds prevents free radicals, healing the dead skin cells and making it smooth and healthy. The natural flavonoid named Kaempferol in lotus seeds helps in anti-aging. The flavonoids help to get rid of aging symptoms like grey hair, hair loss, and wrinkles. The vitamin package of lotus seeds helps heal the early aging symptoms and prevent premature aging.
5. Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Lotus seeds are a source of protein and good carbohydrates. With low glycemic content, lotus nuts can help in managing blood sugar levels. The level of the glycemic index is relatively lower than other staple foods.
As low sodium and high magnesium food, lotus seeds are the right diet to treat diabetes and obesity. Diabetic patients can eat dried or roasted lotus nuts in the evening as a snack. The minerals present in these seeds proved to aid factors that cause Type II diabetes.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is what causes diabetes; fortunately, lotus nuts can contribute to stabilizing the blood pressure and prevent a sudden spike in sugar levels in the blood.
The seeds control the body’s insulin levels and maintain the right range of glucose levels in the blood.
6. Detox Agents
Lotus seeds have an anti-toxic property and detoxifying agents, so the intake of seeds helps remove toxins from the body. RBCs in the body are recycled by the spleen, and the new WBCs with platelets are retained. Lotus nuts act as a great detoxifier to treat spleen and help in detoxifying the blood.
7. Better Digestive Health
Being a source of Fiber, fox nuts help maintain good digestive health. Adding them in your regular diet helps regulate the bowel movement, avoid constipation, and ingestion.
The antioxidant properties of the lotus seeds make it easy digestive food, and they also improve the respiratory system.
The detoxifying agents of lotus seeds prevent kidneys and liver from their accumulation and maintain wellness.
8. Improved Cognitive Function
Fox nuts contain thiamine contents also. With this, the nuts support the cognitive functions of the nerves. The consumption of these nuts also aids in acetylcholine generation and helps in the process of neurotransmission.
9. Source of Protein
Lotus nuts are a great alternative food of protein for vegans or vegetarians. They usually rely on soya or paneer for the source of protein. Those can now eat lotus seeds as raw, fried, or roasted to increase the protein in your body. For instance, a cup of roasted lotus seeds contains 3.9 grams of protein content sufficient to improve muscular health and cell growth.
10. Gluten Safe
Lotus seeds are free of gluten, so you can add them without any doubt and improve overall wellness.
11. Brimming With Folate
Folate is the essential nutrient for DNA synthesis and cell division in the human body. The nutrient is necessary for pregnant women in their first trimester to promote the baby’s brain development.
It is necessary to prevent neural tube defects in newborn babies since preconception. A cup of lotus seeds has around 50% of the daily requirement of Folate.
12. Prevent Inflammation
Lotus seeds exhibit antioxidant kaempferol that aids in stopping inflammation and remove the free radicals that are harmful to our body.
The seeds are filled with soothing properties, and that is why Chinese medicine practices using the plant to treat buries, wounds, and cuts and prevent the spread of infection.
13. Promotes Sleep
The lotus seeds can treat sleeping disorders like insomnia and sleep apnoea that can make you prone to face various psychological health issues.
Fox nuts can possess a calming effect on our mind when intaking. The seeds also have an antispasmodic property, which helps to relax your nerves; thus, you get better sleep at night. The seeds are helpful in the dilatation process of the blood vessels and provide better relief from anxiety and depression as these are the significant reasons for sleeping disorders. The isoquinoline alkaloids present in the seeds is the reason for this effect.
14. Treats Diarrhea
In Chinese medicine, the sweet taste of lotus seeds nourishes the spleen and treats diarrhea. The seeds are also given to improve the spleen health in the patients. As the lotus seeds work as a great digestive agent, it helps to treat diarrhea also.
15. Reducing Blood Pressure
The embryo present in the lotus seeds has a bitter taste and cooling effect. This bitter component benefits the heart health, and isoquinoline alkaloids that possess calming effect and antispasmodic property and aid dilate blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure.
Additionally, potassium and sodium contents in lotus seeds help stabilize and maintain the blood pressure levels in the right range.
16. Treat Urinary Problem
For urinary problems, lotus seeds are natural remedies that are safe and easy to take. The seeds can be eaten with other ingredients to treat urinary problems like prostatitis and reproductive conditions.
The enzymes present in the lotus seeds promote proper urination and heal infections in the urinary tract. In case of pain while urination, consult your doctor before consuming lotus seeds.
17. Gum Issue
Gum bleeding is a common oral problem that affects anyone. To avoid the excessive gum bleeding, add the lotus seeds in your daily diet. Harsh brushing and gum weakness are the reasons for gum bleeding.
The healing properties of lotus seeds prevent bleeding and reduce the irritation on the gums.
18. Instant Energy
Lotus seeds are a good source of magnesium, calcium, protein, potassium, and phosphorus. They increase the energy level quickly so you can carry them while traveling as they are a healthy, tasty, and nutritious snack that potentially replaces processed and sugar-filled beverages.
The seeds can be eaten raw as pop-corns or roasted with a little oil and eaten. The seeds are easy to eat and digest, so any age of people can eat this. You can give this as a snack to your kids for school also.
Lotus seeds are highly recommended for pregnant women as they have a high amount of protein necessary for the healthy development of the fetus’s brain and nervous system. Pregnant women can eat the seeds 2 to 3 times a day with a specific interval time advised by the doctor.
20. Improves Appetite
Loss of appetite or low appetite is caused due to illness, mostly in children. The high amount of astringent found in lotus seeds naturally helps bring back or develop the appetite in a person. Most pediatricians recommend taking natural remedies to treat appetite problems in children. Adults can also eat lotus seeds to balance irregular appetites.
21. Treats Mouth Sores and Ulcers
Lotus seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that help to treat sore mouth and ulcer. The soothing components of the seeds help alleviate these conditions.
22. Cures Fatty Liver
Sometimes, because of anxieties and stress, we develop unhealthy fat. When the food we take is not digested properly, the fat is gathered in parts of the body. The fat accumulated in and around the body’s organs is called Visceral fat, which causes daunting health issues. The medicinal properties of the lotus seeds can reduce blood lipids and cure fatty liver.
23. Controls Excessive Bleeding
As discussed above, lotus nuts contain flavonoids like quercetin that show anti-hemorrhagic properties and help improve the power of capillary walls and prevent excessive bleeding. The charcoal of lotus seeds enhances the hemorrhagic effect, and it has medicinal properties that can promote blood clotting during excessive bleeding.
24. Treats Ulcers
The anti-inflammatory and cooling effects of lotus seeds helps in reducing the pain due to ulcer and soothing contents of the seeds heals the vigor of ulcer.
25. Alleviates Stomach Problems
Lotus seeds are the most common home remedies in Chinese medicine that are used to cure stomach problems like ingestion, vomit, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
In this 21st century, we can avoid taking processed foods, fried items, and street junk foods, but we can equalize the damage we developed while eating unhealthy foods with natural healthy foods. Lotus nuts are also healthy snacks that improve spleen health and alleviate various digestion and stomach problems.
Traditional Benefits of Lotus Seeds
♣ Lotus seeds are sweet and neutral, so these are mentioned as astringents that improve the health conditions of the heart, kidney, and spleen.
♣ The nourishing properties and sweet taste are why the lotus seeds are highly recommended and effective in benefiting the spleen. The lotus seeds can also prevent chronic diarrhea that is associated with qi deficiency.
♣ Being an astringent, lotus seeds help stop the loss of essence in kidneys, so men who have weak sexual function and women who have leukorrhea can eat lotus seeds.
♣The calming and soothing properties of lotus seeds relax muscles, reduce stress, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and palpitations.
Nutritional Values of Lotus Seeds (Fox Nuts)
The nutritional values of 100 grams Lotus Seeds.
|Calories||88.73 cal (Raw) / 347 cal (Dried)|
|Protein||4.12 g (Raw) / 9.7 g (Dried)|
|Fat||0.7 (Raw) / 1.7 (Dried)|
|Carbohydrates||17.28 g (Raw) / 76.9 g (Dried)|
|Fiber||14.5 g (Dried)|
|Sodium||1.10 mg (Raw) / 5 mg (Dried)|
|Potassium||366 mg (Raw) / 1367 mg (Dried)|
|Manganese||0.621 mg (Raw)|
|Phosphorus||168 mg (Raw)|
|Vitamin B1||0.171 mg (Raw)|
|Vitamin B6||0.168 mg (Raw)|
|Magnesium||56 mg (Raw)|
|Tryptophan||0.059 g (Raw)|
|Threonine||0.2 g (Raw)|
|Isoleucine||0.205 g (Raw)|
|Leucine||0.326 g (Raw)|
|Lysine||0.264 g (Raw)|
|Methionine||0.072 g (Raw)|
By consuming 100 grams of dried Lotus seeds, you can get around 350 calories, 63 to 68 grams of carbohydrates, 17 to 18 g of protein, 1.9 to 2.5 fat, 13% water, and minerals potassium, calcium, sodium, and phosphorus.
One ounce serving of lotus seeds offers 5 grams of protein, so these are a highly rich source of protein.
How to Consume Lotus Seeds
Fresh lotus seeds are also nutty to eat. These are available for sale with their seed heads. We have to remove the seeds from the cone-shaped seed heads, and the shell is rubbery.
The lotus seeds can be roasted or fried with little olive oil or ghee when popped like popcorn. The roasted seeds, then tossed with little black salt, can be a great snack while traveling.
The puffed or roasted lotus seeds are also added to Indian dishes like Makhana Kheer, Makhana Chops, and Creamy Mushroom Makhana.
Thamchet is the local name of lotus seeds in Manipur, India, where they eat them raw.
Many Chinese and Japanese desserts include lotus seeds paste as the main ingredient.
Lotus seeds can be dried and soaked in water for a night and added to salads, soups, and other dishes.
Crystallized lotus seeds are the popular Chinese snack that they prepare, especially during Chinese New Year. The lotus seeds are dried and cooked in syrup that gives the crystal look to the seeds.
The dried lotus seeds are the common snack for sale in Surin. They called the lotus seeds ‘Med-bua-op.’
They use lotus seeds to make various delicious desserts.
In South America:
Colombia people commonly add lotus seeds in their snack list while they head out. Lotus seeds are popular in Cartagena and Barranquilla cities in Colombia.
The unripped lotus seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, or boiled, and the ripped lotus seeds can be roasted or boiled.
The popped, soaked, roasted, boiled, fried, powdered, pasted, or dried lotus seeds can be added to many foods, sweetmeats, desserts, soups, cakes, bread, etc.
How to Store Lotus Seeds
Dried lotus seeds are easy to keep and store for a long time. You can store the dried lotus seeds in a plastic container and keep it in a dry, cool place. Make sure the lid is tightened when not used.
Fresh lotus seeds can be stored in zip lock bags and kept in the refrigerator. It is essential to maintain freshness for a few weeks. But early usage is recommended.
Recipes of Lotus Seeds/Makhanas
The regular consumption of Lotus seeds (Makhana) is highly beneficial to anyone. Try the below delicious recipes at your home and enjoy the incredible taste and benefits.
Popped or roasted Makhana or Lotus seeds goes great with a cup of coffee in the evening.
- Makhana (Lotus Seeds) – 100 grams
- Olive oil – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder
- Salt and Black pepper to taste
- Take a heavy base pan, roast the seeds without oil on low to medium flame for about 10 minutes.
- Make a paste of oil, a pinch of turmeric powder, salt, and pepper.
- Now, add the mixture into the roasted seeds and stir it for a few minutes to allow spices mixed with the seeds.
- You can eat it hot or cool down and store in a container and tighten the lid.
Makhana Kheer (Sugar-free)
Sugar-free Makhana kheer is one of the best healthy diabetic recipes with 65.1 calories, 3.5 grams of protein, 2 grams of fats, 8.5 grams of Carbohydrates, and 0.6 grams of Fiber in 100 grams of Makhana.
- Low-fat milk – 1 ltr
- Makhana (puffed) – 1/4 cup
- Dates – 3 to 4 (Finely chopped)
- Pistachios – 1 tsp (Chopped)
- Almonds – 2 tsp (Chopped)
- Green Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp
- Nutmeg Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Rost the lotus nuts till crisp without oil.
- Cool it completely and grind the seeds coarsely.
- Take a non-stick pan and boil the milk.
- After the milk boiled, add chopped dates and coarsely ground lotus nuts, mix everything, and cook the mixture for 2 to 5 minutes on medium heat.
- Add chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds), nutmeg powder, mix well and drink warm or cold.
Serving – 3 | Preparation Time – 5 Minutes | Cooking Time – 5 Minutes
- Makhana – 1 cup
- Low-fat Yogurt – 2 cups
- Cumin Powder (Roasted) – 1/2 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder -1/2 tsp
- Chaat Masala – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Coriander Leaves (Chopped) – 2 tbsp
- Take a non-stick pan and dry roast the seeds about 5 minutes till crisp and cool it completely.
- Store the roasted seeds in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin on it and crush the seeds until it becomes coarse but don’t make it to a powder consistency.
- Whisk the yogurt till it becomes smooth.
- Add all the spices and salt with makhanas and stir it for a few minutes.
- Garnish the raita with fresh coriander leaves and serve it cool.
Serving – 3 | Preparation Time – 10 Minutes | Cooking Time – 20 Minutes
- Makhana (Lotus nuts) – 1 cup
- Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
- Cloves – 3
- Cardamom – 1
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Coriander Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Low-fat Yogurt – 1/4 cup
- Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp (Chopped)
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste (For onion tomato paste)
- Onion – 1 big (Chopped coarsely)
- Tomatoes – 3 (Chopped coarsely)
- Ginger – 1-inch piece (Chopped)
- Garlic – 3 cloves (Chopped)
- Cashews – 6 to 7
- Take a pan and add a cup of water, put onions, tomatoes, cashews, ginger, and garlic in it, and boil. Cool it down and grind into a paste.
- Take a non-stick pan and dry roast the makhanas for about 5 minutes.
- Add ghee in a pan, add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin.
- Once the cumin seeds have cracked out, add the onion-tomato paste, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add all the spices except garam masala, saute for a few minutes, then add a cup of water, and boil it.
- Add and whisk the curd.
- Add roasted makhanas and let it cook for 2 minutes and stir in between. Let the seeds absorb the spices and gravy. Add water if needed.
- Add garam masala and coriander leaves. Serve it hot.
Dosage of Lotus Seeds (Fox Nuts)
Dosage of Lotus seeds (in any form) vary based on a few factors such as health conditions, age, medical history, and requirements. But, the general dosage recommended for lotus seed powder is between 250 mg and 3 grams.
Side Effects of Lotus Seeds
Though lotus seeds offer many health benefits and nutritional values, we have to take precautions while eating them to avoid unnecessary side effects.
For most of the people, seeds of plants that grow entirely in water are allergenic. If you develop any allergy symptoms in the consumption of lotus seeds, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Moreover, those who have allergy problems better to talk to your physician before taking the seeds.
Lotus seeds are naturally anti-arrhythmic. So, if you are taking treatment for arrhythmia, you should avoid or consult the doctors before consumption.
Blood Sugar Levels
Lotus seeds help reduce the sugar levels in the blood. So, diabetic patients who are on insulin should contact the doctor before eating the seeds.
Any healthy food in high dosage can cause digestive problems, so do lotus seeds. Eating excessive nuts in time causes flatulence, constipation, and bloating.