Flavoured, Packaged Makhana - Gimmicky or Healthy? Experts Answer
The market is flooded with several ready-to-eat makhana in different flavours, but are they a healthy snack?
There is no disputing the health benefits of makhana or fox nuts. Because they are high in potassium and low on magnesium, they are advised for people suffering with high blood pressure. They are also a very good source of Vitamin A and are great for the eyes. All of this makes them a healthy, tasty snack, especially when compared to other fried, high on sugar or salt alternatives.
Nutritionist Kavita Devgan comments on this and says:
Makhana are a brilliant snack. They have a low Glycemic Index, are gluten free and a rich source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin B1.
Ritika Samaddar, regional head, dietetics, Max Hospital, New Delhi, also comments on the health benefits of makhana.
Traditional makhana are made out of lotus stem flowers, making them high in protein and fibre. Therefore, they are considered to be a healthy carbohydrate in comparison to other cereals or snacks available in the market.
Packaged Makhana - Good or Evil?
The market is flooded with several ready-to-eat makhana in different flavours for a decent price. From pudina and lemon, to cheese and onion to tandoori masala - these are just some of the flavours makhana retail in.
So, could munching on this packed wonder snack be our road to fitness? Kavita answers:
My problem with packaged makhana is that they tend to be very high in sodium. And that turns the original low in sodium and high in potassium food that is perfect to tune our body’s electrolyte balance and keep the blood pressure low, into a snack that might actually increase your sodium consumption.
Ritika adds to it and points out that the majority of makhana being sold in the market are indeed high in salt, fats and calories on the whole. It’s also important to choose dry makhana over fried ones, she says.
A diet high on sodium is likely to cause hypertension and cardiovascular problems. However, this does not mean that we need to ring the alarm bells just yet.
The idea is to remember that one of the flip sides of eating packaged makhana is their sodium content. If that is something you are balancing out in the rest of your diet, they are not such a bad idea for a snack.
Yay or Nay: Experts’ Verdict
Long story short - packaged makhana are a good snacking option, but the homemade version is definitely better. Also, remember to not go overboard with either of the two.
Obviously, eating home-roasted makhana is a healthier option than eating artificially-flavoured or packaged makhana, which are high in salt and trans-fat. But that said, as an emergency snack, they are good to pick up as they are far better than other packaged options available in the market.
Ritika points out that it’s important to read the label on the back of the packet. Be wary of everything you put in your mouth.
As a mandatory rule by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), the nutritional value of a food is written on the package. Therefore, people should go through the label and in case the ingredients are high in fat, calories or salt, it shouldn’t be bought.Ritika Samadar
A Little Makhana Recipe
In case you want to ditch packaged makhana for ones fried at home, here’s how easy it is. Simply frying them in ghee along with salt and pepper is a great way of keeping the body full. You can also add some coriander powder and rai for an extra zing.
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