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When you’re expecting a baby, there are certain foods that you need to avoid to help the growing child inside you. While some of these food items can drastically affect your health negatively, there are a few that are highly beneficial, especially during this period. One such food is makhana, also called fox nuts or lotus seeds.
What is Makhana?
Makhana, as mentioned, are lotus seeds that are popularly used for medicinal purposes in Asia. It is also used in various cuisines around the continent.
Lotus seeds can be eaten both raw and cooked and they have a lot of nutritional value. Read about some of the health benefits of makhana or fox nut during pregnancy:
Nutritional Value of Makhana
Makhana seeds have plenty of nutritional value attached to them. It is considered one of the healthiest foods for a mother to consume during pregnancy and it is extracted from the lotus flower. Lotus seeds are consumed mainly in South-East and South Asia. Some of the nutrients present in lotus seeds include:
- Vitamin-B complexes
- Amino acids and
The best part about phool makhana during pregnancy is that they can be consumed in many different ways, based on how you want to make them. They can be used in soups, curries, or fried and had as snacks as well.
Makhana Benefits during Pregnancy
Here are some of the benefits of consuming lotus seeds during pregnancy.
1. Treat Insomnia
Makhana seeds are great for treating insomnia. Insomnia may be caused due to a variety of reasons like changing patterns in hormones, stress and food habits. Having makhana seeds can help treat insomnia to an extent because of the presence of isoquinoline alkaloids in them, which cause a calming effect and induce sleep. The antioxidants and vitamins present will regulate the body’s functioning in such a way that a person feels asleep when it is their regular bedtime.
2. Prevent Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea is another problem that can be easily countered with the help of lotus seeds. A lot of women face issues because of changes in hormonal balance. This includes diarrhoea as well, and lotus seeds are said to be a great remedy for the same. Lotus seeds can increase the strength of your digestive system and ensure that food is digested properly during this phase. Eating a few lotus seeds each day during the early stages of pregnancy will help in avoiding diarrhoea and other digestion related issues.
3. Blood Pressure Control
If you have blood pressure issues while pregnant, lotus seeds are perfect for regulating your blood pressure. There is an embryo in the middle of the lotus seed, which has vitamins and provides a cooling effect on the body. The embryos help in keeping the blood flow under control while the other “bitter” component called “isoquinoline” is calming and helps in keeping the veins dilated. They have low sodium, high potassium, and high magnesium quantities, which improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
4. Help in Relieving Painful Gums
If you’re struggling with painful and bleeding gums due to pregnancy, it is because of the hormonal changes that take place in the middle period. Due to excess water retention, the gums can turn sore and painful.
By eating lotus seeds, you can increase the vitamin-B complexes found in the body. The zinc present will help clean and reduce the pain in your gums.
6. Control Weight
While you will pile on the pounds during pregnancy, it can be hard to control your weight. It is important that you eat well, but at the same time, do not overeat. Lotus seeds are excellent during pregnancy because they have a low glycaemic index and will help you feel full after you’ve eaten a few of them. There are a lot of other minerals as well that are present in makhana, so you can get a lot of other nutritional assets as well.
7. Control Blood Sugar
Makhana can also help in controlling the sugar levels in your blood during pregnancy. It is possible that your sugar can rise due to stress as well as hormones, and lotus seeds can help control the same. Lotus seeds are rich in Vitamin B complexes and fibre, and low in calories. These help in burning calories and lowering the glucose levels in your blood.
9. Increase Energy
One of the most annoying feelings, when you’re pregnant, is that of fatigue. It can be very hard to overcome this, especially if you’ve to complete some work. Having lotus seeds is a great way to fight this because they contain iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, protein and vitamins and can help you feel energised through the day.
10. Enhance the Development of the Foetus
Due to the higher levels of protein present in lotus seeds, you can help your foetus develop in the right manner. The protein present, along with other vital nutrients can enhance the central nervous system of the foetus and the vitamins help the baby absorb the other nutrients from the food that it consumes. The growth and development of the foetus are also greatly boosted by eating lotus seeds because there is a lot of minerals and vitamins present in it.
How to Eat Makhana
Many women are confused about how to incorporate makhana into their daily diet. There are in fact, several ways that you can do so, depending on your preference. Here’s how you can eat makhana or lotus seeds during pregnancy.
1. Plain roasted
Makhana is a great substitute for popcorn when eaten plain. All you have to do is lightly roast them in a spoon of butter or ghee. You can also add some salt, chilli powder or any other seasoning for a nice flavour.
Makhana is not just a nutritive addition to kheer, but can also help thicken it when added. Simply roast some plain makhana, as mentioned above, crush them, and add to the kheer, five minutes before you finish cooking it.
Roast some plain makhana and blend it into a fine paste. Now, mix this in with the other ingredients in the recipe, and there you have it, a healthy laddu for you to enjoy.
If you’ve been wanting to know, “Is makhana good for pregnancy?,” then your answer is clear – YES! Makhana is an excellent source of nutrients for the body and mind. It has multiple health benefits and is one of the main reasons that a lot of ancient Asian cultures advocate its consumption. Having makhana will help you regulate your weight, keep blood pressure under control and so much more, so don’t hesitate the next time you feel like eating it.
Also Read: Eating Peanuts during Pregnancy