Is It Safe To Eat Lotus Seeds (Makhana) During Pregnancy?

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Lotus seeds are a low-calorie food commonly used for medicinal purposes in Asia. Since they are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron, their intake is highly recommended for nursing moms. However, you may wonder if it is safe to eat lotus seeds during pregnancy. Read on as we give you the answer in this post.

Lotus seeds are often confused with popped seeds from the prickly water lily plant, also known as fox nut or makhana. The confusion happens because both the seeds look alike and have almost identical nutritional profiles. Besides, both are tasteless and fluffy and make a healthy snack option for people across ages.
Keep scrolling as we tell you all you need to know about lotus seeds and their benefits and side effects during pregnancy.

Is It Safe To Eat Makhana (Fox Nut) During Pregnancy?

Lotus seeds are rich in Calcium, Magnesium and Iron

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Yes, it is safe to eat fox nuts, as they have a high nutritional value. They are rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, B vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. These nutrients are especially good for expectant moms who are at higher risk of hypertension and gestational diabetes, and for fetal development.

However, you should eat them in moderation to stay healthy and avoid complications. Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional value of these seeds.

Nutritional value of makhana (Lotus seeds)

According to the USDA, the nutrition present in 100g of raw Lotus seeds is as follows (1):

NUTRIENTAMOUNT
Water77g
Calories89kcal
Carbohydrates17.28g
Protein4.13g
Fat0.53g
Vitamins
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)0.171mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.040mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)0.429mg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)0.168mg
Folic acid (Vitamin B9)28mcg
Electrolytes
Potassium367mg
Sodium1mg
Minerals
Calcium44mg
Iron0.95mg
Magnesium56mg
Zinc0.28mg
Phosphorus168mg
Lipids
Total saturated fatty acids0.088g
Total monounsaturated fatty acids0.104g
Total polyunsaturated fatty acids0.312g

g=grams; mg=milligrams; mcg=micrograms; IU=international unit

Benefits Of Eating Makhana (Lotus Seeds) During Pregnancy

Here are the benefits of lotus seeds during pregnancy:

  1. Helps sleep better: Lotus seeds could help you sleep because of their mild sedative properties. The vitamins and antioxidants in the seeds also regulate the functioning of the body, allowing you a regular sleep routine (2).
  1. Controls diarrhea: Makhana can be a remedy for diarrhea caused by hormonal imbalance in pregnant women. The fox nuts contain small amounts of alkaloids that contribute to the antispasmodic action of the intestines, thereby alleviating diarrhea (3).
  1. Helps regulate blood pressure: The embryo of lotus seeds contains a bitter component called “isoquinoline,” which calms and dilates the blood vessels, thereby helping in controlling blood pressure (3).
  1. Hydrates skin: Lotus seeds are known for skin-hydrating properties and keep it moisturized from within (4). Lotus seeds tea might help prevent loss of skin moisture, reduce abnormal keratinocytes formation and inhibit protein oxidation.
Having lotus seeds during pregnancy hydratres your skin

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Regulates blood sugars: Sugar levels in the blood could elevate during pregnancy. Makhana contains B complex vitamins, high fiber and low calories that might help in burning calories and lowering blood glucose levels (5).
  1. Aids fetal development: Lotus seeds are a rich source of proteins, which is necessary for the development of the fetal brain and nervous system (6).

How To Eat Makhana During Pregnancy?

Fox nuts can be used to make popcorn

Image: Shutterstock

You may prefer eating them both raw and cooked. Here is how you can enjoy the tasty makhana in your diet.

  • Make delicious popcorn with the flavor of your choice by adding salt, butter or honey
  • Stir fry with some oil or ghee and sprinkle spices for a yummy snack
  • Also, use in sweet dishes such as rice porridge

How Much Makhana Can Be Eaten In A Day?

You may take about two to three handfuls of lotus seeds to yield the benefits mentioned earlier. Makhana could also cause certain side effects in a few pregnant women.

What Could Be The Side Effects Of Eating Makhana During Pregnancy?

Confirm with your OB-GYN if you're allergic to fox nuts

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Your doctor may have a few valid reasons when he or she tells you not to include fox nuts in your diet.

  • They tend to reduce blood sugar levels. If you already have diabetes, you should be careful of not eating them in excess.
  • Some people may have allergies to seeds. In case you feel uneasy upon their consumption, stop eating them and consult your doctor.

Keep reading for a few Makhana (lotus seeds) recipes you might want to try during pregnancy.

Pregnancy-Friendly Makhana Recipes

1. Phool makhana curry (lotus seeds gravy)

You will need:

  • 1 cup makhana
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2tsp red chili powder
  • 1tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2tsp turmeric powder
  • 1tsp spice blend (garam masala)
  • 1/4tsp cumin seeds
  • 2tbsp oil
  • Salt for taste
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

For paste:

  • 1 large onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1tsp poppy seeds
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 1tsp oil

How to make:

For making the paste:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add sliced onions and saute them.
  2. Add chopped pieces of ginger, garlic and saute until they change their color.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and add cashews, poppy seeds and mix properly.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool, and transfer into a blender.
  5. Make a smooth paste by adding some water and set it aside.

For making curry:

  1. Heat the pan, and add lotus seeds. Roast them until they turn crunchy. Keep them aside.
  2. Heat some oil in the pan and add cumin seeds. Allow them to sizzle.
  3. Add onions and saute them for a minute. Then add the onion paste and cook for two minutes.
  4. Add the pureed tomato, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric and mix properly.
  5. Cook the mixture on a low flame for four to five minutes until the oil separates.
  6. Add peas, salt, and half a cup of water. Mix well and simmer for five minutes.
  7. Add the roasted lotus seeds, simmer for one more minute and turn off the heat.
  8. As the mixture cools down, the makhana will absorb the water and the curry thickens.
  9. Before eating, reheat the curry, top with coriander leaves and have with rice or roti.

2. Atta gond makhana laddoo

You will need:

  • ½ cup makhana (fried and blended)
  • 1/4 cup edible gum, Gond (fried and blended)
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar powder
  • 1 cup ghee
  • 2tbsp almonds
  • 2tbsp cashew nuts
  • ½ cup jaggery
  • 1tbsp pista

How to make:

  1. In a pan, add ghee, wheat flour and roast over a low flame until it turns brown.
  2. Turn off the flame, and add sugar powder, almonds, cashew nuts, edible gum, jaggery, and blended makhana.
  3. Take small portions of the mix, and roll into balls.
  4. Top the laddoos with pista, and enjoy while they’re still fresh.

3. Makhana kheer

Makhana kheer is a delicious recipe

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • 3 cups makhana
  • 6 cups milk
  • 5 almonds (chopped)
  • 8-10 raisins
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2tsp cardamom powder
  • ½ tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2tsp pure ghee

How to make:

  1. Fry the lotus seeds in ghee and crush them.
  2. In a pan, add crushed makhana, milk and cook on slow flame for five to ten minutes.
  3. Add grated coconut and continue cooking for some more time while stirring frequently.
  4. As it gets thick, add sweetened condensed milk and cook for five more minutes until you reach the preferred consistency.
  5. Add cardamom powder, top with almonds and raisins.
  6. You can have it hot or cold.

Will Makhana Help In Recovery After Miscarriage?

Lotus seeds will tone the spleen and kidneys, building up the energy or Qi and blood that helps in stopping the bleeding associated with miscarriage. If you have a history of miscarriage, you might consider taking makhana as they help restore energy within the body (7).

Lotus seeds are rich in calcium, iron, B vitamins, and many other nutrients. Therefore they play a key role in promoting better sleep, controlling diarrhea, and helping fetal development. You can also consider eating lotus seeds during pregnancy as they help maintain health and overall well-being. However, it helps if you are careful about overconsumption because it may cause constipation, bloating, and allergies. Always consult a doctor before consuming lotus seeds during pregnancy, and if you notice any side effects, it is better to avoid them.

Infographic: Other Parts Of Lotus That Are Safe To Consume During Pregnancy

The stem and roots of the lotus plant are edible. But are they safe to be consumed during pregnancy? We will explore the answer to this question in the following infographic. So, read on to learn about pregnancy-safe parts of the lotus plant and how you can include them in your diet.

lotus during pregnancy [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different...
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Dr. Shikha Sharma

(MBBS)
Celebrity nutrition advisor Dr. Shikha Sharma has founded Dr. Shikha’s Nutrihealth in 1998. Dr. Shikha has done her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College and her organization, Dr. Shikha's NutriHealth, has over 50 Ayurveda experts and nutritionists who provide consultation services to the clients. The Nutrihealth expert team handles weight loss/weight gain, PCOS, thyroid, diabetes, cholesterol, post-pregnancy weight loss and...
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