Some Nutrition Science For You: Popcorn’s Growing Rival

A corn kernel is all it takes to create one of the most beloved snacks of all time: popcorn. However, a lotus seed is all it takes to create one of popcorn’s growing rivals: popped lotus seeds. 

The lotus seed (also known as the lotus nut) comes from lotus plants found in various parts of Asia, especially south Asia (India). They have been used in Ayurvedic practices and Chinese medicine in the past as well as in a paste used in several East Asian desserts. They have also been a long-time snack in India, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that entrepreneurs started realizing that these seeds – in “popcorn” form – have the potential to be in high demand around the world. 

Euryale ferox

The Euryale ferox, which is the beautiful species of lotus/water lily typically used to make these snacks, produces seeds that become airy and puffed when fried with clarified butter. Before being buttered and roasted, the seeds must have their shells and membranes removed. The bitter germ in the seed is also removed, but this part is used in other herbal practices. After being seasoned with salt and other spices, this popular snack, known as Makhanas (or fox nuts) in India, has been said to taste extremely similar to popcorn. However, what makes them so special nutritionally? 

Makhanas

First of all, one bag of this delicacy is typically no more than 100 calories. On top of that, having a low glycemic index also allows this snack to be an effective weight-loss mechanism that also prevents cravings. They are also low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, while being rich in carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. It is also a great energy booster, meaning that this snack is super convenient for on-the-go purposes. Finally, these seeds have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory agents, such as kaempferol, which is a flavonoid that can reduce risk of chronic diseases. There are nearly no downsides, so why not try them out? 

Check out these brands of popped lotus seeds!  

Or roast your own Makhanas! https://honestcooking.com/salted-popped-lotus-seeds/

Images: https://www.amazon.com/Phool-Mahkana-Puffed-Lotus-Seed/dp/B004XTDLWI; http://carnivorousockhom.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-flowering-euryale-ferox.html

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