When we were young, my Mom made sure we have Mung Beans for our breakfast as she knew the health benefits from them. We normally had them as much as three to four times a week. They were served hot and we have to add milk and a bit of sugar with some crackers.
They are so delicious that to this day I still eat them but without sugar and just add Almond milk and cream crackers since I can no longer buy the same type of crackers we used to have where I am today.
What Are Mung Beans?
The mung bean (Vigna radiata), alternatively known as the green gram, mash (Persian: ماش), moong (from Sanskrit: मुद्ग, romanized: mudra), monggo, or munggo (Philippines) is a plant species in the legume family. The mung bean is mainly cultivated in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.
Mung beans are high in nutrients and antioxidants, which may provide health benefits. In fact, they may protect against heat stroke, aid digestive health, promote weight loss, and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
These beans have a slightly sweet taste and are sold fresh, as sprouts or as dried beans. They aren’t as popular in the US but can be purchased from most health food stores. Mung beans are incredibly versatile and typically eaten in salads, soups, and stir-frys
9 Health Benefits of Mung Beans
1.) Packed With Healthy Nutrients
Mung beans are rich in vitamins and minerals. One cup (7 ounces or 202 grams) of boiled mung beans contains:
- Calories: 212
- Fat: 0.8 grams
- Protein: 14.2 grams
- Carbs: 38.7 grams
- Fiber: 15.4 grams
- Folate (B9): 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin B1: 22% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
- Iron: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 16% of the RDI
- Potassium: 15% of the RDI
- Zinc: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, and selenium
These beans are one of the best plant-based sources of protein. They’re rich in essential amino acids, such as phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, arginine, and more.
Essential amino acids are those that your body is unable to produce on its own.
Since mung beans are also consumed sprouted, it’s important to note that sprouting changes their nutritional composition. Sprouted beans contain fewer calories and more free amino acids and antioxidants than unsprouted ones.
What’s more, sprouting reduces levels of phytic acid, which is an antinutrient. Antinutrients can reduce the absorption of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
2.) High Antioxidant Levels May Reduce Chronic Disease Risk
Mung beans contain many healthy antioxidants, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, and more Antioxidants help neutralize potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals.
Mung beans are a good source of antioxidants, which may reduce your risks of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancer growth in lungs, and stomach cells. However, more human-based research is needed before making health recommendations.
3.) Antioxidants Vitexin and Isovitexin May Prevent Heat Stroke
In many Asian countries, mung bean soup is commonly consumed on hot summer days.
That’s because mung beans are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that help protect against heat stroke, high body temperatures, thirst, and more. However, some experts question if mung bean soup is any better than drinking water since staying hydrated is a key factor in preventing heatstroke.
Mung beans also contain the antioxidants vitexin and isovitexin that may protect against free radical damage that occurs during heatstroke. More research, ideally in humans, is needed before making a health recommendation.
4.) May Lower “Bad” LDL Cholesterol Levels, Reducing Heart Disease Risk
High cholesterol, especially “bad” LDL cholesterol, can raise your risk of heart disease.
Animal studies have shown that mung bean antioxidants may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, while human studies have linked higher legume consumption to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
5.) Rich in Potassium, Magnesium, and Fiber, Which May Reduce Blood Pressure
Mung beans are a good source of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which have been linked to lower blood pressure levels in adults with and without high blood pressure.
6.) Fiber and Resistant Starch in Mung Beans May Aid Digestive Health
Mung beans contain soluble fiber and resistant starch, which can promote digestive health. The carbs in mung beans are also less likely to cause flatulence than those of other legumes.
7.) Nutrient Composition May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Mung beans are high in fiber and protein and contain antioxidants that may lower blood sugar levels and help insulin work more effectively.
8.) May Promote Weight Loss By Suppressing Hunger and Raising Fullness Hormones
Mung beans are high in fiber and protein, which can help curb hunger by lowering levels of hunger hormones, such as ghrelin, and raising fullness hormones, such as peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin.
9.) Folate in Mung Beans Can Support a Healthy Pregnancy
Mung beans are high in folate, iron, and protein, all of which women need more of during pregnancy. Avoid raw mung bean sprouts when you’re pregnant, as they may contain harmful bacteria.
Mung beans are germinated by leaving them in water for four hours of daytime light and spending the rest of the day in the dark. Mung bean sprouts can be grown under artificial light for four hours over the period of a week. They are usually simply called “bean sprouts”. However, when bean sprouts are called for in recipes, it generally refers to mung bean or soybean sprouts.
Chinese-style preparation of homegrown mung bean sprouts.
Mung bean sprouts are stir-fried as a Chinese vegetable accompaniment to a meal, usually with garlic, ginger, spring onions, or pieces of salted dried fish to add flavor. Uncooked bean sprouts are used in filling for Vietnamese spring rolls, as well as a garnish for phở. They are a major ingredient in a variety of Malaysian and Peranakan cuisine, including char kway teow, hokkien mee, mee rebus, and pasembor.
In Korea, slightly cooked mung bean sprouts, called sukjunamul (Korean: 숙주나물), are often served as a side dish. They are blanched (placed into boiling water for less than a minute), immediately cooled in cold water, and mixed with sesame oil, garlic, salt, and often other ingredients.
In India, mung bean sprouts are cooked with green chili, garlic, and other spices.
In Indonesia, the food is often used as fillings like tahu isi (stuffed tofu) and complementary ingredients in many dishes such as rawon and soto.
In Japan (and Brazil), the sprouts are called moyashi.
In the Philippines, as the main meal, just boil the mung beans and then sautee them with garlic and onions. Then add either fish, pork, beef, or chicken and mixed them with fresh moringa leaves. Spiced them up with salt and pepper and eat them with boiled rice and you’ll have such a delicious and nutritious meal for the day.
Although every sprout has a different micronutrient balance, many are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals.
A one-cup serving of mung bean sprouts, for example, has the following nutritional profile:
- Calories: 30
- Protein: 3 grams
- Total Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin K: 43% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 23% of the DV
- Folate: 16% of the DV
- Manganese: 10% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 6% of the DV
Seeds are amazingly concentrated sources of important nutrients in the first place. And the process of sprouting increases the amounts of nutrients they contain, making sprouted foods even richer sources of protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and vitamins C and K than the same seeds before they’re sprouted. Note, however, that the nutritional value of sprouts tends to decrease when they’re heated.
5 Potential Benefits of Sprouts
1. May strengthen your immune system
Sprouts are an especially good source of vitamins C and K, both of which protect the immune system. In fact, vitamin K plays a role in reducing immune-mediated inflammation. And vitamin C is a known antioxidant, able to protect the body against environmental oxidative stresses and free radicals.
Sprouts also contain some vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for enhancing immunity. Mung bean sprouts, in particular, contain flavonoids, acids, and plant hormones that may all play a role in the modulation of human immunity.
2. May help maintain balanced blood sugar
In a 2015 study, researchers examined the impact of sprout consumption on hemoglobin A1C — an indicator of long-term blood sugar control. Compared to the control group, those who ate 60 grams of sprouts daily for eight weeks saw a 10% reduction in A1C, while the control group saw a 12% increase in A1C.
3. May improve digestion
Sprouts are an excellent source of dietary fiber. In fact, research has shown that sprouted seeds and legumes actually have more fiber than their unsprouted counterparts. Fiber is also more available to the body and fiber is an important nutrient for digestive health.
4. May support heart health
Some sprouts may contain bioactive compounds that are protective of heart health. Test tube and animal research suggest that the sulforaphane in broccoli sprouts, for example, can fight high blood pressure, protect the heart muscle, and lower cholesterol.
5. May help improve liver function and have anticancer properties
The sulforaphane content of certain sprouts, like broccoli sprouts, may also improve the health of your liver and cells.
Although more research is needed, studies indicate that sulforaphane, in particular, has anticancer effects against prostate, breast, and urinary cancers
A 2015 study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology examined how broccoli sprouts affected liver abnormalities among Japanese adult men with fatty liver disease. The men were given broccoli sprout extract capsules daily for two months, after which their oxidative stress and liver function markers were measured and compared to the original values. The broccoli sprouts decreased serum levels of the markers for liver disease, as well as measures of oxidative stress.
Is it safe to eat sprouted mung beans?
Homegrown sprouts also present a health risk if eaten raw or lightly cooked, because bacteria on seeds may multiply quickly during sprouting even under clean conditions, so it’s important to employ proper washing and storage methods.
There are also alternatives to traditional fresh bean sprouts, such as microgreens or canned variants, which you can use in similar ways with less or no risk of bacterial contamination. However, you wish to enjoy them, do so in good health!
Please tell us in your comments.
- Do you enjoy mung beans?
- How do you like to eat them?
- What benefit do you get from eating mung beans?
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Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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