Mung Beans

Category: Beans, Peas, Legumes

Mung Beans can be sprouted, cooked or ground into a flour. They provide an important Protein source and when eaten together with cereals, provide complete Protein.

Sprouts should be allowed to grow for at least 3 to 4 days, for the nutrient availability increases with time and after 72 hrs of sprouting, the true digestibility of the Protein will be improved. Ask your Nature’s Choice stockist for a handout on Sprouting.

Nutritional Content

Mung beans are an important source of protein. In fact, being a legume, the mung bean supplies a higher proportion of protein than any other plant food can. When mung beans are combined with cereals, the result is a complete protein. Mung beans are also rich in lysine. Sprouted mung beans contain vitamin C that is not found in the bean.

In addition, mung beans supply substantial amounts of folate (625 mcg or 324% of the recommended daily allowance in one cup or about 207 grams), iron (78% of the RDA), zinc (37%), potassium (74%), magnesium (98%), copper (97%), manganese (107%), phosphorus (76%), and thiamin (86%). Mung beans are also rich in fibre – just one cup of uncooked beans supplies 34 grams or 135% of the RDA. In addition, they are low in saturated fat and low in sodium, and they contain zero cholesterol.

The nutritional composition of mung beans is as follows:

Nutritional Info
Sprouted, Raw
Sprouted, Cooked
Energy 340 Calories 30 Calories 21 Calories
Carbohydrates 60g 4.8g 3.4g
Protein 24g 3g 2g
Total Fat 1.3g 0.2g 0.1g
Fibre 16.4g 1.1g 0.8g
Calcium 118mg 13mg 12mg
Phosphorus 340mg 54mg 28mg
Iron 7.7mg 0.9mg 0.7mg
Potassium 1028mg 149mg 101mg
Magnesium 190mg 21mg 14mg
Manganese 1mg 0 0
Zinc 2.7mg 0.41mg 0.47mg

More Info

The mung bean may be one of the smallest in the entire legume family, but it packs a lot of punch. It is especially popular in Asian countries, having been eaten as food there for hundreds and even thousands of years, but it is gaining popularity even in Western countries. Although in the West mung beans are probably most commonly consumed in the form of bean sprouts or Indian dhal curry, they are quite versatile. Flour made from it is used to make noodles, breads and biscuits. The beans make good soups, stews, curries and stir fries. In Asian countries especially they are even used in confectionery.

Mung beans are nutritious. They are rich in protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and thiamin. They are also rich in fibre yet low in saturated fat and low in sodium, and they contain zero cholesterol.

Because they are so nutrient dense, mung beans offer a host of health benefits for the immune system, the metabolism, the heart and indeed every other organ of the body, cell growth, protection against free radicals and diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Description and Origin

The mung bean (vignia aureus) is native to India, where it still forms an important part of the human diet. It is also cultivated in other warm regions, such as Indonesia, China, the Philippines (where it is known as mongo) and parts of the United States. The bean is small and cylindrical. The colour of the skin can be bright or dark green, red, brown or yellow. Mung beans can be split or ground, and can be used peeled or whole. They are sweet, soft and easy to digest. Being part of the legume family, they have all the general characteristics of legumes.

Using Mung Beans

Mung beans can be sprouted, cooked or ground to make flour. In some Asian countries, such as the Philippines, it is made into a paste, sweetened and used as a filling in pastries, and in some countries it is even made into ice cream and ice lollipops. A traditional Indian dish that is also very popular in Western countries is dhal. These beans also make good soups, stews and curries. The flour made from mung beans can be used to make noodles, breads and biscuits. Sprouted mung beans (usually just known as bean sprouts) can be stir fried and added to a meal as a vegetable or used as a filling in spring rolls.

One expert suggests certain mild processing techniques that actually improve the quality of the mung bean. For example, mung beans contain enzyme suppressants, indigestible carbohydrate varieties and substances that interfere with ion absorption. Soaking, cooking and sprouting reduce the concentrations of these suppressants. Sprouting in particular results in a highly beneficial food, since it reduces the quantities of raffinose, phytic acid and tannin while increasing the quantities of glucose, galactose, sucrose, folic acid, vitamin C and inorganic phosphorus.

Health Benefits

Mung beans boast several of the important B complex vitamins. The star vitamin, as we have seen above, is folate. This B vitamin helps to lower the risk of heart disease, fights birth defects, contributes to normal cell growth, assists in the metabolism of proteins and is essential for the formation of red blood cells and for healing processes in the body. Another important B vitamin is thiamin, which the body needs to help ensure proper functioning of the nervous system. Thiamin is also important for releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Manganese is a trace mineral. In other words, it occurs in small quantities, but the body also only requires small quantities of it. Manganese is a key nutrient for energy production and antioxidant defenses. It is also essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and is even believed to help nourish the brain and nerves.

Magnesium, nature’s own tranquilizer, helps the veins and arteries in the body to relax. This action lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, a lack of magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart. Experts therefore recommend magnesium-rich foods such as mung beans and other legumes for a healthy heart.

The body needs copper in order to be able to absorb iron. Copper is also involved in the metabolism of protein and is an essential partner in the healing processes in the body.

Iron is known to build resistance to stress and disease and is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to every cell of the body. Boosting iron supplies with beans and other legumes is a good idea generally, but it is particularly good for menstruating women, who are more at risk of suffering from iron deficiency. A major additional benefit is that, unlike red meat, another source of iron, mung beans and other legumes are low in calories and virtually fat-free. Iron is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Pregnant women and lactating mothers require more iron than usual, and so do growing children and adolescents.

Phosphorus may be considered calcium’s working buddy. The two need each other in order to be effective. Phosphorus is also needed for building healthy teeth and bones.

Potassium is important for maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and essential for muscle contraction and a normal heart beat. Studies have shown that it helps control blood pressure and keep it at a normal level.

Zinc is a well-known immune system booster and is believed to be helpful in combating male infertility. Studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (September 2004) have also shown that there is a correlation between a low consumption of zinc and osteoporosis of the hip and spine. Zinc further aids healing processes in the body, growth and tissue repair.

Like all legumes, mung beans are an exceptionally rich source of fibre, better than fruits and vegetables, and better even than whole grains. The soluble fibre in mung beans captures cholesterol in the intestines, keeps it out of the blood stream and carries it out of the body, making mung beans one of the best foods for lowering cholesterol. Add to this the low to negligible proportions of fat, sodium and cholesterol, and you have the ideal food for helping to reduce risk for such conditions as heart disease, cancer, digestive tract disorders, overweight and obesity, and diabetes and other blood sugar disorders.

General Hints and Cautions

¤ Mung beans should be washed well to remove impurities.

¤ Because of their small size, mung beans don’t take nearly as long to cook or soak as other beans do – they can in fact be cooked without soaking; they also don’t produce as much flatulence.

¤ The protein in mung beans is incomplete, but the lacking amino acids can be supplied by eating the beans together with whole grains such as rice or, in the case of non-vegetarians, with animal protein such as chicken, fish, cheese or yoghurt.


Sources Consulted

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