A-mung the most nutritious foods the plant world has to offer…mung beans could be your new legume-go-to. Keep reading to learn all about this small-yet-impressive green bean, how to use it in your favourite cuisine and the amazing health benefits that come with it.
What are mung beans and where do they come from?
The mighty mung bean has been cultivated since ancient times. You may also know is as the green gram, moong or mash. It originally hails from India but has become very popular in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine over the years. You’d likely find them sold on many a corner in the East, but in the West, you will mostly find them dried in health food stores.
Mung beans have a slightly sweet taste and can come fresh, dried or sprouted. They’re very versatile and typically enjoyed in soups, salads, stir-frys and curries.
Mung beans nutrition breakdown
Serving size: 100g of raw mung beans1
- Mung bean calories: 347
- Protein: 24g
- Fat: 1.2g
- Carbohydrates: 63g
- Sugar: 6.6g
- Fibre: 16g
- Iron: 6.74mg (37% DV – daily value)
- Calcium: 132mg (10% DV)
- Riboflavin: 0.23mg (18% DV)
- Thiamine (vitamin B1): 0.62mg (52% DV)
- Niacin (vitamin B3): 2.251mg (14% DV)
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5): 1.91mg (38% DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.382mg (29% DV)
- Copper: 0.941mg (105 DV)
- Magnesium: 189mg (47% DV)
- Manganese: 1.035mg (45% DV)
- Phosphorus: 367mg (52% DV)
- Potassium: 1246mg (27% DV)
- Zinc: 2.68mg (24% DV)
What are the health benefits of mung beans?
Here’s the low down on mung bean’s benefits.
Packed with plant-based protein
As you may have gathered from the nutritional info on mung beans above, they’re an incredible source of plant-based protein. The small-but-mighty beans are rich in several essential amino acids, like leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, lysine, arginine, valine and more.
Their benefits only increase when consumed sprouted, the calorie count goes down and the free amino acid levels go up.
Full of fibre
The beauty of plant proteins, like mung beans, are that they provide so much on top of protein. Something mung beans contain in abundance is fibre – both soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fibre can help you to feel fuller for longer and improve nutrient absorption from the food you eat by slowing down your digestion.
- Insoluble fibre can make going to the toilet easier and more comfortable by adding more bulk to your stool.
Antioxidants in abundance
Mung beans contain a lot of antioxidants, including flavonoids, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid and more.
Our bodies use antioxidants to combat potentially harmful compounds called free radicals, which can damage our cells. This is often referred to as oxidative stress – too much of which can lead to health issues.
Can support your bones
Mung beans are an excellent source of magnesium, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones.
A great source of B vitamins
Mung beans are a natural source of B vitamins. They are especially rich in thiamine (vitamin B1) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), both of which can help our nervous system function and help reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
Should anyone avoid eating mung beans?
Most of us should be fine adding mung beans to our diets. Vegetarians and vegans in particular may find them useful to make sure they’re getting enough protein.
The only people who should be a bit wary of those who suffer from gas and intestinal discomfort – especially if they don’t eat many beans / legumes / pulses usually.
We recommend slowly introducing them into your diet – don’t go eating mung beans morning, noon and night! Then see how your body reacts.
How to eat mung beans
Now you’re all clued up on why mung beans are super good for you, let’s discuss how all the tasty ways you can introduce them into your diet.
How to cook dried mung beans in a healthy way
In the UK and other western country, you will likely find dried mung beans that need to be re-hydrated before you cook with them. Here’s a method for soaking mung beans:
- Soak them in cold water for a minimum of 8 hours – or leave them overnight.
- Drain, rinse and add to a pan of water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until tender.
Mung bean curry
Whether you like a spicy Indian-style curry or a coconutty Thai curry, mung beans make a tasty replacement for proteins like meat, fish and lentils.
Try swapping the lentils in this recipe with re-hydrated mung beans for a tasty, creamy and nutritious curry.
How long do dried mung beans last: roughly 2-3 years, check with manufacturers though.
How to prepare dried mung beans for sprouting
Another popular – and even more nutritious – way to enjoy mung beans is to sprout them. Here’s how:
- Take your dried mung beans, discard any broken and wizened ones and wash them carefully.
- Soak them in clean water for at least 12 hours until they have doubled in size and sprouts begin to appear.
- Pour away the soaking water and rinse them in clear water again.
- Place a layer of mung bean sprouts on the bottom of a clay pot and leave them in a dark and coolplace – otherwise they may start growing leaves!
- Twice a day, rinse the mung beans with clean water and discard the water.
- Wait around 4-7 day and tah-dah! Sprouted mung beans for you to enjoy!
You can also experiment with mung bean stews, burgers, soups and even pancakes!
We hope this guide has given you a better insight into the mighty mung bean. Enjoy experimenting!
Last updated: 17 August 2020