Mung beans are one of those foods that seem to be loved or hated but this humble food is actually a nutritional powerhouse and may actually be able to be defined as a superfood. Read on to learn more about their health benefits.
What are Mung Beans?
Mung beans are part of the legume family and are a good source of protein. If they are combined with other cereals, a complete protein can be made. When sprouted, mung beans contain vitamin C that is not found in the bean itself.
Health Benefits of Mung Beans
Mung beans are rich in the following nutrients:
• vitamin C
• folic acid or folate
Mung beans are also high in fibre, low in saturated fat, low in sodium, and contain no cholesterol. Because of the wide range of nutrients contained in mung beans, they offer a whole host of health benefits for the immune system, the metabolism, the heart and other organs, cell growth, protection against free radicals, and diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
The folic acid, or folate as it is also known, that is contained in mung beans helps to lower the risk of heart disease, fights birth defects, contributes to normal cell growth, helps in the metabolism of proteins, and is essential for the formation of red blood cells and for healing processes in the body. Another B vitamin, thiamine, is needed to ensure that the nervous system functions properly. It is also important for releasing energy from carbohydrates. Manganese is a trace mineral that is key for energy production and antioxidant defenses. It is also necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and can be helpful for the brain and nerves.
Magnesium helps the veins and arteries to relax, lessening resistance and improving the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body. Research has shown that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with a heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, a lack of magnesium promotes free radical damage to the heart. The body requires copper in order to absorb iron and copper is also involved in the metabolism of protein. Iron helps to build resistance to stress and disease and it is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body. It is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Potassium is necessary for maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and for muscle contraction and a normal heart beat. Zinc is a well known immune system booster and can be helpful in fighting male infertility. Zinc aids healing processes in the body, growth, and tissue repair.
Like all legumes, mung beans are very high in fibre – more so than fruits and vegetables and even better than wholegrains. 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.
Using Mung Beans
Mung beans can be used in a variety of ways. They can be sprouted, cooked, or ground to make flour. In some Asian countries, 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 lollipops. Mung beans should be washed well to remove impurities. They also contain very few oligosaccharides, the sugars responsible for flatulence.