Mung beans (Vigna radiata) have been cultivated since ancient times. While native to India, mung beans later spread to China and various parts of Southeast Asia.
These beans have a slightly sweet taste and are sold fresh, as sprouts or as dried beans. Mung beans are incredibly versatile, high in nutrients and typically eaten in salads, soups and stir-frys.
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 RD
- 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.
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. In high amounts, free radicals can interact with cellular components and wreak havoc. Test-tube studies have found that antioxidants from mung beans can neutralize free radical damage linked to cancer growth in lung and stomach cells.
In many Asian countries, mung bean are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that help protect against heat stroke, high body temperatures, thirst and more.
Mung beans also contain the antioxidants vitexin and isovitexin.
High cholesterol, especially “bad” LDL cholesterol, can raise your risk of heart disease. Interestingly, research shows that mung beans may have properties that can lower LDL cholesterol.
For instance, animal studies have shown that mung bean antioxidants can lower blood LDL cholesterol and protect the LDL particles from interacting with unstable free radicals.
Moreover, a review of 26 studies found that eating one daily serving (around 130 grams) of legumes, such as beans, significantly lowered blood LDL cholesterol levels.
Another analysis of 10 studies showed that a diet abundant in legumes (excluding soy) can lower blood LDL cholesterol levels by approximately 5%
High blood pressure is a serious health problem because it puts you at risk of heart disease — the leading cause of death in the world.
Moreover, an analysis of eight studies showed that higher intakes of legumes, such as beans, lowered blood pressure in both adults with and without high blood pressure.
Fiber and Resistant Starch in Mung Beans May Aid Digestive Health
Mung beans contain a variety of nutrients that are great for digestive health. For one, they’re high in fiber, providing an impressive 15.4 grams per cooked cup (202 grams).
In particular, mung beans contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin, which can help keep your bowels regular by speeding up the movement of food through your gut.
Mung beans, like other legumes, also contain resistant starch. Resistant starch works similarly to soluble fiber, as it helps nourish your healthy gut bacteria. The bacteria then digest it and turn it into short-chain fatty acids — butyrate, in particular.
Studies show that butyrate promotes digestive health in many ways. For instance, it can nourish your colon cells, boost your gut’s immune defenses and even lower your colon cancer risk.
What’s more, the carbs in mung bean seem to be easier to digest than those found in other legumes. Therefore, mung beans are less likely to cause flatulence compared to other types of legumes.
Nutrient Composition May Lower Blood Sugar Levels
If left untreated, high blood sugar can be a serious health problem.
It’s a main characteristic of diabetes and has been linked to a number of chronic diseases. That’s why health professionals urge people to keep their blood sugar within healthy limits.
Mung beans possess several properties that help keep blood sugar levels low. They’re high in fiber and protein, which helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Animal studies have also shown that mung bean antioxidants vitexin and isovitexin can lower blood sugar levels and help insulin work more effectively.
May Promote Weight Loss By Suppressing Hunger and Raising Fullness Hormones
Folate in Mung Beans Can Support a Healthy Pregnancy
Women are advised to eat plenty of folate-rich foods during pregnancy. Folate is essential for the optimal growth and development of your child.
However, most women don’t get enough folate, which has been linked to a higher risk of birth defects.
Mung beans provide 80% of the RDI for folate in one cooked cup (202 grams).
They’re also high in iron, protein and fiber, of which women need more during pregnancy.
However, pregnant women should avoid eating raw mung bean sprouts, as they may carry bacteria that could cause an infection. Cooked beans and sprouts should be safe.
Versatile and Easy to Add to Your Diet
Mung beans are delicious, versatile and easy to add to your diet.
They can be used in place of most other beans in dishes like curries, salads and soups. These beans have a slightly sweet taste and are often made into a paste in Asian desserts.
To cook them, simply boil the beans until tender — about 20–30 minutes. Alternatively, they can be steamed in a pressure cooker for approximately five minutes. Mung beans can also be enjoyed sprouted, both raw and cooked. The sprouted beans are best enjoyed in stir-fry meals and curries.
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.
Since mung beans are healthy, delicious and versatile, consider incorporating them into your diet.