Mung bean sprouts are germinated mung beans. Mung sprouts are relatively low in calories but very high in quality nutrients. Nutrition scientists, hence, label them under the leafy-vegetable category for all practical purposes.
For culinary and marketing purposes, the seeds (sprouts) are permitted to grow only until the establishment of the first root (radicle), avoiding any further growth into a tiny plumule (baby greens).
Bean sprouts are also popular in the USA and Canada for their crunchy texture and nutritious profile.
Scientific name: Vigna radiata.
|Fresh mung beans sprouts|
Mung beans are tiny, green/olive-green seeds in the legume (Fabaceae) family of plants, originally from South Asia. Mung bean is an annual, branched, dicotyledonous plant that grows about 60 to 75 cm tall. It is drought tolerant; suitable for cultivation under arid conditions where a short rainy season occurs.
Pale yellow flowers appear in clusters which eventually develop into thin cylindrical pods. Pods are 6 to 10 cm in length, each having about 10 to 15 seeds.
The seed (bean) color exhibits a wide variation at maturity from being predominantly shiny green to light green, deep-green, greenish-yellow, to rarely black-mottled.
Mung seeds are free from glycosides and can be eaten raw. Sprouted seeds are crunchy in texture, gently sweeter, and go well in salads and stir-fries.
Mung bean sprouts are very nutritious and low-calorie foods. Mung sprouts carry just 30 cal/100 g in contrast with 347 cal/100 g of seeds. Their calorie-value can be compared to that of leafy-greens like spinach.
Sprouted mung beans are fiber and protein-rich, low-fat and cholesterol-free food.
Sprouts are totally free from glycosides and anti-nutrient compounds, unlike raw mung beans.
100 grams of mung sprouts hold 3.04 g or 5% of the recommended daily values of protein.
Sprouts carry large proportions of dietary fiber for their size. Dietary fiber works as a bulk laxative that binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon and helps in the quick elimination of these toxic substances from the gut thus protecting colon mucosa from cancers.
Dietary fiber helps in reducing blood LDL cholesterol levels by blocking the reabsorption of cholesterol-binding bile acids in the colon.
Mung bean sprouts digest easily and are free from gluten. As gluten-free food alternatives, the sprouts well received in gluten-allergy and celiac disease patients.
Whole as well as sprouts carry good amounts of B-complex vitamins, especially folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins work as co-factors for the enzymes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.
Germination enhances folate levels in the sprouted mung beans. Folate, together with vitamin B-12, is one of the essential co-factors for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception and during pregnancy may help prevent neural tube defects in the babies.
While dry mungbeans hold 4.8 mg or 8% of DV of vitamin-C, sprouts carry several folds(13.2 mg or 22% of DV) more of this vitamin.
Vitamin-C is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps in boosting immunity, and fight against the oxygen-induced free radicals in the human body.
Furthermore, they are incredible sources of several essential minerals. 100 g of sprouts hold relatively good levels of copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, and zinc.
Moreover, they are also very good sources of potassium. 100 grams hold, 149 mg or 3% of DI values. Potassium is present inside cells and body fluids, which counters the pressing effects of sodium on the heart and thereby decreases blood pressure.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||% of DA|
|Bean type||Raw, seeds||Sprouts||Raw, seeds||Sprouts|
|Energy||347 Kcal||30 Kcal||17%||1.5%|
|Carbohydrates||62.62 g||5.94 Kcal||48%%||4.5%|
|Protein||23.86 g||3.04 g||43%||5%|
|Total Fat||1.15 g||0.18 g||6%||1%|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 mg||0%||0%|
|Dietary Fiber||16.3 g||1.8 g||43%||4.7%|
|Folates||625 μg||61 μg||156%||15%|
|Niacin||2.251 mg||0.749 mg||16%||4.7%|
|Pyridoxine||0.382 mg||0.088 mg||29%||6.7%|
|Riboflavin||0.233 mg||0.124 mg||18%||9.5%|
|Thiamin||0.621 mg||0.084 mg||52%||7%|
|Vitamin-A||114 IU||21 IU||4%||%lt;1%|
|Vitamin-C||4.8 mg||13.2 mg||8%||22%|
|Sodium||15 mg||6 mg||1%||<1%|
|Potassium||1246 mg||149 mg||26.5%||3%|
|Calcium||132 mg||13 mg||13%||1.3%|
|Copper||0.941 μg||0.164 μg||104.5%||18%|
|Iron||6.74 mg||0.91 mg||84%||11%|
|Magnesium||189 mg||21 mg||47%||5%|
|Manganese||1.035 mg||0.188 mg||45%||8%|
|Phosphorus||367 mg||54 mgl||52%||8%|
|Selenium||8.2 μg||0.6 μg||17%||1%|
|Zinc||2.68 mg||0.41 mg||24%||4%|
|Carotene-β||68 μg||6 μg||-||-|
Germination expands the seed size to about 3-5 times. 1 cup of dry beans makes about 3 cups of sprouts after 3 days and 4 cups after 5 days.
Choose good quality seeds for sprouting purposes. Remove splits, dormant and defective seeds. Wash in cold water and clean them for any debris, sand, or grit.
Soak mung beans for 6-8 hours in clean water in a glass or steel container.
Drain and wash again.
Transfer the seeds on a muslin/cheese cloth, tie loosely, and keep the pack in any wide-based container at room temperature at 65-75 degrees F, preferably in low low-lit place.
Rinse the whole pack completely in cold water 2-3 times per day to remove metabolic residues, and replenish oxygen and moisture. Gradually scale down this process from the third day onwards.
Check for uniform sprout growth.
Place a well-established sprout pack in a clean container and keep it in the refrigerator to restrict further growth of beans.
Most Asian households prepare mung bean sprouts at home. One can also buy them from groceries from the fresh produce section, packed in plastic containers displaying the date of packing and expiry.
Look for freshness; healthy, firm, long radicle from plump seeds. Avoid dried, wilted, discolored, and out-of-date packs.
Store sprouts at home refrigerator below 5 degrees at 90% relative humidity. To enhance shelf life, keep the sprouts in a plastic bag with a few drops of water, seal them, and keep them in the refrigerator. If stored in this manner, they last for up to 2 days.
NHS-Food Standards Agency says "you should not eat sprouts that are past their use by date and should avoid using sprouts that have turned brown or changed color".
Sprouts continue to grow while stored. At home, soak fresh sprouts in water and drain to remove metabolite that would have surfaced while storing.
Cleaned sprouts can be eaten raw, added in salads, and in cooking. Avoid overcooking.
Here are some serving tips:
The mung bean is best known in the USA, where it is used for its sprouts, employed primarily in salads and Asian-style dishes.
Chop suey has become a prominent part of American Chinese cuisine, a type of noodle/fried rice dish, typically prepared with mung bean sprouts, thinly chopped cabbage, and bound in a starch-thickened sauce. It is served with an omelet.
In Japan, China, and South-East Asian regions, mung bean sprouts are used in stir-fries, and as a garnish on the dishes.
The sprouts can also be used in Korean-style bean soup.
Cleaned and fresh mung bean sprouts are easily digested and rarely pose flatulence problems.However, NHS-Food Standards Agency you should not eat sprouts that are past their use by date and should avoid using sprouts that have turned brown or changed color. (Medical disclaimer).
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