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Mung bean nutrition facts

Mung beans are tiny, green or olive-green seeds in the legume family plants, originally from India. They best known in the USA and the western world for their crunchy, nutritious bean sprouts.

Botanically, they belong to the Fabaceae family in the Genus: Vigna. Scientific name: Vigna radiata..

mung beans
Mung beans, whole and split.

Mung bean is an annual, branched, dicotyledonous plant that grows about 60 to 75 cm tall. The plant is considered to be heat and drought-tolerant.

The pale yellow flowers appear in clusters which eventually develop into thin cylindrical pods. Pods are 6 to 10 cm in length, each having 10 to 15 seeds.

The seeds exhibit a wide range of variations at maturity from being predominantly shiny green to light-green, deep-green, dull green, greenish-yellow, to rarely black-mottled.

The seeds are free from glycosides, and can be eaten raw or sprouts. Boiled, become soft in texture and gently sweeter on the palate.

mung bean sprouts
Mung beans, sprouted.

Harvesting should be done when pods are mature and dry, but before they start shattering.

Health benefits of Mung beans

  1. Mung beans are moderately caloric, protein-rich, low-fat and cholesterol-free legumes.

  2. Unlike in other beans and pulses, they compose very little quantities of anti-nutrient compounds, and do not contain any glycosides.

  3. 100 grams of dry seeds contain 347 calories, and 23.86 g or 43% of recommended daily values of protein.

  4. Whole mung beans carry higher concentration of dietary fiber for their size; provide 16.3 g or 43% of fiber per 100 grams. Dietary fiber works as a bulk laxative, which thereby protect the colon mucosa by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

  5. Dietary fiber has shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by bringing down reabsorption of cholesterol-binding bile acids in the colon.

  6. Mung beans are gluten-free food items. They particularly preferred as gluten-free food alternatives in gluten-allergy and celiac disease patients.

  7. 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 works as co-factors for the enzymes in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

  8. Whole dry seeds carry 625 μg or 156% of daily required value folate. Folate, together with vitamin B-12, is one of the essential co-factor for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception and during the pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the babies.

  9. While dry mungbeans hold 4.8 mg or 8% of DV of vitamin-C, sprouts carry many times more of this vitamin.

  10. Vitamin-C is a water soluble antioxidant which helps in boosting immunity, and fight against the oxygen-induced free radicals in the human body.

  11. Furthermore, they are incredible sources several essential minerals. 100 g of dry mungbeans hold copper-104.5%, iron-84%, manganese-45%, phosphorus-52%, selenium-15%, calcium-13%, and zinc-24%.

  12. Both copper and iron take part in the production of blood cells in the human body.

  13. Moreover, they also very good sources of potassium. 100 grams hold, 1246 mg or 26.5%. Potassium is present inside cell and body fluids, which counters pressing effects of sodium on the heart and therby decreases blood pressure.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Mung bean nutrition profile (Vigna radiata), Raw, mature seeds, values per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base).
Principle Nutrient Value Percent of RDA
Energy 347 Kcal 17%
Carbohydrates 62.62 g 48%
Protein 23.86 g 43%
Total Fat 1.15 g 6%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 16.3 g 43%
Folates 625 μg 156%
Niacin 2.251 mg 16%
Pyridoxine 0.382 mg 29%
Riboflavin 0.233 mg 18%
Thiamin 0.621 mg 52%
Vitamin-A 114 IU 4%
Vitamin-C 4.8 mg 8%
Sodium 15 mg 1%
Potassium 1246 mg 26.5%
Calcium 132 mg 13%
Copper 0.941 μg 104.5%
Iron 6.74 mg 84%
Magnesium 189 mg 47%
Manganese 1.035 mg 45%
Phosphorus 367 mg 52%
Selenium 8.2 μg 15%
Zinc 2.68 mg 24%
Carotene-β 68 μg

Selection and storage

Fresh dry mung seeds can be readily available in retailer shops all around the year. In the store, choose dry seeds packed in bins or bags. Whole, or split, or yellow (split and hulled) beans can also be put for sale. Avoid insect-damaged, broken, shriveled, discolored beans as they sound of inferior quality.

Mung bean sprouts are sold in plastic trays or bags. To enhance shelf life, keep the sprouts in a plastic bag with a few drops of water, seal and keep them in the refrigerator. Stored in this manner, they will last for up to two days.

At home, store whole dry beans in plastic/steel containers away from moisture and heat. Whole seeds can keep well for several months if preserved in air-tight bins.

Preparation and serving methods

Most Asian households use mung beans on daily basis in the diet. The beans contain fewer anti-nutrient compounds, unlike most other beans and peas. They pose fewer problems on the digestive system and can be included in infant formulas as a protein source.

Soak whole dry beans in water for 1-2 hours. Although soaking is not mandatory, it quickens overall cooking time, removes anti-nutritional compounds, and enriches the flavor.

Pressure cooked for 10 min with soaking OR 15-20 minutes without soaking. Avoid overcooking.

Here are some serving tips:

Mungbean and its sprouts are mainly featured in cuisine in China, India, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia including Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

  • Mung beans are best known in the USA for their use as sprouts. Mung bean sprout is the basic ingredient in chop suey, salads and Asian style stir-fry dishes.

  • Mung beans are used in the same way as other legumes where they can replace or be used in combination with. They feature in many traditional Indian dhal recipes with seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices.

  • In India and Pakistan, mung dal ki halva is a sweet dessert prepared with yellow split (hulled) mung beans, added with nuts and dry fruits.

  • In Maharashtra, mung bean usal prepared with sprouted beans, onion, tomato, and seasoning is a special breakfast recipe.

  • Mung bean parantha is yellow-split mung dal stuffed bread, popular in Punjab province, India.

  • In Japan, China and South-East Asian regions, mung bean sprouts used in stir-fries, and as a garnish on the dishes.

  • Immature mung pods can be prepared and cooked in the same way as green beans.

Safety profile

Mung beans are very easily digested legumes and rarely pose flatulence problems. For the same reason, they can be added to infant formulas as an important source of protein. (Medical disclaimer).

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Further Reading:

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  2. Sprouted seeds safety advice- NHS.

  3. Mung beans Alternative Crop Guide -pdf.

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