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All about “Mung beans”

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What are mung beans?

Beans have beans with long, thin and slightly hairy pods. The best known variety is green but there are more than 200 varieties of different colors. The mung bean is native to India and is widely used in Asia. It is the germ of the mung bean , commonly called bean sprout, which is part of the composition of the popular dish ”  chop suey  “. Note that the term bean sprout is to be avoided because they are not beans but beans and also because it is not the bean but the germ that we consume.  

Nutritional value of mung beans

Per 100 g of mundo beans Mung beans, cooked
(100 g or 125 ml)
Sprouts, raw
(100 g or 250 ml)
Calories 105 kcal 30 kcal
Carbohydrates 18.3g 6 g
Dietary fiber 6.4g 1.8g
Protein 7.5 g 3 g
Fat 0.5 g 0.2g
Iron 1.8 mg 0.9 mg
Potassium 231 mg 149 mg
Magnesium 63 mg 21 mg
Food folates 94 µg 61 µg

Source: Health Canada, Canadian Food File, 2009 version

Health Benefits of Mung Beans

In general, legumes contain various elements beneficial to health such as dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants. They also contain several important minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and potassium. In addition to their very low cost, pulses are among the top five foods with the highest micronutrient / price ratio.

Some studies have associated regular consumption of legumes with various health benefits such as better diabetes control, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, better management of body weight, and lower risk of colorectal cancer. These benefits would be partly attributable to various compounds present in legumes such as dietary fiber. American food recommendations also suggest consuming pulses a few times a week, the equivalent of 675 g (3 cups). Finally, among the major recommendations of the American Institute for Cancer Researchfor cancer prevention, the population is advised to favor a diet mainly composed of plant foods by including a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes and minimally processed cereal products.

Legumes are all good sources of fiber. Dietary fiber, which is found only in plant products, are substances that are not digested by the body. Mung beans contain 6 g of fiber per 100 g serving, and like most legumes, they have a higher proportion of insoluble fiber than soluble fiber. A diet rich in insoluble fiber helps maintain proper bowel function while a diet rich in soluble fiber can help normalize blood cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels. Note that it is recommended to consume 25 g of fiber per day for women from 19 to 50 years old,

Dietary fiber, in combination with other compounds such as amylose (a constituent of starch), allows legumes to be digested more slowly. The ingestion of legumes improves blood sugar control in both diabetics and healthy people, but current scientific data do not allow precise details of the mechanisms involved. Fibers would likely have a role to play, but would not act independently.

In one study, the glycemic index of five legume varieties (mung, chickpea, white bean, black bean and pigeon pea) was assessed. The latter all have a low glycemic index. The authors explain the variation in the glycemic index between legumes, among others, by the type and amount of fiber present and by the proportion of amyloidosis. The real implication of these two compounds remains to be confirmed, however.

Legumes contain molecules with antioxidant properties. These molecules are mainly found in the seed of the plant. Beans also contain volatile substances with certain antioxidant activities.

Mung beans are great sources of folate. Folate (vitamin B9) is involved in the production of all cells in the body, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material (DNA, RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and the immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds and wounds. As it is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus.

It should be noted that the iron contained in mung beans (as in all other legumes) is not absorbed as well by the body as the iron contained in animal foods. However, the absorption of iron from plants is favored if it is consumed with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.

In addition, legume proteins are incomplete. That is, they do not contain all of the essential amino acids. Vegans should therefore include foods that contain deficient amino acids in legumes. It is therefore necessary to combine legumes with either a grain product or nuts and seeds, throughout the day, to ensure that you have the full range of all amino acids. 

Cooking mung beans

Mung beans can be bought cooked, canned or fresh. Mung bean sprouts are found fresh in a plastic bag.

Mung beans are used like all other legumes. It can also be made into mash or flour. Mung bean sprouts are mainly used in chop suey, salads and many Asian dishes. 

A word from the nutritionist

Mung beans and especially germs are an excellent health alternative. They can even replace pasta or rice in different dishes. Rich in nutrients, legumes provide protein for far fewer calories and without the bad fats found in meats.

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