Mung Beans (Green Gram) Nutrition & Health Benefits
Latin Name : Vigna radiata
Sometimes, incorrectly termed as :
Phaseolus aureus or Phaseolus radiatus
Health Benefits Of Mung Beans
Mung beans offer antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anti inflammatory, antihypertensive and antitumor effects.
Here are some specific health benefits of consuming mung beans regularly.
- Lowers Cholesterol & Heart Disease Risk
By preventing oxidation of LDL, mung beans keep the arteries clear and improve blood circulation. Not only does this reduce inflammation, it reverses damage to the blood vessels.
By preventing deposition of plaque the risk of heart attack & stroke is reduced as well.
- Easiest to Digest Among all Beans
Though all beans & legumes cause gas & abdominal bloating in some people, mung beans are the easiest to digest. Soaking the beans in water before cooking and also sprouting them reduces this issue.
- Lowers High Blood Pressure
A study in 2014, published in the Chemistry Central Journal, showed that rats given mung bean sprout extracts for a month significantly lowered systolic blood pressure levels.
It is believed that peptides that are present in high levels in these beans prevented the contraction of blood vessels.
- May Help Fight Cancer
The high levels of aminoacids, oligosaccharides & polyphenols provide high antioxidant levels not only fight tumors and cancer but also protect against DNA damage and cell mutation.
The flavonoids vitexin & isovitexin have high free radical scavenging activities which help lower oxidative stress, the cancer causative factor.
This was found in a study done by the College of Food Science & Nutritional Engineering at the China Agricultural University.
- Decreases PMS Symptoms
The various B complex vitamins, especially folate & B6, and magnesium help regulate hormonal fluctuations which cause these PMS symptoms.
- May Prevent & Possibly Treat Diabetes Type 2
Not only do mung beans lower blood glucose levels, they also reduce total cholesterol levels, triglycerides, plasma C peptides and glucagon levels, as was found in a study done by the Institute of Crop Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 2008.
Mung beans also improved glucose tolerance and increased insulin responsiveness.
- Helps Reduce Weight & Fights Obesity
Mung beans are a filling food. The high fiber & protein levels produce longer satiety times due to the double increase of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin as compared to meals that are devoid of these beans.
Therefore consuming mung beans on a regular basis helps decrease food intake, thus lower weight and aid in fighting obesity.
- Boosts Immunity & Protects Against Infections
The wide variety of phytonutrients in mung beans is not only anti inflammatory but anti microbial as well. These help fight harmful bacteria & viruses, maintain healthy gut bacteria and raise immunity levels. They ensure optimal digestive tract health and thus promote optimum nutrient absorption.
- Excellent Source of High-Quality Protein
Along with high levels of protein, mung beans contain high levels of globulin and albumin, the main storage proteins. These account for over 60% of their total amino acids.
The other amino acids including leucine, isoleucine & valine make the protein in mung beans, a complete protein.
For vegans & vegetarians, mung beans, therefore, are an important source of excellent and complete protein that is easily digestible as well.
- Provides Detoxification Benefits
Our ancestors knew about the detoxification effects of mung beans. The protein, tannin & other polyphenols are believed to combine with organophosphorus pesticides, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals thereby promoting their excretion from the body.
- Improves Skin Health
Mung bean phytoestrogens have anti aging benefits as they stimulate the production of collagen, elasticin * hyaluronic acid, all essential to a younger, healthier skin.
Nutrients in Mung Beans
Soaking mung beans in water before cooking reduces the causative anti-nutrients like raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose, as they are soluble in water. These anti-nutrients cause the gas and bloating effect usually noted after eating beans. However, these very anti-nutrients also serve as dietary soluble fiber in the large intestine and help keep the stools soft.
In a nutshell, mung beans are:
- high in protein
- low in calories
- high in fiber
- low in fat
- low in sodium
- low in cholesterol
- contain good to high levels of several B-complex vitamins and some A, C, E and K
- have good to excellent levels of several minerals among them, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, copper & magnesium
- have a low glycemic index of 25 & glycemic load of 4 making them an excellent choice for diabetics
- easily digestible
- balances the tri-doshas
- cooling to the body
- excellent source of antioxidants & phytonutrients
See the table below for detailed nutrient composition.
Mung Beans Raw (Moong Sabut) Nutritional Values
About Mung Beans
Among other names mung beans are also known as moong beans, mungo, mash beans, mungu, moong, green mung beans, green moong dal and green gram.
Mung beans are native to India from where they spread to Southeast Asia. They are a natural nitrogen fixer for the soil being legumes.
In Ayurveda, mung beans have been used for thousands of years. Historical evidence shows that they have been eaten in India for more than 4000 years.
Though these beans have not been much consumed in the West, since the past couple of decades, mung beans are getting popular in the US, and a major portion for consumption is imported from India & China, the rest being cultivated in house.
Mung beans are easy to digest, and, in Ayurveda, they are considered to be Sattvic food, meaning, wholesome food.
Mung beans are mostly eaten cooked in the form of dal in India. Soaking them before cooking and also adding various spices to it during cooking aids in combating the formation of gas & other digestive issues that is natural to all beans.
However, mung beans are considered to be much more easily digestible than most beans and legumes.
Mung beans can be eaten sprouted as well and is a popular way of eating them raw.
Wholesome & Healthy Sabut Moong Recipe
In my video below you can see how easy it is to prepare whole moong dal. Not only is it a delicious dal, it is extremely light to digest which is why doctors in India advise even those who are sick to consume this dal considering it is not only easy to digest but has a lot of nutrients as well. The table above shows the wide variety of nutrients present in this dal.
Whole Mung Beans Dal
Mung Bean Sprouts
An excellent way to bolster further the nutrient values of this dal is to sprout them. And it is not only easy but the dal sprouts qiuckly. All it takes is overnight soaking of the dal and another day hanging in a wet muslin cloth for it to be ready for consumption.
Mung BeansClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mung beans are available in whole, split with the skin intact and split & skinned form. Sprouting the beans not only increases their nutrient availability and digestibility but also their levels.
The tiny mung beans are also a very filling food and offer huge health benefits as well. Ayurveda recommends mun beans as the perfect legume for the sick and combined with rice, as a khichdi, it makes for a perfect diet for the sick and those with weak digestive systems.
Li Shi Zhen (1518-1593), a Chinese doctor & pharmacologist, in his book Ben Cao Gang Mu recommends mung beans not only as a dietary food because of the wealth of nutrients it has but also as a medicine, which Ayurveda said thousands of years earlier..
Moong Dal Khichdi
Watch my video below to see how you can prepare moong dal khichdi, a rice gruel made with made with split & skinned mung beans & rice, a dish light on the digestive system, and so nutritious, that doctors advise the sick, & those with weakened digestive system, to consume it on a regular basis.
Moong Dal Khichdi
Mung Bean DishesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mung Dal Halwa - Mung Bean Pudding
A popular halwa/pudding prepared during celebrations like weddings, festivals like holi, diwali etc and as dessert in winter months as it is warming. The video below is of a Punjabi style moong dal halwa.
Moong Dal Halwa - Mung Bean Pudding
Always Consult Your Physician
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly