Mung bean, also called green gram or moong, scientific name Vigna radiata, is a plant of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. The fruits of this plant are pods that contain edible seeds characterized by a peel of an intense green color. These seeds can be found on the market both in the dried form, in this case they should be soaked in water and then cooked, or in the form of sprouts, the famous mung bean sprouts, that can also be self-produced at home. Mung beans are the most used seeds in the world to produce sprouts. Both dried seeds and mung bean sprouts contain interesting nutrients and are characterized by healthy properties, we’ll see better in detail.
Both dried beans and sprouts are sources of group B vitamins and mineral salts, such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. Mung beans and sprouts bring also essential amino acids, which are amino acids that the body cannot produce by itself, are antioxidant thanks to the content in flavonoids and isoflavones, they have anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antihypertensive properties, namely they play a role in keeping blood pressure values at bay (USDA Food composition Database). Moreover, mung products show an antidiabetic action, thus helping to keep blood sugar under control, they are also useful in the case of obesity and overweight given the low caloric intake. Finally, they play an important role in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides (Tang et al, Chem Cent, Jan 2014 - Yao et al, Plant Foods Hum Nutr, Jun 2014). However, during the sprouting process, reactions are activated that modify, or better, maximize, some properties. In fact, dried legumes are made up of about 20-25% protein, are abundant in amino acids, have carbohydrates, about 60%, including starches. The sprouting phase increases the content of all the amino acids and reduces instead the presence of starches. In addition to this, the sprouts have also more antioxidant substances than the dried mung beans, in fact the quantities of caffeic acid, ferulic acid and catechins increase, and the amount of vitamin C also is higher. Mung bean sprouts have also shown a powerful antiviral and antimicrobial action. In fact, they are useful to counteract Helicobacter pylori, one of the most common infections in humans and the cause of gastric problems such as ulcers (Tang et al, Chem Cent, Jan 2014). Not only that, mung sprout extracts have proved to be able to counteract the herpes virus of the lip with an action comparable to that of Acyclovir, a drug used to treat this problem (Hafidh et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, Jun 2015). Sprouting also appears to increase the capacity of mung beans to reduce cholesterol and protect the liver (Lopes et al, Nutrients, Jun 2018). Finally, bean sprouts have less phytic acid than dry beans. Phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient, a substance that can reduce the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. (Mubarak, Food Chemistry, Mar 2005).
How to eat them
Dries mung beans, like all legumes, need a period of soaking in cold water. After a few hours you can drain them and cook them in boiling water for 20 minutes. Then, you can use them to prepare soups but also burger, vegan balls and salads. Alternatively, you can buy sprouts or, even better, mung beans for sprouting and produce sprouts at home. Then, you should rinse very good the sprouts and you can add them to salads. A video blog is also coming soon in which we will see how to produce the sprouts at home! Keep on following us!