Preparing mung beans is straight forward, and people can add them to a variety of dishes.
In this article, we discuss the potential health benefits of mung beans and their nutritional value. We also give advice on how much of this food type to eat, how to prepare them, and some recipe ideas.
Mung beans may help to lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure.
Mung beans are a type of pulse, which means they are an edible seed of the legume plant family.
Similarly to all pulses, mung beans are nutritionally balanced. They contain vitamins, minerals, and beneficial enzymes, which makes them an excellent part of a healthful diet.
According to a 2014 review, evidence suggests that mung beans may have several potential health benefits, including:
- Antioxidant effects. Research shows that several compounds in mung beans demonstrate antioxidant activity.
- Antifungal and antimicrobial activity. These include some against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.
- Anti-inflammatory activity. Test tube studies suggest that mung bean extracts may have potential to improve symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as allergies.
- Diabetes. Studies in rats suggest mung bean extracts may help lower blood glucose levels.
- Hypertension. Studies in rats suggest sprout extracts may help lower blood pressure.
- Cancer. Test tube studies suggest that compounds in mung beans may have antitumor properties.
However, further studies in humans are needed for scientists to confirm and better understand these properties.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams (g) of boiled mung beans contain:
- 7.02 g of protein
- 19.15 g carbohydrate, including 2 g sugar
- 7.60 g dietary fiber
Mung beans are also a good source of B vitamins that are necessary for a range of bodily functions and help maintain the brain's health.
In particular, mung beans are an excellent source of vitamin B-9, also known as folate, which helps a person's body make DNA. Folate is essential before and during pregnancy, as it helps prevent some birth abnormalities.
The USDA report that 100 g of mung beans contain 159 micrograms (mcg) of folate. The recommended daily allowance for folate is 400 mcg for adults and 600 mcg during pregnancy. So, it is unlikely that a person will meet their folate requirement by eating mung beans alone.
For women, dietary supplements may be a more practical way of getting the correct amount of folate before and during pregnancy.
How much to eat?
People can eat mung beans as part of a healthful diet.
According to the Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, evidence has shown that legumes, such as mung beans, can be part of a healthful eating pattern.
Research also suggests that plant-based diets are a vital way for people to improve their health, and reduce the risk of a variety of chronic illnesses. Eating mung beans can be a good way of getting more plant-based food into a person's diet.
While mung beans are an excellent source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, it is vital to eat other plant-based foods also. Mung beans do not contain all the nutrition a person needs. Eating a variety of plant-based food is the best way to achieve a healthful diet.
Quantity matters as well. Although mung beans are rich in vitamins and minerals, a person needs to make them and other plant-based foods the main part of some of their meals to get the most benefit from them.
One way to get plenty of plant-based food into multiple meals is to cook a large, plant-based evening dinner and save a good-sized portion for lunch the next day.
Repeating this throughout the week will guarantee that two of a person's meals are full of plant-based food.
Preparation and recipe tips
Mung beans, along with many other pulses, are a great and easy-to-prepare addition to a variety of meals.
To cook dried mung beans, simply add them to boiling water and simmer for up to 45 minutes. Test the simmering beans regularly and remove from the heat once they have reached the right texture.
Mung beans can be a little bland on their own, but people can easily incorporate them into a larger meal. Boiled mung beans can be part of:
- dressed salad
- curry or dhal
- tomato-based sauce
Mung beans do not have a strong flavor, which means they work well in a variety of dishes. Similarly to other pulses, they are useful for adding texture or protein to a meal. A person can try experimenting with them and incorporating them into different recipes.
Some healthful and tasty mung bean recipes ideas include:
- mung bean and coconut curry
- mung beans with caramelized onions and nigella seeds
- Ayurvedic spinach-mung detox soup
Mung beans are a good source of protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Early research also suggests that mung beans may have a range of potential health benefits, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Eating more legumes can be part of a healthful eating pattern and an effective way of incorporating more plant-based foods into a person's diet. Mung beans are easy to prepare and people can add them to many different dishes.
Both dried and ready-to-serve mung beans are available to purchase online.