Mung Beans are rich in pectin, a soluble fibre which speeds up the movement of food through the gut, thus helping to keep bowels regular. Pectin also works with the good bacteria in the intestines, turning the fibre into a soothing coating for irritated intestinal walls. This benefits cases of both diarrhoea and constipation. Finally, pectin binds to cholesterol, increasing its elimination from the body, and slows down glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrates.
Another compound found in Mung Beans (and most other beans), is known as “resistant starch”. Acting in a similar way to soluble fibre, resistant starch nourishes beneficial gut bacteria. It is turned into short chain fatty acids, in particular, butyrate. Butyrate has been shown to boost the immune defences in the gut and to nourish colon cells.
The astringency of Mung Beans helps to cleanse and tone the digestive system and aids in the purging of toxins from the bowels and intestines.
Healthy Weight Loss
The high levels of protein and fibre in Mung Beans mean they not only fill you up, they have also been shown to suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin. According to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition”, just one meal containing high fibre beans such as Mung Beans led to a twofold greater increase in the satiety hormone cholecystokinin.
Furthermore, a review conducted on nine studies found that people felt on average 30% fuller after eating legumes than after eating pasta or bread.
Type 2 Diabetes
High blood sugar levels are one of the major risk factors to the development of type 2 diabetes. The high fibre and protein content helps to slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream. However, Mung Beans also contain the antioxidants vitexin and isovitexin, which can lower blood sugar levels and help insulin work more effectively.
In 2008, the "Institute of Crop Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences" performed as study in which they gave Mung Bean supplements to rats. The results showed the rats experienced lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowered blood glucose, glucagon and plasma C-peptide. They also significantly improved glucose tolerance and increased insulin responsiveness.
It is a well-known fact that folate (vitamin B9), is essential for a healthy pregnancy. It is recommended that women consume at least 600 mcg of this critical nutrient during pregnancy. Just one serving of Mung Beans provides 625 mcg of folate, plus high-quality plant protein and fibre, other B vitamins and many minerals that all contribute to a healthy baby!
High in Antioxidants
Mung Beans are rich in many healthy antioxidants, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, caffeic acid and cinnamic acid. One of the most important health benefits of antioxidants is their ability to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are rogue atoms or atomic groups that have lost at least one electron, forcing them to steal electrons from neighbouring molecules in the hope of stabilising themselves. Unsurprisingly, this can cause havoc in the body, leading to a whole host of health problems. A diet that contains plenty of antioxidant-rich foods can help to keep the immune system healthy and lower the risk of infections.
Folklore and history
Scholars separate the domestication of Mung Beans into two different species: a kind that grew in southern India (which was a larger-seeded Mung Bean and was domesticated 3,000 to 3,500 years ago) and an even older kind of Mung Bean that has smaller seeds and grew in northern India. Cultivated Mung Beans later spread from India to China and other parts of Southeast Asia.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, tiny green Mung Beans (lu dou) eaten as soup or congee can expel toxins. Li Shizhen, a pharmacologist in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), identified medical functions of Mung Beans and recorded them in "Ben Cao Gang Mu" (Compendium of Materia Medica), a classic of TCM pharmacopoeia. Li said the cooked bean could help relieve edema, clear internal heat and toxins, relieve heat stroke and thirst, calm the nerves, reinforce yuan qi (energy), harmonise the organs and nourish the skin.
Originating on the Indian sub-continent, the Mung Bean is one of the world’s oldest superfoods. It was domesticated over 3,000 years ago in around 1500 BCE, although archaeological evidence shows they were harvested from wild plants by the Harappan civilisation in the Punjab area of India over 4,500 years ago.
Mung Beans have been popular in the ancient traditional healing systems of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. Both systems prize these nutritious beans for their ability to tone, heal and support the digestive system. In TCM they are also valued for reducing coldness and dampness and to support the spleen. In Ayurveda they are considered astringent and “sattvic”, meaning they will suit all types of people and constitutions.
Mung Beans can be cooked and added to stir fries, soups and stews. They can also be sprouted and used as a healthy addition to salads.
Mung Beans are high in protein, fibre, folate, B spectrum vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
Other constituents include; flavonoids, phenolic acids, organic acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should cook Mung Beans before consumption.
If you are taking diabetic medication, please consult your healthcare practitioner before consuming Mung Beans.