Even though legumes are such a popular staple food, yet most of us are oblivious of the tremendous benefits this food class can offer to us. Besides, notwithstanding the increasing awareness to make this class of food a part of our daily diet, yet several people are still ignorant of what they stand to gain by simply eating legumes. It is very heartbreaking that certain individuals, even in this day and age, still consume only starchy foods (for example, rice, maize, sugar etc) from morning till night, from week to week and from year to year and they still feel comfortable about it.
The problem is not that such people can’t afford to purchase legumes however, such individuals regard starchy food as more delicious and as a balanced diet. The fact is that several studies have confirmed that regular consumption of legumes is associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases. This calls for increased consumption of legumes in other to facilitate the healthy functioning of the body as well as to prevent the onset of certain health challenges.
Interestingly, legumes are classified as a superfood, which connotes that they are a nutrient-rich food considered to be highly beneficial for the healthy functioning and well-being of our bodies. There are various varieties of legumes that are a source of vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals that lower the risk of the following health conditions such as; cancer, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, indigestion, high sugar level and weight gain etc.
Some varieties of legumes include; black beans, tamarind, alfalfa, peanuts, clover, carob, peas, lupin bean, lentils, soybeans, mung beans and mesquite etc. However, the legume that is of interest for discussion is the mung beans. Mung beans are one of the essential leguminous pulses for human consumption. Mung beans are leguminous grains or pulses that belong the Leguminosae family of Fabaceae.
Mung bean is botanically known as Vigna radiata and is equally known by other names such as; haricots moong, Sanskrit मुद्ग / mudga, judia mungo, mung-bohnen, fagioli mungo, munke boenner, green gram, feijao-mungo, mung bonen or moong bean. It is a tropical and subtropical plant crop that is originally from Asia before spreading to other parts of the world such as Australia, America and Europe. Being a functional food, mung bean is consumed mainly for its high protein content. It is also an annual crop that is presently receiving an increasing global demand due to its outstanding contributions towards the health, agricultural, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors.
Studies reveal that mung beans contain antihypertensive, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antitumor, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, consuming mung beans is considered effective for regulating lipid metabolism. Tang et al., (2014) reported that mung beans consumption is essential for detoxification processes, for alleviating heat stroke, moisturising the skin, boosting the mental functionality and for alleviating gastrointestinal disorders.
11 Powerful Benefits of Mung Beans
Mung beans can serve as green pods, dried seeds, forage, vegetables or seeds for food preparation. Mung bean sprouts can be stir-fried alone as a vegetable or paired with other vegetables such as scallion, ginger, green pepper, carrots etc. Dried mung seeds can be cooked whole, ground into flour or fermented. Mung beans are preferably soaked overnight or up to 14 hours before cooking in other to facilitate quicker cooking.
Studies reveal that germination or sprouting of the mung bean helps to improve its nutritional and medicinal properties. Besides, sprouting makes the mung beans easier to digest. It is worthy to note that soaking and sprouting mung beans are quite important for minimising the antinutrients present.
Even though that mung beans contain a minimal amount of antinutrients, it is always preferable to sprout and soak them before consumption. Different countries have different cuisines for mung beans and both the seeds and green pods can be used for preparing beans porridge, soup, sautéed mung bean stew (ginisáng monggó), vegetable curries, Vietnamese spring rolls, ice cream, salad, smoothies, frozen ice pops, alcoholic beverages, lumpiang togue and confectioneries (bread, cake, pancakes, snacks).
Cooked mung beans can be ground with any ingredients of choice such as salt, pepper, jaggery, turmeric, coconut milk, egg and used for preparing pancakes or any snacks of choice. The starch extracted from ground mung beans can be used for preparing transparent cellophane noodles that are also referred to as tung hoon (冬粉), bún tào, glass noodles, bean thread noodles, miến, bean threads, fensi (粉絲) or bún tàu. The ground mung beans can also be used for preparing bindaetteok, green bean sheets, nokdumuk, liangfen (凉粉, pesarattu and mung bean sheets etc.
How to Sprout Mung Beans
~ Add mung beans in a container covered with water.
~ Place in a conducive environment and allow to stay between 4 to 6 hours of daytime.
~ Let the mung beans spend the rest of the day in a dark condition.
~ These steps help to yield mung bean sprouts.
Chemical Constituents of Mung Beans
Prokudina et al., (2012) developed a UPLC–MS/MS method for analysing 26 phenolic compounds. Out of the 26 phenolic compounds, only 14 compounds were quantified in mung bean sprouts. Detected were 4 flavanones (naringenin, hesperetin, naringin and naringenin-7-glucoside), 5 flavones (rutin, apigenin, quercetin, kaempferol and quercetin-3-glucoside), 15 isoflavonoids (ononin, daidzein, osajin, sissotrin, genistein, pomiferin, isoformononetin, daidzin, formononetin, genistin, prunetin and biochanin A), a coumarine (scopoletin) and a coumestan (coumestrol).
Nutritional Values of Mung Beans
Tang et al., (2014) reported that mung beans are an excellent source of balanced nutrients, such as protein, magnesium, dietary fibre, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, iron, oligosaccharides (verbascose, raffinose and stachyose) and amino acids.
Recommended for PCOS Women
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition marked by abnormal hormone levels in the body. The actual cause of this health challenge is still unclear however, it is associated with high levels of insulin in the body, which usually affect the functioning of a woman’s ovaries.
Many studies have recommended the daily consumption of mung beans by PCOS women due to the d-chiro inositol found in it. D-chiro-inositol is considered a secondary messenger that is effective for restoring better insulin sensitivity and better hormonal pattern in PCOS patients. Benelli et al., (2016) reported that a combined therapy of D-chiro-inositol (DCI) and Myo-Inositol (MI) is effective for improving the endocrine and metabolic functioning of young obese PCOS women.
Hsu et al., (2011) investigated the efficacy of mung beans sprout in reducing hypertension. They used different dosages of dried sprout extracts (DSE), enzyme-digested sprout extracts and raw sprout extract (RSE) in a single intragastric administration test. The aim was to examine the short-term of these mung beans extracts on spontaneously hypertensive rats.
The results showed that high dosages of (600 mg peptide/kg body weight) extracts significantly reduced the systolic blood pressure (SBP) of the rats after administering for 6–9, 3–6 and 3–9 h, respectively. The plasma angiotensin I-converting enzyme activities in the trial rats also reduced.
Furthermore, a one-month intervention study that comprises of treatment groups of dried sprout powder, concentrated extracts of the sprouts (raw sprout extract and dried sprout extracts) and fresh sprout powder was performed. The results showed that the sprout powders were not as effective as the concentrated sprout extracts.
Protective against Heat Stress
A popular belief is that mung beans soup (MBS) helps to alleviate heat stress. Due to lack of evidence supporting the efficacy of MBS in alleviating heat stress, Cao et al., (2011) embarked on a research.
Their experiment revealed that isovitexin and vitexin are the main antioxidants found in mung beans of which more than 96% of these antioxidants are present in the mung bean seed coats. The results showed that mung beans soup is effective for preventing heat stress injury.
Tang et al., (2014) reported that the polypeptides, proteins, polyphenols and polysaccharides from the hulls, seeds and sprouts of mung beans all exhibit antioxidant activity.
Yao et al., (2008) investigated the antidiabetic effects of mung bean seed coat (MBSC) extracts and mung bean sprout (MBS) extracts in type 2 diabetic mice. The results showed that mung bean seed coat (3 g/kg) and mung bean sprout (2 g/kg) reduced the blood glucose, glucagon, plasma C-peptide, triglyceride and total cholesterol while simultaneously improving the glucose tolerance and increasing the insulin immunoreactive levels. These show that mung bean seed coat and mung bean sprout possess antidiabetic effects.
Yao et al., (2014) investigated the effect of mung bean protein on the blood cholesterol level and gene expression of cholesterol-regulating enzymes in Golden Syrian hamsters maintained on a 0.1% cholesterol diet. The results showed that mung bean protein (MBP) reduced plasma total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerols and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL) concentrations as well as the hepatic cholesterol concentrations after a 6-week treatment. The study concluded that mung bean protein can decrease the plasma cholesterol activity.
Mung beans are easy to digest unlike the other types of beans such as white beans, browns beans etc that cause bloating after consumption. Due to its high dietary fibre, this legume facilitates easy food digestion thereby promoting easy elimination of unwanted toxins and wastes from the body.
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms such as indigestion, bloating, constipation, heartburn and flatulence, eat mung beans on a daily basis. But it is preferable to soak the beans in water for a couple of hours before cooking in other to gain all the benefits therein.
Vinh et al., (2012) carried out two experiments to determine the impact of mung beans hull (MBH) in maize based diets for pre-laying and laying periods of hens. The study showed that mung bean hull can serve as a high-cost feeds replacement for layers.
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DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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