Mung Beans - the Queen Bean in Ayurveda

A bowl of green mung beans, vigna radiata, also called 'moong' in South Asia.

What are mung beans? 

Mung beans (vigna radiata) also called 'moong' in South Asia, are small olive-green dried beans that belong to the legume family. They are an integral part of many forms of Asian cuisines. In fact, the Chinese bean sprouts are sprouted from mung beans. 

Mung beans are now becoming popular in North America. Their distinctive and subtle sweet flavour make them very versatile in all kinds of dishes, soups, salads, cakes, desserts and even ice cream!

Ten ways mung beans are a dietary powerhouse  

  1. Mung beans are high in important vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre
    • High folate: 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) per cup
    • Protein: 14 grams per cup
    • Fibre: 15 grams
    • Managanese: 30% the RDI
    • Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
    • Vitamin B1: 22% of the RDI
  2. High in antioxidants which may protect against free radical damage
  3. Antioxidants may prevent heat stroke
  4. May lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, reducing heart disease risk
  5. Rich in potassium, magnesium and fibre which may reduce blood pressure
  6. Fibre and resistant starch aid digestive health
  7. Nutrient composition may lower blood sugar levels
  8. May promote weight loss by suppressing hunger and raising fullness hormones
  9. Folate in mung beans can support a healthy pregnancy
  10. Versatile and easy to add to your diet

Read more here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mung-beans

Let's dig further into the benefits of mung beans

You can buy mung beans in four basic forms: Big and small whole green beans with the skins, split green beans with the skins; and spilt beans without the skins which cook much faster. The whole beans, especially the larger ones are great for sprouting. Mung bean flour is also now available for gluten-free recipes.

Four types of Mung Beans

High in fibre, easy-to-digest plant-based protein: Mung beans contain soluble fibre and resistant starch which can promote digestive health. Even the carbs in mung beans cause less flatulence than other legumes. Mung beans are one of the best sources of low acid-forming plant-proteins that are easy and faster to digest. This makes us feel lighter while satisfying our hunger. Protein digestibility is important because many forms of proteins (plant and meats) can be difficult to digest causing bloating, indigestion and much more.[i]  High acid-forming foods like red meats are take longer and are not easy to digest.

Low calorie, vegan, and gluten-free: with only 40 calories in a cup of Moong Pani soup-tea. Mung beans are excellent in supporting healthy weight management programs. Being free of all animal product derivatives, and free of gluten, makes mung beans a versatile, nutritious and hunger-satisfying alternative for many.

Satiates hunger and quenches thirst: Mung beans release hormones that make us feel full, satiating our hunger and curbing our appetite. This makes us eat less and slashes our calorie intake thus supporting our weight management programs. Just one cup of Moong Pani with a meal, or 20 minutes before a meal will help you eat less, yet feel full and satisfy your hunger.

Animal protein or plant protein? According to Harvard Medical School, plant protein may offer some long term health benefits. [2] Plant-based protein sources (beans and nuts) also include healthy unsaturated fats and fibre, both of which help lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Fibre also helps lower blood pressure, and most Americans are woefully short on this key nutrient. Most animal-based protein sources contain saturated fat, which is less healthy than unsaturated fat. Red meat and eggs also contain a compound called carnitine that, when broken down by gut bacteria, forms a substance that's been linked to hardening of the arteries.

 

A basket full of foods, herbs, spices and natural medicine used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine.

Mung Beans: the Queen of Beans in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, mung (moong) beans are considered the Queen of Pulses and a superfood because of these tiny mighty mung beans are chock full of micronutrients. Of the legume family, it is the lightest and easiest to digest, the least gas forming and has a Sattvic effect on the mind. 

From a western perspective, mung beans are considered alkaline food because they have high quantities of predominantly alkaline minerals – calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, plus they are rich in Vitamin C and folate.  When cooked with rice, mung beans provide a complete protein with all your essential amino acids.[3]

Ayurveda means 'Science of Health and Life'

The philosophy of Ayurveda is to balance the energies of our body and mind through nature and with nature.  

Ayurveda is the world's oldest system of health and healing developed in India more than 5,000 years ago. It is considered the 'Mother of All Healing'. [4]

The philosophy of Ayurveda is that everything in the universe is inherently connected. Our body, mind and environment too are intimately connected. Ayurveda focuses on ways to live in harmony with the universal forces inside and outside of ourselves. This means maintaining a healthy lifestyle, through nourishing foods, yoga, meditation and emotional wellbeing. When something disrupts this balance, we get sick and experience 'dis-ease’. 

The practice of Ayurveda places great emphasis on preventing dis-ease, rather than fighting disease, and proactively balancing the three life energies (called doshas, or constitutions) within each of us: air (vata), fire (pitta), and earth (kapha). Each type of life energy controls a different part of our body and even different aspects of our mind.

Visit the Ayurveda Institute to learn more about Ayurveda.  

Every nutrition program and kitchen should stock mung beans 

Versatile, distinctive and subtly sweet. Mung beans can enhance any menu with flavours that are savoury, spicy, creamy, sweet and much more. You can:

  • Sprout it and add it to salads and stir fry
  • Soup it - make a hearty, delicious soup with a meal or on its own. This is called 'daal' in Indian cuisine.
  • Make khichari (I call this Indian risotto or rice-lentil casserole!). It's a delicious wholesome one-pot meal with mung and rice cooked together with ghee and flavoured with all kinds of spices. 
  • Make stuffed rotis/naans/breads/buns – cook mung in a dry form, flavour and stuff in your choice of buns. With lots of ghee on these rotis, it's heavenly!
  • Make desserts – turn this humble bean into cakes, puddings, sweets, and creamy desserts with coconut milk.
  • Don't forget your Moong Pani Soup-Tea on the go! A simple, easy and healthy way to enjoy mung bean in a cup.  Quench your thirst and satiate your hunger.

 

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References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mung-beans
https://draxe.com/mung-beans-nutrition/
https://foodtolive.com/healthy-blog/mung-beans-benefits-nutrition-facts-recipes/
https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/8-ayurvedic-spices-that-can-help-boost-your-digestive-fire-agni-1737380 
https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/ayurvedic-treatments#1
https://www.muditainstitute.com/resources/blogs/happybelly/mungdaal.html
[i] https://www.self.com/story/sneaky-cause-of-bloating-protein-bloat
https://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/meal-planning/ayurvedic-protein-sources-beans-lentils-dahls.html
https://www.livestrong.com/article/28321-easytodigest-high-protein/
[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/ask-the-doctor-best-protein-animals-or-plants
[3] https://www.muditainstitute.com/resources/blogs/happybelly/mungdaal.html
[4] 
https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide