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Mung Bean Well-Being
Mung beans have been a food staple in the East for thousands of years. Originating in India, their cultivation spread to China, Japan, and throughout Southeast Asia. In Ayurveda, they are highly valued for their balanced nature. They are considered healthy for all three constitutions of the human body, vata, pitta, and kapha. Unlike most legumes, mung beans are not as difficult to digest. In Asian culture, mung beans, health and well-being are interconnected. They are considered to be a healing food for a range of ailments, as they are cleansing in nature, and provide a balanced nutritional value.
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What is the nutritional value of these legumes? They supply a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, along with protein, essential fatty acids, and fiber. Mung beans are a great source of the B-complex vitamins, as are most legumes. The B vitamins are necessary for energy production and the well-being of the nervous system. Deficiencies are linked to depression, and memory loss in older people. These beans also supply vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and helping to prevent bruising and varicose veins. This nutrient is also an integral part of bone health, assisting in the utilization of calcium.
Mung beans are also well-balanced mineral sources. They have a very good amount of potassium. This mineral is necessary for balancing sodium, for a normal heart rhythm, and for a healthy nervous system. Mung beans nutritional value includes magnesium, which acts as an enzyme in energy production, helps the body absorb calcium and potassium, and is needed for efficient nerve and muscle impulses. Iron, another essential mineral found in mung beans, plays an important role in providing the entire body with oxygen-rich blood. Phosphorus is good for bone and tooth formation, kidney function, and heart rhythm; copper is used for healing, energy production, and the nervous system – both of these minerals are part of the health value of mung beans.
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Cooking Mung Beans
Mung beans are different than other beans in that they do not require a long cooking time, especially the split mung beans. These small beans, not much larger than black lentils, can be found either whole, in which case they are usually a vibrant yellow-green, or split, and pale yellow in color. Whole mung beans cook in about one hour, while split mung beans may take about thirty minutes. Mung beans are mild and buttery in flavor. They can be used in place of other beans for a quick, and often more nutritious substitute. In Indian cooking, mung beans are often ground into a flour, and used to make cakes or noodles. Mung bean sprouts also have a high nutritional value, as they are extremely rich in vitamin C. The sprouts can be added to salads, or lightly cooked and served with rice and vegetables.
Mung beans are an excellent legume choice when health is a priority. They are also easy to cook, easy to digest, and have a highly approachable flavor. Try using mung beans in your next bean dish.
Balch, Phyllis A, CNC. “ Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Group, 2006).
photo credit: Not a Hipster