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Mung beans (Vigna radiate) – also known as green grams or golden grams – are small round beans with lots of nutritional values, owed to their rich composition of fiber, vitamins, iron, magnesium, and folate among other essential nutrients.
The first archeological evidence of domestication of mung beans comes from India, where they first grew in the wild about 4,500 years back.People began cultivating these legumes in India approximately 3,000 years ago before the culture spread to Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.They also found their way to Africa because of their adaptation to warm climates and ability to feed undernourished populations.
Presently, mung beans are most popular in India, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, the US, and some parts of southern Europe.
Health Benefits of Mung Beans
• Rich source of vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients
Every one cup serving of mung beans provides a whopping 100 percent of your daily folate (vitamin B9) requirement.Folate plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis, hormonal balance, cognitive function, cell and tissue growth, and reproduction.
For an average adult, one cup serving of the beans could provide about 36 percent of the daily magnesium needs.Magnesium is essential for digestive health, proper heartbeat functioning, repairing muscle tissue in highly active people, and neurotransmitter release.
They are also high in protein.According to the Department of Chemistry at Harbin Institute of Technology in China, for a plant, it has impressive protein content with about 20 to 24 percent of its structure being amino acids.
Its nutrition is also rich in other useful amino acids such as leucine, valine, and isoleucine which, when used alongside other plant sources such as whole grains and vegetable, account for a complete protein diet.
• Helps lower cholesterol and prevent heart diseases
Mung beans are highly effective at preventing LDL cholesterol oxidation, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Human and Experimental Toxicology.Oxidized LDL cholesterol is among the leading causes of life-threatening cardiovascular incidences like heart attacks and stroke.It accumulates in the endothelium (inner lining of blood vessels) and blocks blood flow, leading to cardiac arrests.
One efficient way of regulating cholesterol is through the consumption of mung beans.Their antioxidants act as potent free-radical scavengers, undoing the damage on blood vessels and lowering inflammation.Due to their ability to prevent arteries from blocking and improve circulation, these beans make a great addition to any anti-inflammatory diet.
• Helps lower high blood pressure
One 2014 study that appeared in the Chemistry Central Journal found a decrease in systolic blood pressure among rats that were given extracts from mung bean sprouts for a month.The researchers attributed the legumes' anti-hypertensive effects to their high peptide concentration which helps decrease constriction of blood vessels.
• Prevents against type 2 diabetes
There is growing evidence that mung bean nutrition is significantly anti-diabetic and can provide a natural remedy for preventing or treating diabetes type 2.In 2008, a study by the Institute of Crop Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences revealed that giving rats mung bean supplements resulted in decreased blood glucose, glucagon, plasma C-peptide, total cholesterol, and triglyceride.The rodents also exhibited improved glucose tolerance and higher insulin responsiveness.
Mung beans have shown anti-tumor properties such as protecting against DNA damage and dangerous cell mutations in clinical studies.Experts think it's because of their high levels of amino acids – polyphenols and oligosaccharides.
According to a study conducted in 2012 by the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, the bean's antioxidant capacities are due to the presence of two types of protective flavonoids – vitexin and isovitexin – that have high free-radical scavenging abilities.These flavonoids reduce oxidative processes that contribute to the formation of cancer.
• Helps with weight loss
Many studies have found that satiety significantly increases following the consumption of mung beans.In one study reported in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that a single meal containing the high-fiber legumes produced double amounts of cholecystokinin (a satiety hormone) when compared to other meals.
Furthermore, mung beans have low calories, making them one of the healthiest diets for people looking to lose weight while staying healthy.
• Anti-aging benefits
The secret behind mung bean's powerful anti-aging properties is believed to be copper, which reduces wrinkles, age spots and age lines.The presence of copper in mung beans has given them popularity in various face creams and face packs, with some individuals using ground mung beans for a facial scrub.
• Helps reduce PMS symptoms
The B vitamins (such as vitamin B6) and folate in mung beans are essential for controlling hormone fluctuations that can cause PMS symptoms.B vitamins, magnesium, and folate are useful in lowering the severity and pain of PMS cramps, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, and muscle pains.