Bean Sprouts Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bean sprouts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Sprouts are seeds that have been watered and germinated to produce a thin stalk and leaflets. They are harvested when they are about three to five days old. There are many varieties, including bean sprouts from all kinds of beans, such as mung beans and soybeans; alfalfa sprouts; broccoli sprouts; and clover sprouts.

The leafier the sprouts are, the their nutritional content is more similar to green leafy vegetables. Sprouts are easy to grow at home. For example, a tablespoon of alfalfa seeds will sprout to fill a quart jar. Be sure to buy seeds labeled "for sprouting."

Bean Sprout Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (90g) of raw bean sprouts.

  • Calories: 27
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 5.4mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5.4g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Sugars: 3.7g
  • Protein: 2.7g
  • Iron: 0.8mg
  • Magnesium: 18.9mg
  • Vitamin C: 11.9mg
  • Folate: 54.9mcg
  • Vitamin K: 29.7mcg


As with most non-starchy vegetables, scientists haven't tested the glycemic index of bean sprouts, but assume that it is very low due to the low amount of carbohydrates (just 5.4 grams for 1 cup of bean sprouts). 


Bean sprouts contain just a trace amount of fat. Most of the fats found in sprouts are mono and polyunsaturated.


Beans are a good plant-based source of protein, but bean sprouts have less protein than mature beans. For example, a cup of cooked mung beans contains 12 grams of protein , whereas 1 cup of bean sprouts offers just 2.7 grams.

Still, sprouts have more protein than other leafy greens, with 3 grams per cup for mung bean sprouts versus less than 1 gram for spinach, for example. Sprouting increases the amounts and bioavailability of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Nutrition experts have noted that "sprouts provide excellent quality nutrients and, by weight, are the rich sources of an array of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants." A one cup serving is a good source of vitamin C (providing roughly 13% of the RDA) and provides antioxidants such as cryptoxanthin.


Bean sprouts contain 27 calories per cup (90g) serving. Those calories come primarily from carbs at 63%, followed by 32% protein, and 5% fat.


Bean sprouts are a low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetable that provides fiber and nutrients like iron, magnesium, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C. They are excellent for adding to stir-fries, salads, and sandwiches.

Health Benefits

Research has shown that some sprouts from bean sprouts to broccoli sprouts have fairly high levels of phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidant properties.

Lowers Cholesterol

A small, short-term study of broccoli sprouts found that their antioxidants could lower total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and significantly increase HDL ("good") cholesterol in human participants. A slightly larger study published in 2015 found similar effects on cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes who consumed lentil sprouts.

Provides Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Mung beans contain balanced nutrients, including protein and dietary fiber, and significant amounts of bioactive phytochemicals. High levels of proteins, amino acids, oligosaccharides, and polyphenols in mung beans contribute to antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties.

More research is needed in this area, but some preliminary studies show that the antioxidants in mung bean sprouts can have several powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They can contribute to the treatment of cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), and sepsis (a serious, systemic inflammation of the body).

More research is needed in this area, but some preliminary studies show that the antioxidants in mung bean sprouts can have several powerful anti-inflammatory effects. They can contribute to the treatment of cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), and sepsis (a serious, systemic inflammation of the body).

May Boost Immune System

Bean sprouts contain vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium, along with flavonoids that may improve immune functioning. A strong immune system is necessary for warding off infections, viruses, and diseases as well as recovering from illness.

Important Source of Plant-Based Nutrients

Some nutrients are more challenging to obtain on a plant-based diet, including iron, zinc, protein, and B vitamins. Bean sprouts provide all of these nutrients in higher quantities than many other plant foods, making them ideal for those who avoid animal products. Keep in mind that the iron found in plant sources is far less absorbable than that from animal sources, so you still may need to supplement.

May Support Bone Health

Bean sprouts contain vitamin K, which is important for bone health. They also contain manganese and zinc, which support healthy bone formation as well. The phytoestrogens found in soybean sprouts may also help to promote bone mineralization by promoting calcium levels.

May Help Prevent Degenerative Diseases

Research shows that including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet, such as legumes and bean sprouts, is positively correlated with the lower occurrence of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s diseases.


People who are allergic to soy should not consume soybean sprouts. People with peanut allergies may also experience reactions when consuming sprouts made from various beans. If you or your child has a soy or peanut allergy, talk with your doctor about how best to manage this allergy to avoid serious reactions.

Adverse Effects

Bacteria can thrive in a warm, humid environment, which are exactly the conditions in which sprouts are grown. As a result, there have been outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with eating raw and lightly cooked sprouts. People at high risk of food poisoning (such as children, pregnant women, and anyone with a compromised immune system) shouldn't eat sprouts unless they are fully cooked.


Mung bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are some of the more commonly consumed sprouts, but almost any seed or legume can be used for sprouting. Here is how the nutrition facts stack up according to data provided by the USDA.

  Mung bean sprouts Alfalfa sprouts Broccoli, clover, and mustard sprouts
Calories 31 8 20
Carbohydrates 6g 0.7g 2g
Fiber 1.9g 0.6g 2g
Sugars 4.3g 0.1g 0
Protein 3g 1.3g 2g

Microgreens can look similar to sprouts, but they are a little different. They grow in soil and only the leaves and stems are harvested and eaten. Sprouts, on the other hand, grow in water and the seed and roots are usually consumed along with the stems and leaves.

When They're Best

Bean sprouts and other sprouts are typically available year-round. When choosing sprouts, look for ones that are firm and firmly attached to their stems. The leaves should be a rich green. The stems should be white in color. The container should not be moist or smelly, and the sprouts should not look slimy. If you are buying them in a store, look for the International Sprout Growers Association seal.

Storage and Food Safety

Sprouts are highly perishable and must be used soon after being purchased, preferably in a day or two and no more than three days. Sprouts should be washed after being purchased and stored cold at all times (in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or below).

To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, buy only fresh sprouts that have been kept refrigerated. Rinse them thoroughly before eating, and wash your hands before and after handling.

How to Prepare

Many people eat sprouts raw on sandwiches, salads, or in spring rolls, but eating sprouts raw does pose a risk of illness. Cooking helps to lower this risk. Try putting sprouts in soups or stir-fries, or you can roast them in the oven as you would any vegetable.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Mung beans, cooked. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  3. USDA, FoodData Central. Spinach, raw.

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  5. Tang D, Dong Y, Ren H, Li L, He C. A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common food mung bean and its sprouts (Vigna radiata). Chem Cent J. 2014;8(1):4. doi:10.1186/1752-153X-8-4

  6. Murashima M, Watanabe S, Zhuo XG, Uehara M, Kurashige A. Phase 1 study of multiple biomarkers for metabolism and oxidative stress after one-week intake of broccoli sprouts. Biofactors. 2004;22(1-4):271-5. doi:10.1002/biof.5520220154

  7. Aslani Z, Mirmiran P, Alipur B, Bahadoran Z, Abbassalizade Farhangi M. Lentil sprouts effect on serum lipids of overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Health Promot Perspect. 2015;5(3):215-24. doi:10.15171/hpp.2015.026

  8. Jensen LB, Pedersen MH, Skov PS, et al. Peanut cross-reacting allergens in seeds and sprouts of a range of legumes. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(12):1969-77. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03129.x

  9. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Are sprouts safe to eat?.

Additional Reading

By Laura Dolson
Laura Dolson is a health and food writer who develops low-carb and gluten-free recipes for home cooks.