Mung Beans: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Mung beans in a bowl

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Mung beans are a nutritionally diverse food that belongs to the legume family. Other names for mung beans include green gram, maash, moong, monggo, or munggo. They are mainly cultivated in Asia, Africa, and South America, but mung beans are enjoyed by people all around the world.

Like other types of legumes, mung beans are a rich source of plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients.

Though mung beans have a mild flavor, they make for an excellent canvas for a variety of flavorful recipes, including soups, stews, salads, and curries. Some vegans even use mung beans to make egg-free scrambles and omelets. 

Mung Beans Nutrition Facts

One cup (202g) of boiled and drained mung beans provides 212 calories, 0.8 grams of fat, 38.8 grams of carbohydrates, and 14.2 grams of protein. Mung beans are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, copper, and B vitamins. The following nutrition information, for one cup of cooked and drained mung beans, is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 212
  • Fat: 0.8g
  • Sodium: 4.04mg
  • Carbohydrates: 38.8g
  • Fiber: 15.4g
  • Sugars: 4.04g
  • Protein: 14.2g
  • Potassium: 537mg
  • Copper: 0.32mg
  • Thiamin (B1): 0.33mg
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 0.83mg

Carbohydrates

A 1-cup serving of mung beans that have been boiled without added salt delivers most of its energy from carbohydrates. The carbs in mung beans are mainly complex carbohydrates, which provide the body with sustained energy. 

Fiber and starch are two types of complex carbs, both of which are found in mung beans. A cup of cooked mung beans provides 15.4 grams of fiber, which helps to keep food traveling readily through the gastrointestinal tract and is associated with many health benefits.

Like other types of legumes, mung beans also contain starch, which gives a boost of energy when consumed. Along with fiber and starch, mung beans contain 4.04 grams of sugar per cup.

Fats

Mung beans are almost a fat-free food. A cup of mung beans contains 0.8 grams of fat. They are not a significant source of healthy fats, though they can be cooked or served with other dietary sources of fat like oils, nuts, and seeds.

Protein

Those who do not consume meat or other protein-rich animal products may be interested in the protein content in mung beans. One cup of cooked and drained mung beans provides 14.2 grams of protein, which includes some essential amino acids.

Vitamins and Minerals

Mung beans are packed with vitamins and minerals. You will get approximately 80% of your daily recommended intake of folate if you consume a cup of cooked mung beans. 

Mung beans are also rich in potassium, copper, thiamin (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and manganese. They provide smaller amounts of selenium, calcium, choline, and vitamin K.

Summary

Mung beans are a protein-rich pulse that provide a significant amount of fiber, folate, and complex carbohydrates. They are a nutrient-dense source of copper and other minerals but provide minimal amounts of fat.

Health Benefits

Mung beans are known for having the following potential health benefits.

May Demonstrate Antioxidant Effects

Researchers have found several antioxidants in mung beans, including linoleic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid, and more. These antioxidants help neutralize free radical activity, which can reduce the risk of disease. Free radical damage has been linked to heart disease, cancer, chronic inflammation, and other diseases.

May Help Lower Blood Glucose Levels

High blood sugar is a main characteristic of diabetes and has been linked to other chronic diseases. Consuming high fiber carbohydrates can help keep blood sugar levels stable. Some animal studies have shown that mung bean extracts may portray antidiabetic activities.

Sprouts May Have Anticancer Properties

An extract made from mung bean sprouts has been shown in some research to possess potent anti-cancer properties on cells in a lab. In a 2012 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that extract from mung bean sprouts acted as an anticancer agent for human cells in a lab.

May Help Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a serious issue because it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, but only about 1 in 4 have their condition under control.

Some lifestyle changes, including adopting a balanced diet, can help lower blood pressure. Some of the nutrients in mung beans, including potassium, magnesium, and fiber, have been linked to a lower risk of high blood pressure.

May Aid Digestive Health

A variety of nutrients present in mung beans are beneficial for gut health, including fiber. The 15.4 grams of fiber in a cup of cooked mung beans contribute significantly to the daily recommended intake of 28 to 34 grams and 22 to 28 grams of fiber for men and women, respectively. The soluble fiber and resistant starch present in mung beans promote healthy digestion. Mung bean protein is also easier to digest than the protein in other legumes.

Allergies

Although allergies to mung beans are uncommon, some people who are allergic to peanuts or soy may be allergic to mung beans as well due to cross-reactivity. If you have a peanut or soy allergy, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider to determine if you can eat mung beans.

Adverse Effects

Despite the rich nutritional profile of mung bean sprouts, you may want to avoid them if you are pregnant or nursing. There is a higher risk of bacterial growth in sprouts, including mung bean sprouts when they are not cleaned or sprouted properly. In fact, they can develop bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which may cause diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping, and fever. Talk to a healthcare provider to determine if mung bean sprouts are safe for you to consume.

Storage and Food Safety

Store your dried mung beans in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Properly stored dried beans can be stored for 1 year. As for mung bean sprouts, you should never refrigerate wet sprouts. You also should transfer them to a glass container or plastic bag for storage. Typically, mung bean sprouts last for 2–3 days if they are refrigerated right after purchase. Always follow the best by date if there is one provided.

How to Prepare

Cooking mung beans is easy. Unlike other beans, you do not have to soak mung beans before cooking them. Simply rinse them and boil for about 20 minutes or until they are tender.

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10 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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