In Indian philosophy, crops are highly respected, which not only do us no harm, but also bring us countless benefits. One of the key plants in the recipe of Ayurveda is mung bean (Latin Vigna radiata), also called mung bean, Indian bean or papuda. Over the centuries, its popularity has spread to the cuisines of China and other countries in Southeast Asia.
In recent decades, it is used more and more around the world, and has already reached our country. Many nutritionists call it a superfood and there are a number of arguments in favor of this claim.
Mung bean is not a direct relative of the white bean that we are used to eating in our country (Phaseolus vulgaris). Although both are from the Bean family, the ripe beans we know in Bulgaria belong to the genus Beans, while the mung beans are of the genus Vigna. Therefore, the two plants are as similar as they are different from each other.
Correlation can easily be found in the superb basic taste, characteristic of beans and mung beans. Of course, it is not identical, but in both cases we are talking about low-calorie protein, enough to provide us with basic nutrients without much excess, while bringing a wonderful delight to our senses.
Can we eat mung beans without worrying about allergies and other unpleasant effects on our health? Is it suitable for all ages? Are there any conditions we can treat with it and how much of it do we have to eat to make it happen?
We will try to give answers to all these questions, by garnishing and with some interesting ways to add this culture to our menu.
What is mung bean used for?
Ayurveda is a science of body and mind health, as it focuses not only on its treatment, but also on prevention methods, one of which has always been and will remain our way of eating . Even the ancient Indians knew that what we eat is fundamental to how we will feel.
That’s why they’ve developed some of the best recipes using the most useful crops. This gives us the opportunity to enjoy wonderful, delicious and at the same time good food for us.
Mung bean can certainly be defined as one of them. It is one of the best sources of plant protein you can find anywhere. In Ayurvedic cuisine it is revered as one of the key foods. It has a slightly sweet taste and is extremely rich in nutritional and medicinal properties. Mung beans can be combined with other legumes, as well as cereals, and, of course – with any vegetables.
Especially with rice are a very good tandem. The two together are one of the most commonly used ingredients for making kitsch or kitchari – the most useful dish in Ayurveda. Boiled, its beans can be added to any fresh salad. They can be used to make delicious soup or to be mashed and added to tomato or other sauce. Nowadays, even chips and other quick snacks are created on the basis of mung beans.
This variety of bean has a remarkably high content of fiber as well as vitamins as almost all of the B complex, as well as minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorus. Another of the most useful characteristics of this bean is its richness in amino acids. Therefore, it is used not only in cooking but also in traditional Indian medicine.
What can we cure with a mung bean diet?
In July 2019, Harvard Medical School named mung bean the plant of the month because of the many health benefits it brings. He already received such high recognition in Ayurveda several millennia ago.
Consumption of mung beans helps us protect ourselves from sunstroke, for example. This is a wonderful property that has been discovered since ancient times and has therefore contributed to the popularity of the product in many of the hottest parts of the Asian continent. It does not replace water, but is a great alternative to all the other heavier foods you can think of.
Following a strict mung bean regimen can help reduce so-called “bad” cholesterol, which can lead to very serious heart problems.
Due to the high amount of magnesium, potassium and fiber it contains, mung beans lower blood pressure. Also, despite its relatively sweet taste, it lowers blood sugar levels and improves the action of insulin. This makes it a suitable food for diabetics.
Because mung beans are rich in nutrients and at the same time low in calories, Ayurvedic diets based on it or on the basis of kitsch, one of the most famous dishes with its participation, are very common. Another famous recipe that can be prepared with mung beans is Indian mung dal – warm and fragrant, this vegetarian soup restores the body and comforts the spirit.
In addition, the plant also has antibacterial properties. Its action is extremely purifying for the digestive system, and thus for the whole body. An ideal way is to improve the status of our immune system, especially when we want to fight viruses.
It is recommended that women eat this bean when struggling with pain or other symptoms of PMS.
Bob mung is a recommended menu item for all cancer patients. Its concomitant use has been shown to reduce the unpleasant effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and some studies have even shown that it can have a depressant effect on tumors.
How can we consume it?
Ayurveda chefs advise us to eat mung beans if possible sprouted. The practice is because it is then that their content of antioxidants and amino acids in it is the highest and calories are the least.
Ayurveda believes in consuming mostly fresh foods that have not been processed. Raw foods have been shown to be much more effective in improving our health. However, pregnant women should avoid eating raw beans. mung due to the risk of bacterial infections.
During this period there is no problem to take them dried or cooked. Mung bean powder also has relatively good characteristics. Although not as potent as fresh beans, it is convenient and you can add it to any food conveniently and quickly.
For people who do not have any specific complaints and just want to add this useful addition to their menu, we have great news! Mung beans can be put in the form of pasta in a variety of delicious, healthy and diet desserts from the traditions of Ayurveda – cakes, sweet porridges, puddings, candies, etc. For the preparation of cakes we can combine mung beans with coconut milk, aloe vera, honey and many others.
To make the mung bean tasty, it is best to soak it in water for at least a few hours before cooking. However, if you do not have time for this, you can simply wash it thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Another great advantage of this plant is that its grains boil quite quickly compared to others – within 20 – 30 minutes. This makes it easily achievable home cooking food even in a stressful and hectic life.
Are there any contraindications we need to know about?
Mung bean is a harmless food with extremely positive effect on the body. It can be taken by both small children and adults, it is even especially suitable because of its easy digestibility. Unlike our ripe white beans or beans, which strain the digestion, Vigna radiata is very easily absorbed by any stomach and is recommended even for the youngest, but also for the elderly and those with a sensitive digestive system.
For pregnant women mung bean is especially suitable. Due to its high content of vitamin B9, also called foil, it protects the developing fetus from a number of malformations in the brain and spine, as well as from miscarriage during the first trimester. During pregnancy, many women around the world are prescribed as a dietary supplement the synthetic equivalent of foil – namely our well-known folic acid.
Ayurveda advises us not to stop taking natural sources of vitamin B9 along with folic acid tablets prescribed by our doctors. The recommended daily dose of it during pregnancy and immediately before it amounts to 400 micrograms, and the intake of foil from natural sources will not be a problem for either the mother or the baby.
The only thing pregnant women need to remember is that raw, grains of this variety of bean can hide bacteria and other unfriendly organisms.
Of course, although it boasts an extremely rich content of useful components, mung beans are not completely enough to feed a person on their own. An exception may be the advanced and active practitioners of the teachings of yoga and Ayurveda.
In any case, we must keep in mind that the regimes we choose to follow and their duration must be tailored to the strict individuality of each patient, as well as alternating with periods with a more varied diet. It is best to use mung beans as an ingredient in rich vegetarian dishes, such as kitsch in combination with rice, curry and many vegetables.