The Humble Mung Bean

The mung bean is an unassuming bean, often looked-down-upon, often sneered at bean, ‘what you, beardy weirdy, mung bean eating, navel gazing, yoga worshiping, Birkenstock wearing hippie?’ It doesn’t help either, that the word mung, as defined by the urban dictionary, is ‘an excellent insult’ and even it if wasn’t, it’s just not a good sounding English word, is it? It manages to sound like a bizarre hybrid of ming, mong, minger, mugger, minge, all of which have connotations of bad smell, violence or female pubic hair.
The Indians have got it right and have named this bean the ‘golden gram’ and for good reason too. I am sure if it was called this then it wouldn’t be used as an insult and I am sure there would be a much higher consumption. But I must remind me and your good selves that a golden gram by any other would be just as healthy.
So here goes the list of health benefits for the mung bean….and note they not only make you feel better, but they make you look better too. They are anti ageing and slimming. At the end I’ve added a recipe too, which is undeniably delicious, very easy to make and very inexpensive. So really no excuses! And before you start not to believe me, I’ve served this up at several dinners to unsuspecting friends and they are all in agreement, that it is a scrumptious dish, fit for a king, even.
The mung bean is a store house of nutrients and is rich in vitamin B, C, peptides, proteins and trace minerals  like manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is very high in fibre, low in calories and very low in fat, and can therefore be used in weight loss. It can be used in weight reduction for a multitude of reasons, research has shown that a single helping can produce a 2 fold greater increase in the satiety hormone CKK, and their high nutritional content reduces food cravings, so fingers crossed no more late night fridge raiding. The mung bean also has a detoxifying effect, and if consumed over a period of days, will strengthen digestion, improve assimilation and evacuation. That means they can help with constipation, and bowel movement.
To do with weight loss, but separate and more poignant, they have been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and are a diabetic friendly food. Type 2 diabetic mice were given mung bean extract for a period of 5 weeks, after which they showed measurable improvements in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
The golden beans have shown to help in reducing cardiovascular disease. They have a high concentration of peptides which lessen the build up of plaque on arteries and blood vessels and therefore act to reduce blood pressure. When mung bean extract was consumed by hypertensive rats, after one month they experienced significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.
Not only do they help to prevent heart disease (the silent killer of the first world) but mung beans have been shown to suppress the growth of liver cancer, highly aggressive cervical cancer and colon cancer. There is also a report by the Harvard School of Public Health which states that consuming mung beans at least twice per week slashes breast cancer risk by a whole 25%. They are rich in protein inhibitors which are helpful in reducing the multiplication of these tumour cells.
They can make you look younger. No need for botox….Phytoestrogens, an enzyme present in mung beans helps in the secretion of collagen and elastin which helps in enhancing skin tone and complexion. So, regular intake of mung beans enhances the anti ageing properties of skin.
Mung beans are rich in lecithin which reduces the liver fat and regulates the normal functioning of the liver. Thus they help in detoxification but also rid us of that visceral fat which is the really bad belly flab we don’t want and certainly don’t need.

These are just some of the health benefits, and if they are not enough to convince you, then google the golden gram.  Anyway, once you make this soup it will be no problem to eat them on a regular basis.  I promise you (and I don’t make promises lightly) it is easy to make, exceptionally tasty and very nourishing.  The soup has the added benefits of delicious and healthy amounts of garlic, ginger and turmeric.  It’s a bowlful of super foods!  Enjoy.

MUNG BEAN SOUP or GOLDDEN GRAM SOUP

1 cup of mungs. Wash mung beans twice and soak overnight in plenty of water.  Drain.

Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric, ½ teaspoon of asafoetida and 4 cups of water.   Bring to the boil and then cook on medium heat, uncovered for half an hour.  Add one more cup of water and continue to cook for sometime until beans are tender.  Seat aside.

Heat ghee or coconut oil in a frying pan until hot, then saute a thumb of ginger and 4 gloves of garlic, once tender add 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of turmeric.  Once cooked, stir mixture in to mung beans, maybe add more water, depending on how you like the consistency of your soup. Bring to a rolling simmer and then serve, sprinkled with coriander leaves.  Totally delicious.

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