Mung Beans are a legume, native to the Indian subcontinent, and are used in both savoury and sweet dishes across much of Asia. They are also the most common type of bean sprouts. Their starch can be used to make cellophane (transparent) noodles.
Often planted as a rotational crop for restoring nitrogen to the soil, the plants grow quickly maturing with up to 6 beans in each pod.
First domesticated in India, archaeology has dated 4500 year old carbonised mung beans used by the Harappan civilisation (in modern day Punjab and Haryana). Evidence suggests that the larger-seeded mung beans may have evolved separately in the Southern part of India about 3500 to 3000 years ago. Whatever the case, by about 1500BCE mung beans were already a major part of Indian cuisine. They appear to have reached Thailand by 200BCE.
The Swahili trade, around the 9th or 10th century, introduced them to eastern Africa, as indicated by discoveries on Pemba Island. They have only become a significant crop in Australia during the 20th century.
Mung beans have high levels of folate as well as good amounts of manganese, magnesium and thiamine. These legumes, in combination with whole grains, nuts and edible seeds provide a healthy balance of the essential amino acids.
Sprouted beans are rich in enzymes, which are necessary for proper digestion, and are an integral for chemical processes such as detoxification, digestion and elimination, as well as a properly-functioning nervous system.
Studies have shown that mung beans improve cardiovascular health by reducing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. As a low GI food they help control glucose response and decrease lipid abnormalities in Type II Diabetes.
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