What are split and whole mung beans and what are they good for?
Mung beans are available to buy as both ‘split’ and whole varieties and are very popular in Ayurveda cuisine. What are the difference between the two types and why are they so loved in Ayurveda?
Split mung beans have had their skin, ‘hulls’ removed.
Whole mung beans still have their skin, ‘hulls’ on. When their skins have been removed it is known as ‘hulled’.
Both are readily available in supermarkets in the UK, in wholefood stores and on-line.
Try to look out for organic mung beans if you can. As these are seen as a medicinal food getting the highest quality, the highest vibration of them is preferable.
Who are Mung beans suitable for?
Mung beans are very easily digestible they are the one bean that will suit most people.
In Ayurveda it is said that mong beans mitigate kapha and pitta and slightly increase vata , however when they are mixed with spices and cooked down a little the effect is very minimal.
Mung beans are light and dry, slightly astringent but it is in their astringency that their magic lies. They help pull excess water out from different parts of the body, for example if there is swelling in the legs, (oedema) mung beans are really great at drawing that out.
Mung beans contain quiet a lot of potassium, magnesium and fibre, this combination helps to relax the peripheral circulation and balance blood pressure.
Sometimes in Ayurveda you will hear about kitchari ( a combination of mung beans and rice) which is a great restorative food. Eating this helps with drawing excess fluid from the body. This fluid along with other toxins passes through the digestive system and then is excreted.
Mung beans have a slightly rough texture and consist of soluble and insoluble fibre so when they are transitioning through the colon they gently scrub the intestinal lining helping to draw out any extra mucus. Through the release of unwanted toxins out of the bowels, inflammation subsides and it helps to calm and cool the body.
In Ayurveda it is advised to eat mung beans during a fever as they have this pacifying effect which takes the load off the digestive system allowing the body to heal by naturally rebalancing and rekindling the digestive fire.
What vitamins and minerals are in mung beans?
They contain vitamins A, B6, C and E. The vitamin C increases when we sprout mung beans.
Potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium are all found in mung beans.
The whole green mung beans are perfect for sprouting check the label on the packaging ‘suitable for sprouting’.
When is a good time to eat mung beans?
In short, any time that the digestive system is weak, sluggish or has been overburdened.
The mung beans that have been hulled (have had their skins removed) yellow in colour and split are advised if the digestive system is low and there is a predominance of gas as these are comparatively slightly easier to digest. The green hulls on the mung beans contain mild anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and saponins – but these are thought to be the lower than in other legume sources.
Do you need to soak mung beans before cooking?
It is best to soak for the digestibility but it’s not mandatory. Soaking helps release some of the anti-nutrients.
If choosing to cook the split yellow mong beans soak for no more than an hour. These have already had their skins removed so the ant-nutrients have already been taking out of the equation.
When we soak the green mung beans only a few hours is recommended as the hulls with all their desired nutrients will start to come away. If you leave them over night you are starting the sprouting process.
Mung beans for cleansing and clearing our digestive system
Use the yellow mung beans if you have a tendency to gas otherwise the whole green mung beans if strong digestive system. Most recipes suggest about a thirty minute boil, in The Ayurverda Kitchen recipe book there are a number of recipes using mung beans. If one is or was a meat eater then lentils and beans are a great substitute in recipes for mince.
What dishes can mung beans be used in?
So very versatile can be ground, made into flour and then be used in pancakes, sweet desserts never ending wholesomeness.