This Tiny Plant is a Nutritional Powerhouse
Most Americans only encounter beans sprouts at a Chinese restaurant, but more and more people are learning about sprouting at home. A variety of organic beans and seeds can be sprouted, and mung beans are particularly popular. Sprouted mung beans are actually tiny mung bean plants. The taste is nutty and crisp, and they are a nutritional powerhouse.
Because mung sprouts are so small, the vitamins and minerals they contain are concentrated. Mung sprouts are a source of protein, although they don’t contain as much as meat, fish, eggs or dairy. A cup of sprouted, cooked, mung beans contains 2.5 grams of protein. The commonly cited dietary goal is 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds that you weigh.
Every cell in your body, all the tissues and every organ contain protein. The Harvard School of Public Health says there are around 10,000 different proteins involved in the functioning of the body. Because the body doesn’t store amino acids, it is necessary to eat healthy protein every day.
Because sprouted mung beans do not contain all the 9 essential amino acids, you need to supplement with other complementary protein sources such as grains. These do not need to be eaten at the same meal, but within the same 24-hour period. Rice, whole wheat, and couscous are all good complements for sprouts.
Sprouting at home is easy and inexpensive. Select whole untreated beans that are meant for eating or sprouting; beans in gardening packets, for example, may have been treated with chemicals. You can buy them at health food stores on online. Put the beans into a glass jar until it is about one-quarter full, then fill the jar to the top with cool water. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and a rubber band, or a plastic mesh top designed for sprouting. Soak for 8 to 12 hours at room temperature, then drain and rinse. Refill the jar with water and soak again. Keep the jar out of the sunlight. Continue for 2 – 5 days, until the sprouts are the length you desire. Mung sprouts grow fairly quickly.
Eat fresh sprouted mung beans quickly because the longer you store them, the more protein and other nutrients they lose. Add sprouted mung beans to vegetable stir-fry or stir them into a pot of vegetable stew. Sprinkle sprouted mung beans on a tossed green salad or add them to a pasta salad recipe. Combine sprouted mung beans with cooked quinoa and vegetables for a tasty and nutritious side dish.