Trending – Mung Bean Protein
In our last posts, we looked at soybean proteins and potato proteins used in alternative meats. In this post, we take a look at mung bean protein.
What is mung bean protein?
Mung beans are protein and nutrient-dense beans that are part of the legume family. First farmed in India, people commonly cultivate mung beans in many countries and continents, including Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia (1).
Given its rich nutritional content and extensive cultivation, manufacturers have found ways to create mung bean protein isolates which often have a flour-like consistency. Manufacturers add mung bean protein isolates to different foods and products to increase the nutritional content of the foods or to enhance specific types of foods like alternative meat products (1).
Are mung bean protein isolates healthy?
Mung bean protein isolates provide excellent nutrition as part of a balanced diet. They are protein-rich and contain many essential amino acids we need to maintain our health. We can easily digest mung bean protein and isolates, too (1).
Preliminary studies show that consuming mung bean protein can help improve muscular strength (1).
Where can I find it?
Mung bean protein isolate is growing in popularity due to many factors beyond the known health benefits.
Mung beans are highly sustainable to grow and produce because they do not require nitrogen fertilizers and use less water than other high-protein vegetables. Additionally, they are grown in many parts of the world, including developing nations (1).
Researchers have found mung bean proteins and peptides (short chains of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins) may possess other important properties, including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity, anti-fungal and/or antibacterial activity, and trypsin inhibitory activity. These properties give them the potential to be used in other food safety applications such as food preservation (1).
Are they safe?
Mung bean protein isolate is considered a GRAS ingredient by the FDA and is safe for regular consumption.
If you have a mung bean allergy, you should not consume mung bean protein. Additionally, if you have a soy allergy, you could be allergic to mung beans, too, as they both belong to the legume family and can be cross-reactive. It’s essential to work with a medical doctor when dealing with food allergies.
What else should I know?
You should be mindful of mung bean proteins sold as dietary supplements. Many supplements such as protein powder sold online or from indie brands are not regulated or tested for purity standards, meaning you may not receive the advertised product (1).
The U.S. FDA cannot recall an adulterated product if they are not informed about the issue, so if you are purchasing mung bean protein powders, make sure it is from a reputable company or seller (1).
The good news.
As we continue to foster innovation in sustainable agricultural practices, learning how to harness the power of sustainable crops, like mung beans, helps us create new ways to provide healthy food to the greater world while reducing our environmental impact.