More and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of consuming optimum amounts of protein:
- Protein is the building block for hormones, enzymes, muscles, cartilage, skin and bones.
- Protein helps promote feeling satisfied with meals.
- Protein foods contain a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.
There are a variety of foods that are good sources of protein: meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, cheese, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt with twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt), nuts, seeds, legumes (dried beans and peas like lentils, chickpeas, and red beans) and soy foods.
One of the newer sources of plant protein on the scene comes from mung beans. You can find this type of protein added to foods such as protein shakes, energy bars, vegan dairy substitutes, and meat alternatives like the Beyond Burger and Chicken-Free Chicken.
What is Mung Bean Protein?
The mung bean is a type of legume that was originally grown in India over 2000 years ago. It’s found throughout Southeast Asia as a primary protein source where animal meat is expensive and not easily available.
Raw, mature mung beans are de-hulled and milled to make a flour, which is then mixed with water to form a slurry. Next, the protein extract is removed from the slurry, then pasteurized and dried to form mung bean protein isolate.
Why Use Mung Bean Protein Isolate?
Researchers have discovered that mung bean protein isolate is a source of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity that helps to lower blood pressure. It also carries out anti-fungal and antibacterial activity that is important for food safety and preservation, and trypsin inhibitory activity that has an influence on satiety. In 2016, the FDA granted mung bean protein isolate GRAS status (generally recognized as safe) in levels from 3-90% in foods including cereal, granola bars, crackers, protein powders and drinks, non-dairy foods (such as vegan cheese, vegan yogurt and vegan ice cream), pasta, vegan egg products, snack chips, and meat analogues.
Mung Bean Protein Safety:
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.
Our Views on Mung Bean Protein:
When purchasing foods, it’s essential to review not only the nutrition facts, but also the list of ingredients so that you know exactly what you’re buying. Plant sources of protein come in many forms, and some may contain more sodium, added sugars, or flavorings than you realize. Plant-based proteins offer a variety of health benefits and can be a great-tasting addition to your usual food choices.
By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.