When talking about bean sprouts, most people think of mung bean sprouts, which are the most commonly used bean sprouts. But a variety of many other beans and seeds can be sprouted, including alfalfa seeds, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, white beans, peas, lentils etc.
In general terms, bean sprouts are the tender, edible shoots of certain bean plants. They are the result of the germination process, through which the nutritive ingredients found in beans and seeds become profoundly modified: starch is converted into glucose and fructose, bean proteins are predigested by specific seed enzymes and transformed into amino acids and more digestible protein nutrients, the water content increases, as well as the vitamin and mineral content does. Bean sprouts are a true concentrate of energy and nutritive principles. Unlike ripe vegetables, whose nutritional value progressively decreases after they have been harvested, bean sprouts retain their nutritional properties until consumed.
Bean sprouts have the richest source of amino acids (for protein), vitamins and minerals, and also contain a good amount of fiber. They contain all types of vitamins (A, B, C, D, E and K), folic acid and are an excellent source of iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.
Anemia: Mung bean sprouts (as well as other types of bean sprouts) are rich in iron, which play a key role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells. They are also particularly high in vitamin C, which enhances the absorption of iron from the intestine, thereby helping prevent or treat anemia caused by iron deficiency.
Cardiovascular health: When associated with a low intake of saturated fats (found in meat, poultry and dairy products), the regular consumption of mung bean sprouts can help reduce the blood levels of LDL-
Constipation: Due to their high content in fiber, mung bean sprouts can help improve intestinal motility and relieve the signs of constipation.
Hair and nail fragility: Hair and nail fragility is often the result of certain nutritional deficiencies, especially proteins, vitamins and zinc. Mung bean sprouts contain high amounts of all these nutrients in a readily available form, and hence they are particularly helpful in preventing and treating hair and nail problems.
Liver health: Mung bean sprouts are an excellent source of lecithin which, besides lowering blood cholesterol levels, helps reduce liver fat, thereby preventing fatty liver, a common liver condition that can result in liver dysfunction.
Menopause: Mung bean sprouts are rich in phytoestrogens, which have a weak estrogen-
Stress and tiredness: Mung bean sprouts are a source of readily available energy and other nutrients which are particularly helpful in fighting the signs and symptoms of mental and physical stress and tiredness.