Even though you can sprout seeds from any type of bean, the two most common types are mung bean and soybean sprouts, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Bean sprouts give you an easy way to boost the nutrients in your diet. Toss them onto your salad, use them in a sandwich or add them to soups and casseroles, and you'll quickly increase the amount of protein, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Low Calories, Variable Protein
All types of bean sprouts are low in calories, but the amount ranges from 31 calories in 1 cup of mung bean sprouts to 85 calories in soybean sprouts. Soybean sprouts have 9 grams of protein, which is three times more than you'll get in mung bean sprouts. Both types contain a small amount of fiber and carbohydrates. Mung bean sprouts are fat-free, compared to soybean sprouts, which only have 5 grams of fat in 1 cup.
Sprouts Deliver Vitamin C
If you cook and eat the whole bean, you'll only get a trace of vitamin C. When the beans are sprouted, they become good sources because the amount of vitamin C increases as the seed germinates, according to the University of Nebraska. In a 1-cup serving, soybean sprouts contain 10.7 milligrams and mung bean sprouts 13.7 milligrams of vitamin C. Your body needs a regular supply of vitamin C to ensure it has enough of the antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Women should consume 75 milligrams daily, while men need 90 milligrams of vitamin C each day.
Good Source of Folate
You can count on getting a variety of B vitamins from mung bean and soybean sprouts, but they're especially good sources of folate. One cup of mung beans supplies 16 percent of your recommended dietary allowance. You’ll get nearly double that amount, or 30 percent of your RDA, from the same serving of soybean sprouts. Folate helps your body produce DNA, amino acids and red blood cells, making it essential for the prevention of anemia and birth defects.
Potential for Contamination
Beans need a warm, humid environment to sprout. Unfortunately, bacteria also thrive under the same conditions, so sprouts carry a higher risk of bacterial contamination. While it doesn’t happen often, at least 30 outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli related to sprouts have occurred in the United States since 1996, reports FoodSafety.gov. These outbreaks, however, were caused by all types of sprouts, not just bean sprouts. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and anyone with a weak immune system should not eat raw bean sprouts. Cooking them kills any harmful bacteria.
- USDA Nutrient Database: Mung Beans, Mature Seeds, Sprouted, Raw
- USDA Nutrient Database: Soybeans, Mature Seeds, Sprouted, Raw
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Bean Sprouts
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Folate
- FoodSafety.gov: Sprouts: What You Need to Know
- University of Nebraska Lincoln: Germination and Bean Sprouts
- USDA Nutrient Database: Mung Beans, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt
- USDA Nutrient Database: Soybeans, Mature, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt