Any type of bean or legume can be sprouted, but mung bean sprouts are the most common type used in cooking. Sprouting can increase your ability to absorb nutrients in the beans that would normally be less digestible because they are bound by phytic acid. Bean sprouts can be eaten raw, though Vegetarian Times warns that raw sprouts may carry potentially harmful bacteria. Purchase bean sprouts from a reputable source, wash them thoroughly and cook them before using to decrease your risk of food-borne illness.
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A one cup serving of stir-fried mung bean sprouts has 62 calories, with only 2 calories supplied by fat. Each cup contains 0.26 grams of fat, a trace amount of saturated fat and 0.15 grams of poly- and monounsaturated fat. Bean sprouts do not have any trans fats or cholesterol. Healthy adults should get no more than 25 to 35 percent of their daily calories from fat; low-fat vegetables like bean sprouts can help you stay within these recommendations.
Cooked mung bean sprouts contain 13 grams of carbohydrates in every one cup serving. For an adult following a 2,000-calorie diet, this would supply between 4 and 5.7 percent of the 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates recommended daily. Bean sprouts do not contain any simple sugars, though they do contain 2.4 grams of dietary fiber per cup, which is 7 percent of a man's fiber requirement each day and 8.5 percent of a woman's.
Bean sprouts are a moderate source of plant protein, with each cup providing 5.3 grams, or 11 percent of a woman's daily protein needs and 9.4 percent of a man's. The protein in bean sprouts is incomplete -- it does not contain all of the amino acids your body needs. To obtain complete protein without meat or other animal products, eat a wide variety of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains throughout the day.
A cup of stir-fried bean sprouts is a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, thiamin and niacin. It is also high in vitamin C: Each cup contains 19.8 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance of the nutrient for a man and 26 percent of the RDA for a woman.
Mung bean sprouts are especially high in copper, with each cooked cup containing 316 micrograms of the mineral. Adults need 900 micrograms per day, and eating a serving of bean sprouts would supply 35 percent of that requirement. Every cup of the sprouts has enough iron to fulfill almost 30 percent of a man's iron needs and 13 percent of a woman's. Beans sprouts also contain magnesium, manganese and zinc.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Vegetarian Times: How to Soak & Sprout Nuts, Seeds, Grains & Beans
- The Cook's Thesaurus: Sprouts
- Whole Foods Market: Vegetarian
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Basic Report - 11045, Mung Beans, Mature Seeds, Sprouted, Cooked, Stir-Fried
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: Part D. Section 5: Carbohydrates
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Carbohydrates
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Copper
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron