Raw or cooked bean sprouts have beneficial properties for our body. They help lower cholesterol, are useful in menopause and are diuretics, therefore indicated in people who want to keep a particularly healthy diet. The low calories of raw bean sprouts make them perfect foods for low calorie diets.
Bean sprouts have been known since ancient times in the East and are the basis of many recipes. They are the soybean sprouts, a legume belonging to the Fabaceae family, obtained in particular through the germination of mung beans. They are real natural supplements of vitamins and minerals.
Bean sprouts, as mentioned, are very commonly used in oriental cuisine in numerous recipes but for some years they have also spread to western culture. They are available all year round and can be found either fresh or in a glass jar.
Bean sprouts can be eaten both raw and cooked, but, following some problems of bacterial contamination in the past, it is advisable to eat them only after a short cooking, which destroys any bacteria that may be present.
Soybeans: calories and nutritional values
Bean sprouts are low in calories (49 kcal / 100gr), are rich in water, which represents about 85 grams per 100 grams and low in fat, which is why they are suitable for low- calorie diets. There are also fibers, which help keep the intestine healthy, facilitating the expulsion of feces and ingested toxins. Let’s see below the nutritional values in detail.
Nutritional values per 100g of bean sprouts:
- Kilocalories: 49
- Waterfall: 86.3 gr
- Fat: 1.4 gr
- Carbohydrates: 3 gr
- Proteins: 6.2 gr
- Fibers: 2.5 gr
- Sodium: 30 mg
- Potassium: 218 mg
- Iron: 1 mg
- Soccer: 48 mg
- Phosphorus: 67 mg
- Thiamine or vitamin B1: 0.23 mg
- Riboflavin or vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
- Vitamin A: 24 µg
- Vitamin C or ascorbic acid: 13 mg
- Glycemic index: 15
Soybeans: nutritional properties
In bean sprouts we find important nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C. Furthermore, many of their nutritional properties are due to the presence of lecithin and phytoestrogens. Let’s explore the properties of these elements below.
- Potassium: in soybeans we find 219 mg of potassium per 100 grams. This mineral is very useful especially for those suffering from water retention and high blood pressure. It also regulates heart rate, muscle contraction and the transmission of nerve impulses;
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus is present in 67 mg per 100 grams of bean sprouts. It becomes part of the mineral fraction of bones and teeth, together with calcium, and participates in numerous functions as it is present in the structure of various enzymes;
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant and an immunostimulant, protecting us from numerous pathologies. It facilitates the absorption of iron and participates in the formation of collagen. In bean sprouts there are 13 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams;
- Lecithin: bean sprouts are rich in lecithin, a phospholipid with emulsifying properties. Its most important function is that of cholesterol, therefore beneficial against diseases of the cardiovascular system;
- Phytoestrogens: Phytoestrogens are substances that are very similar to the estrogens present in our body, mimicking its effects. They have several benefits, including relieving menopausal symptoms.
Soybeans: Health Benefits
The particular nutritional profile gives soybean sprouts useful properties to counteract high cholesterol and promote intestinal well-being, but not only. Let’s see all the benefits that these foods offer.
✓ They are great for losing weight
As we saw above, bean sprouts have very few calories, less than 50 per 100 grams. They are rich in water and protein and have a good fiber content. The presence of protein and fiber gives these foods an effective satiating effect, very useful if you are following a low-calorie diet.
✓ Help against high cholesterol
In bean sprouts there is a good amount of lecithin, a substance present in cell membranes that has emulsifying properties. In the liver, lecithin is used for the synthesis of an enzyme called Lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase, which, among other things, is responsible for the reverse transport of cholesterol from the tissues to the liver, an activity that reduces circulating cholesterol values. Consequently, a regular consumption of lecithin or foods that contain it helps to prevent the onset of atherosclerotic plaques and therefore of cardiovascular diseases.
✓ They are useful in menopause
In soybeans we find phytoestrogens, which are substances with an estrogen-like action, which are able to counteract the symptoms of menopause due to hormonal changes such as hot flashes, mood changes and hair loss.
✓ They help in case of constipation
Bean sprouts have a good amount of fiber, thanks to which intestinal motility is accelerated, counteracting constipation. Furthermore, fibers decrease the absorption of fats and sugars and are capable of detoxifying the intestine from toxins and waste, also removing the risk of colorectal cancer.
✓ They are diuretics
The richness of water and potassium makes soybean sprouts ideal for those who want to obtain a diuretic effect. Their consumption favors the expulsion of excess fluids, with a consequent decrease in fluid retention and therefore also the imperfection of cellulite. The stimulation of diuresis also affects the pressure, lowering it.
✓ Increase melatonin levels
Germination of legumes increases the plant’s melatonin levels, making the sprouts a good dietary source of this hormone. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and promotes sleep, so regular consumption of bean sprouts could be helpful in this regard.
Soybeans: some usage tips
First of all, we recommend buying organic soybean sprouts and be sure they are non – GMO by looking for the appropriate wording on the label. After being blanched for a few minutes in boiling water, the bean sprouts can be added to salads along with lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetables. They can also be used to enrich other vegetables such as peppers, carrots and zucchini and added to pasta or soups.
Bean sprouts are also an ingredient that we often find in spring rolls and noodles, typical dishes of oriental cuisine. But we can also eat them alone, sauted with a little extra virgin olive oil and a few drops of soy sauce.
Soybeans: Contraindications and Potential Negative Effects
One of the drawbacks of bean sprouts is that they can be a source of bacteria, which in the past have been shown to be dangerous for human health. To remove this risk, it is not enough to wash them, but they must be blanched for at least 2-3 minutes in boiling water.
Also, it is better not to consume it in abundance due to the high content of phytates, substances that hinder the absorption of nutrients, such as iron and calcium. Given the content of soy isoflavones, it is good not to abuse this food. Excessive consumption of soy isoflavones, in fact, can interfere with some drugs, slow down the absorption of some nutrients and alter the function of thyroid hormones, while their possible effect on tumors is still debated. The recommended dose is around 50 grams per day. Finally, the consumption of bean sprouts is contraindicated in those suffering from a specific allergy to this food.