Mungo Beans vs. Mung Beans (How to tell the difference and why it matters)

Mungo (Moongo) beans are commonly confused with Mung beans on the internet, yet there two important differences to be aware of:
  • Mungo beans (Vigna Mungo) are black lentils, and are sometimes called Urad Dal, black gram, or black lentils. Mung beans (Vigna radiata) aka: green gram, moong bean, are small green lentils, and often made into bean sprouts.
    Mungo BeansMung Beans

  • Mungo beans are one of many foods with a very high Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. Mung Beans, however, are not. A quick look at the nutrition facts comparison shows that mungo beans have an Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio of 14 to 1. Mung beans have a ratio of 0.08, which means they actually provide more Omega 6 fatty acids!
For the purposes of this blog post, those are the two main differences. For people wanting to get technical. Here is the difference between the two from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service Nutrition Facts Database PDF Handbook.
Mungo Beans - (Vigna mungo), sometimes called black gram, originated in India and are also grown in the West Indies (Vaughan and Geisler, 1997). Mungo beans are eaten either whole or as a dhal. They also can be boiled or roasted and ground into flour for use in cakes and breads.

Mung Beans - (Vigna radiata), also called green gram in India, are native to tropical areas of Asia and are widely grown there. Recently, mung beans have been introduced to the United States. In China and the United States mung beans are commonly grown for sprouting and are consumed as a vegetable. The mature seeds can be boiled and eaten. They can also be ground into a flour for use in bakery products and fried snack foods (Akroyd and Doughty, 1982). Mung beans are also made into a noodle-like product called long rice. A similar product made from mung bean flour is cellophane noodles.

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  1. PDF from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service