Food

Mat Bean – Intolerance & Allergy

Mat bean

Like all types of beans, the mat bean belongs to the legume family and is therefore one of the legumes. The undemanding plant originally comes from the Indian subcontinent and thrives particularly well in dry and warm regions. Like the closely related primordial bean , the high-protein mat bean is used in numerous traditional Indian dishes.

Here’s what you should know about the mat bean

Mat beans are among the most common types of beans in Indian and East Asian cuisine. More than 2000 years ago, the mat bean was first deliberately cultivated on the Indian subcontinent. Since it is particularly well adapted to a semi-arid to dry, warm climate and also thrives on nutrient-poor soil, the mat bean spread to Pakistan, Thailand and China in historical times.

Today, the mat bean is also increasingly being cultivated in the USA, Australia and some African countries. The annual plant requires little care. After sowing, a taproot forms quickly, which allows the use of moisture present in deeper layers of the soil.

Above the ground grow up to a meter long creeping, rough hairy tendrils, which spread out in a circle and are densely covered with tripartite leaves. Small yellowish flowers in the leaf axils develop into 2.5 to 5 cm long brown pods, which are also hairy and contain up to nine oblong seeds. With a maximum length of 5 mm and a thickness of 3 mm, these are quite small even for the beans native to India.

Depending on the breeding line, the seeds, which like the whole plant are called mat beans, are rectangular or kidney-shaped, and all shades of color from light beige to green to brown are possible.

All variants only reach a low growth height, so that they have to be harvested by hand. In addition to the seeds, the pods, stems and leaves of the mat bean are also edible. These taste tart and fresh, while the seeds are very mild and only slightly nutty in taste. However, this makes them very versatile. Since the plant cannot be grown in temperate climates, only the dried bean kernels are available in Europe. You won’t usually find mat beans in regular supermarkets, but some Asian stores stock them. The easiest way to get mat beans is through online retailers. In addition to the term mat bean, moth bean and mosquito bean are also common in the trade .

importance to health

Like all legumes, the mat bean is rich in high-quality vegetable protein . However, the proportion of fat and carbohydrates is very low, so that it is a comparatively low-calorie food. Due to the fiber contained in mat beans , they are still very filling.

This makes the mat bean ideal for reduction diets and a low-carbohydrate diet. Diabetics can also benefit from mat beans as their combination of nutrients ensures that blood sugar levels rise slowly after the meal. Due to the high content of various vitamins and minerals , eating mat beans supports cell renewal. But mat beans also strengthen the nervous system and stimulate the metabolism . Cholesterol levels and blood pressure can also be regulated with the help of a diet rich in legumes such as the mat bean.

Mat beans are particularly recommended for vegetarian and vegan diets, as they are not only rich in protein, but also contain a comparatively large amount of iron . The mat bean is not expected to have any negative health effects, such as can occur with related types of beans. Digestive problems, which are typical for all legumes, can only occur if large quantities of ground beans are consumed. The protease inhibitors and pectins they contain can cause bloating and stomach upset, and in very rare cases even damage the intestinal walls .

However, since these substances are neutralized by the effects of heat, the consumption of mat beans is completely harmless if prepared correctly. In general, mat beans are actually very digestible. Foods containing mat beans are recommended in Indian folk medicine for feverish illnesses.

Ingredients & nutritional values

Uncooked mat beans only contain about 340 kcal per 100 g. Since they consist of around 30 percent protein, this not only makes them a high-quality, but also a comparatively low-calorie source of protein.

The mat bean contains hardly any fat and the carbohydrates it contains are largely in the form of roughage. Mat beans are high in magnesium , calcium , and most importantly, iron . A wide range of vitamins are also found in mat beans, most notably vitamin C and vitamin B6 . An even higher content of vitamins is achieved when the mat beans germinate and are then consumed as bean sprouts.

Intolerances & allergies

The mat bean is usually very digestible. There are no known allergies and intolerances directly related to mat beans. However, as with other types of beans, mild to moderate digestive discomfort may occur if the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to legumes.

However, these symptoms can be avoided by thoroughly cooking and adding spices that counteract flatulence. Soy intolerance can also cause digestive problems due to the relationship between the two types of beans. In this case, the treating doctor should be informed. Since mat beans, like other legumes, also have a comparatively high content of purines, they can influence uric acid levels. Those who suffer from gout should therefore avoid them if possible.

Shopping & kitchen tips

While mat beans are widespread in India, their country of origin, they are still largely unknown in Europe. However, they are easily available in special Asian markets or online retailers, even if only dried. However, this makes mat beans a product that can be stored very well and is therefore ideal for home storage.

Because of their small size, mat beans are great for quick meals because, unlike other dried legumes, they don’t need to be soaked before cooking. Anyone who is prone to discomfort after eating legumes should still soak the beans and then throw away the soaking water, as this makes them more digestible. Since mat beans germinate very easily, they can also be used to grow bean sprouts that taste hearty and nutty. These can easily be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days.

Preparation tips

Thanks to their mild taste, mat beans can not only be used for classic Indian curry dishes, but also for Mediterranean or Central European flavored stews. Cooked in salted water, after draining and cooling, mat beans can also be prepared as a salad together with other legumes and vegetables. Sprouts from mat bean kernels can be just as varied. They can be fried in a pan or cooked in a pot together with other ingredients. Raw they are a fresh and vitamin-rich addition to salads.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.