Key Allergens

Mung beans (also known as green gram) are most commonly eaten in Asia, but they are becoming more popular worldwide as Western countries move towards eating meat free protein sources. Bean sprouts which are eaten as part of salads and garnishes are mung beans which have been left to sprout.

Mung beans are the species Vigna radiata, so are similar to Vigna angularis (adzuki or red beans), Vigna unguiculata (black eyed peas) and Vigna mungo, which are black gram beans.

Mung beans are in the Fabaceae family of plants, other plants in this family include peanuts, peas, beans, soya, lentils and lupin. These foods are also referred to as legumes.

Two of the proteins associated with mung beans are Bet v 1 proteins, these are common proteins which can cause oral allergy type symptoms across multiple groups of foods.

The protein most likely to cause serious allergic reactions is a a vicilin protein. Vicilin proteins are commonly found in other legumes, nuts and seeds and are also known as 7S seed storage proteins.

Food Intolerances

Food is low in salicylates Food is high in lectins Food is high in FODMAP

Legumes are usually a high FODMAP food, the same can be assumed for mung beans. FODMAP stands for Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.

Mung beans are low in salicylates. Salicylates have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.

Mung beans contain a high amount of lectins, another cause of food intolerance. Cooking foods with lectins makes them more digestible and can reduce the symptoms of food intolerance. When mung beans have sprouted then the amount of lectins in them is reduced even further.

You can read more about Food Intolerances on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.

Associated Syndromes

Mung bean allergy has been associated with Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome due to the Bet v 1 like protein. You may have Pollen-Food Allergy Syndrome if you suffer from mung bean allergy with oral allergy symptoms to 3 or more of the foods mentioned in cross reactivity section.

Cross Reactivity

If sensitised to birch pollen you may have Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome and may also react to kiwi, pear, peach, plum, nectarine, apricots, cherries, tomato, celery, crrot, potato, parsnip, pepper, dill, cumin, peas, coriander, fennel, hazelnut, walnut, almonds, peanuts, lentils and apples.

Other foods containing 7S seed storage proteins are peanuts, cashews, pecan, hazelnut, soya beans, walnut, pistachio, macadamia nuts, sesame, lupin, coconut, mung beans and peas. 7S seed storage proteins are also found in buckwheat and lentils.

Note that these food lists are not exhaustive, the most up to date information is on the Cross Reactivity Tool.



Science Direct - Oral Allergy Syndrome

Science Direct - Vicilin

Anaphylaxis Campaign - Legume & Pulses Allergy

Foods Matter - Dealing with less common legume allergies

Healthline - FODMAP Foods

ATP Science - Salicylate Foods

Articles and Journals

Identification of allergens in Azuki (Adzuki) bean allergy, 2024

A comprehensive review of mung bean proteins: Extraction, characterization, biological potential, techno-functional properties, modifications, and applications, 2023

Nutritional management of immediate hypersensitivity to legumes in vegetarians, 2022

Lentil allergens identification and quantification: An update from omics perspective, 2022

Lectin Activity in Commonly Consumed Plant-Based Foods: Calling for Method Harmonization and Risk Assessment, 2021

Germination reduces black gram (Vigna mungo) and mung bean (Vigna radiata) vicilin immunoreactivity, 2021

Structurally dissimilar proteins with antiviral and antifungal potency from cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) seeds, 2000

Anti‐allergic activity of mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek) protein hydrolysates produced by enzymatic hydrolysis using non‐gastrointestinal and gastrointestinal enzymes, 2018

Vig r 6, the cytokinin-specific binding protein from mung bean (Vigna radiata) sprouts, cross-reacts with Bet v 1-related allergens and binds IgE from birch pollen allergic patients' sera, 2014

Potential allergens of green gram (Vigna radiata L. Millsp) identified as members of cupin superfamily and seed albumin, 2011

Birch pollen-related food allergy to legumes: identification and characterization of the Bet v 1 homologue in mungbean (Vigna radiata), Vig r 1, 2005

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