Mustard seeds, a tiny but powerful seed have been used from time immemorial in both traditional medicine and culinary arts. In addition to adding taste to food, these tiny seeds have a wealth of health advantages that are frequently overlooked. In this article, we will explore the wide range of health benefits of mustard seeds both in medicinal and culinary fields.
What are mustard seeds:
Mustard seeds originate from the mustard plant, part of the Brassicaceae family, and come in different varieties, primarily black, brown, white and yellow colors. Their distinct pungent flavor and aroma stem from compounds like glucosinolates which are also responsible for their various health attributes.
Healthy Nutrients in Mustard Seeds:
Mustard seeds are packed with valuable nutrients that help in your overall wellbeing and the health benefits of mustard seeds are largely associated with these nutrients.
Mustard seeds contain high amounts of phytonutrients, particularly glucosinolates, according to a 1990 study published in Plant Science. Glucosinolates are sugar-derived compounds that are found naturally in many flowering plants. A study published by the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research in 2002 found that glucosinolates found in plants may have a protective effect against certain types of cancer, especially lung cancer.
2. Healthy Minerals:
Mustard seeds contain a variety of minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus. Getting adequate amounts of these minerals is essential for the normal function of many biological and biochemical process within your body and can help prevent a mineral deficiency, which can have potentially debilitating side effects. According to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, ground mustard seed contains 27% of your daily calcium, 51% of your daily iron, 92% of your daily magnesium, 40% of your daily zinc and 82% of your daily phosphorus.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Mustard seed is acidic and a source of omega-3 fatty acids, according to the book, Today’s Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide. The University of Maryland Medical Center sates that omega-3 fatty acids found in some foods can benefit individuals with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, osteoporosis, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention-deficit disorder, skin disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, macular degeneration, menstrual pain, and some cancers. However, omega-3 fatty acids are not intended to treat or prevent any disease. Consult with your physician before taking food items or supplements containing omkega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits of Mustard Seeds:
Mustard seeds are indeed very rich in phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and are rubefacient, irritant, stimulant, diuretic, emetic, pungent and laxative and aid in digestion. This well-known spice has its use in medicine as a stimulant when applied externally. The rubefacient action causes a mild irritation to the skin, stimulating the circulation in that area and relieving muscular and skeletal pain. Its stimulating, diaphoretic action can be utilized in the way that cayenne and ginger are. An infusion or poultice of mustard seed will aid in cases of bronchitis.
Here are the common Health Benefits of Mustard Seeds:
- Mustard seeds are very high in calories; 100 gm of seeds provides 508 cal, and then seeds are made of quality proteins, essential oils, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
- The seeds are high in essential oils as well as plant sterols. Some of important sterols include brassicasterol, campesterol, sitosterol, avenasterol and stigmasterol. Some of glucosinolate and fatty acids in the seeds include sinigrin, myrosin, erucic, eicosenoic, oleic and palmitic acids.
- Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essential vitamin B complex such as folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and pantothenic acid. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the body requires them from external sources to replenish. These B complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism.
- 100gm of mustard seeds provides 4.733 mg of niacin (vitamin B3). Niacin is a part of nicotinamide coenzymes and helps lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Mustard seeds contain flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein. In addition the seeds comprise a small amount of vitamin antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and vitamins K.
- The seeds are source of vitamin E and gamma-tocopherol and contain about 20 mg per 100 g. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid-soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Mustard seeds are rich source of health-benefiting minerals. calcium, manganese, copper, iron, selenium and zinc are some of the minerals especially concentrated in these seeds. calcium helps build bone and teeth. Manganese is used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. iron is required for the red blood cell formation and cellular metabolism.
Uses of Mustard Seeds:
Mustard seeds and its oil have traditionally been used to relieve muscle pain, rheumatism and arthritis pain. In India, mustard seeds oil is applied over the scalp and is believed to stimulate hair growth. Its ground seeds act as a laxative and stimulant to gastric mucosa and increase intestinal secretion.
Mustard seeds have been used in traditional folk medicine in Turkey, to treat a variety of ailments including peritonitis and neuralgia. They are used in mustard plasters to treat rheumatism, arthritis, chest congestion, aching back and sore muscles by making a mustard plaster with equal parts of flour and powdered mustard and spreading it on a doubled piece of soft cloth and applying it the affected area for about 15 minutes.
Anticarcinogenic Properties: Mustard seeds are suggested to prevent and slow the progress of cancers especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Evidences also suggest that mustard seeds may restrict the growth of already present cancer cells and prevent formation of new cancers.
1. Antioxidants Properties and Anti-aging Action:
Mustard seeds and powder contain the amino acid, cysteine, which acts as an antioxidant as an antioxidant in your body. Cysteine protects our body from free radicals, which are harmful compounds in your body that damage DNA and cell membrances, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
2. Reliever of Asthma:
Mustard seeds are high in selenium and magnesium. Both the compounds give it unique anti-inflammatory property. Consumed regularly, it is known to control and keep the symptoms of asthma, cold, and chest congestion at bay.
3. Prevent Obesity:
The wonder seeds are packed with vitamins B complex like folate, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. Apart from all the individual merits of these components, they are great in speeding up one’s metabolism leading to weight loss.
4. Lower Cholesterol Level:
Mustard seeds contain high levels of niacin or vitamin B3. Niacin has properties that help lower cholesterol levels and protect the arteries from atherosclerosis (plaque buildup). It also helps to regulate blood flow and protects the body from hypertension.
5. Relieve Constipation:
The seeds contain mucilage, which is a thick slimy substance that is the key to relieving constipation. Apart from that, it is also high in fiber.
6. Fight Skin Infection:
Packed with sulfur, mustard seeds are a great way to curb skin infections. Sulfur gives the seed anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that help fight common skin ailments.
7. Improve Immunity:
Because mustard seed has a large number of elemental minerals like iron, manganese and copper, it helps improve the body’s ability to fight disease.
8. Acts as Preservative:
Mustard oil is rich in tocopherols and acts against rancidity. This contributes to longer shelf life of finished food products.
- Mustards seeds are used extensively in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mediterranean and German in cooking. Whole seeds, ground or powdered form; prepared pastes, sauces and oil are all used in cooking.
- Mustard seeds are used in condiments from time immemorial by Romans, Greeks and Indians. Pilani a physician of Rome writes: “It is so pungent in flavor that it burns like fire, though at the same time it is remarkably wholesome for the body.” Used internationally as an appetizer, flavoring agent, and food preservative, its presence in the food and pickles prevents the growth of Aspergillus niger (black mold).
- But when treated with heat, mustard’s fragrance transforms to an acceptable pungency that renders all preparations an appetizing flavor, making it an indispensable topping in all Indian curries.
Uses of Mustard Seeds in Skin Care:
- As a sunscreen: Due to its thick consistency and high levels of vitamin E, topical application of this oil protects your skin against the harsh ultraviolet rays and other pollutants, thus preventing skin cancer. Vitamin E prevents aging and wrinkles besides acting as a sunshield.
- Stimulates Sweat Glands: Whether consumed or applied topically, mustard oil stimulates the sweat glands and opens the pores of the skin. Thus, it helps in reducing the body temperature and removes unwanted toxins, water, and salts from the body.
- Treats Rashes and Infections: Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, mustard oil is effective in treating rashes and other skin infections, thus preventing your skin from dryness, dullness and itching. A body message with mustard oil rejuvenates and cleans skin by increasing blood circulation. Besides due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is effective in reducing skin inflammation and facilitates quick healing of cuts and wounds.
A wonder in nature’s hidden gems, the health benefits of mustard seeds are numerous. In addition to culinary delights, the nutritional elements of mustard seeds help to provide a healthier lifestyle. By including this mustard seed in your diet, you can start protecting against anti-aging process and its antioxidants properties safe guard you from and slow the progress of cancers especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Consumed regularly, it is known to control and keep the symptoms of asthma, cold, and chest congestion at bay. In conclusion, mustard seeds should play a significant role in both our gastronomic repertoire and our pursuit of wellbeing due to their rich nutrient profile and possible health benefit.
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