Seeds and Cereals

Health Benefits of Mustard

The mustard sauce everyone knows. Along with mayonnaise and ketchup, it is part of the “holy trinity” that is always welcome at snack time. But few people are aware of the powers and benefits of this ancient plant for our health.

There are indications that mustard seeds were already consumed for over 3,000 years, both as a condiment and for health. Used by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to season meat and fish, mustard is so old that it even figures in the pages of the Bible, quoted in one of Jesus’ most famous parables to the apostles (“The mustard seed”).

By the Middle Ages, the seeds of this plant would become even more popular in making mustard sauce, mixed with water and vinegar. But mustard’s powers go far beyond sauces and seeds. Its leaves are very rich in minerals, proteins, fibers and vitamins, which bring many benefits to your health.

Let’s unravel all this, traveling through the tasty mustard universe.

MUSTARD PLANT

Mustard is a vegetable of the cruciferous family (flowers in the shape of a cross), as are cabbage and broccoli. This leafy vegetable with the scientific name Brassica juncea grows best in temperate climate regions.

Mustard has dark green leaves and, depending on the crop, its edges can be jagged or lacy. Vegetable mustard consumes not only the leaves, but also the seeds, used as spices. Today the biggest mustard seed producers are Nepal, Canada and Russia.

MUSTARD COLOR AND FLAVOR

After salt and pepper, mustard is one of the most consumed spices in the world. Marketed both whole and in powder form, mustard seeds are obtained from several species of the plant and differ both in color and flavor:

  • Black mustard ( Brassica nigra ) – cultivated in Chile, Argentina and USA, it has a stronger flavor.
  • White mustard – actually yellow (Brassica alba) – found in North Africa, the Middle East and Mediterranean Europe. With a milder taste, it is used in the production of yellow mustard sauce.
  • Brown mustard – or Indian mustard – ( Brassica Juncea ) – grown in Nepal, UK, USA, Canada and Denmark. Dark yellow in color, its flavor is more bitter and is used in the preparation of Dijon mustard sauce.

Among the most famous mustards in the world are:

  • German mustard – prepared with yellow seeds
  • French mustard – prepared with dark seeds.

MUSTARD ORIGIN

It is not known for sure when mustard was first cultivated, but reports indicate that it was already used by many people for about three thousand years. In India, mustard seeds have been used in cooking for over two thousand years.

It was in France in the Middle Ages that the mustard sauce we know emerged, prepared with mustard seeds ground with honey and vinegar.

Mustard soon gained popularity, becoming routine on the French table, particularly in the city of Dijon, birthplace of the famous sauce that bears its name. Dijon sauce is prepared with brown mustard, which has a more bitter taste.

MUSTARD PROPERTIES

Mustard seeds and leaves are rich in fiber, minerals, proteins and vitamins that are important for the proper functioning of our body, in addition to their consumption being beneficial in preventing various diseases.

See how much richness you find in some mustard leaves:

  1. Essential minerals – such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, in addition to folic acid and vitamins.
  2. Rich in selenium and magnesium – anti-inflammatory and digestive action.
  3. High Vitamin A Content – ​​​​Good for the skin, hair and eye health.
  4. Rich in B-complex vitamins – help speed up metabolism and eliminate toxins, plus vitamins K, C and folate.
  5. Antioxidant enzymes – work to fight cancer.
  6. High in fiber – aids in digestive processes and weight loss diets.

BENEFITS OF MUSTARD

In addition to the taste in many dishes, mustard has benefits you can’t even imagine. Like watercress and cabbage, it is part of leafy vegetables with anti-cancer properties.

With essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and potassium in its composition, mustard leaf is also rich in vitamins A, K, carotenes and flavonoids. It also contains glucosinates (glycosides), which are used to make mustard oil. In antiquity, mustard oil was used both as a spice and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

Some indications of mustard for your health.

  • On the Diet – Low calorie (100 g = 26 kcal) and high in fiber, mustard leaves are a great tip for your diet.
  • Fighting cholesterol – The dark green mustard leaf helps control cholesterol and stimulates bowel function, preventing constipation and hemorrhoids.
  • Against osteoporosis – Rich in vitamin K, calcium and magnesium, it works to combat bone loss, common in menopause.
  • In pregnancy – Rich in folic acid (187 mg to 100 g mustard), helps prevent birth problems in the fetus.
  • In the prevention of prostate, breast and ovarian cancer – Because it contains flavonoid antioxidants, sulforaphane, lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Natural antioxidant – With a high content of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), it protects against colds and flu.
  • Muscle Pain Relief – Mustard tea, fennel and cinnamon.
  • For the skin – To treat psoriasis and contact dermatitis, use mustard seeds in a topical paste on the affected area.
  • Breathing Problems – Mustard tea is a great decongestant and excellent against sinusitis.

IS MUSTARD A TREE OR A BUSH?

As we saw earlier, the small mustard seeds were part of one of Jesus’ best-known parables. In the Gospel of Luke (13:18-19), it is quoted as follows: “And he said, To what is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden, and which grew and became a tree; and the birds of the air alighted on its branches.”

There are those who dispute the comparison, saying that the mustard plant does not grow like a tree, but rather like a shrub, reaching in general 1.20m. However, this does not invalidate the sermon, because what Jesus really meant is that the Kingdom of God is something great that is reached from a “small seed of faith”, which, when planted and cared for, germinates and grows.

HOW TO MAKE MUSTARD

Why buy ready-made sauce if you can prepare mustard healthily and without any chemical components? Let’s get to work, because these recipes have no mystery.

MUSTARD SAUCE

Mustard sauce is a condiment based on mustard seeds, water and vinegar. Used in cooking around the world, two types of seeds are used in its preparation: the yellow mustard seeds and the dark seeds. Let’s learn how to make homemade mustard sauce?

HOMEMADE MUSTARD SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams of ground mustard beans
  • 50 ml of white wine (your choice)
  • 01 tablespoon of salt
  • 80 ml of water
  • 02 tablespoons of sugar

How to prepare:

  • In a deep container, place the crushed mustard, add the wine, salt, sugar, water and mix well.
  • Blend this mixture in a blender until it reaches the point of a paste.
  • If necessary, add more ground mustard and water.
  • This preparation should be stored in a closed jar in the refrigerator and left to tan for 2 to 3 days.

After that time, it will be ready for consumption.

HONEY AND MUSTARD SAUCE

You’ll love this dressing, which will make a big difference to your salad or sandwich. Oh, and it can be used as a salt substitute in meals, making it much healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 02 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
  • 01 tablespoon of honey
  • 01 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 01 tablespoon of oil
  • 01 “pinch” of salt
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)

How to prepare:

Take all ingredients, place in a tightly closed glass container, shake well until mixture is smooth. Can consume immediately. But if you want, you can leave it in the fridge to enjoy for a day or two. It is delicious!

BRAISED MUSTARD

Enjoy all the properties of mustard, including its flavor, in this simple and ultra-fast recipe.

Ingredients:

You will need

  • A pack of sanitized mustard
  • 1/2 cup (of tea) of chopped bacon
  • 01 chopped onion
  • 02 chopped garlic cloves
  • Salt and black pepper to taste)

How to prepare:

1) Chop the mustard leaf into strips and place them for 2 minutes in a pan of boiling water. Then drain and set aside.

2) Fry the bacon in a pan over medium heat (until browned evenly).

3) Add chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 2 minutes.

4) Add mustard, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Mix well, remove from heat and, if desired, serve as an accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats.

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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