12 Benefits That Prove Why Mustard Is Good For Health

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Different parts of the mustard plant have been proven beneficial in a variety of health-related issues. This includes relief from muscular aches and pains to dermatitis among others. Mustard seeds and leaves have also been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties, apart from improving heart health. In folk medicine, the seeds are considered to be beneficial for skin and hair when mixed with a cooling agent. Let us look at these benefits in detail.

What is Mustard?

Mustard is a versatile cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, similarly to broccoli and cabbage. Native to the temperate areas of Europe, it was amongst the earliest grown crops in the region. For thousands of years, the mustard plant has been quite popularly cultivated in North Africa, Asia, and Europe more like an herb; it was even popular among the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Presently, mustard is grown in over 21 countries with major production happening in Europe, Nepal, Canada, Ukraine, and India. Attributing to its flavor and therapeutic nature, usage of mustard is quite popular all around the globe with approximately 700 pounds consumed annually.

Types of Mustard

Mustard is a multi-faceted botanical with a number of different varieties. Three variants out of these varieties – namely white mustard (Brassica alba,) black mustard (Brassica nigra), and brown mustard (Brassica juncea), have gained more popularity over others, and are commercially grown and used for their young flower stalks, leaves, and seeds.

  • White mustard (sometimes referred to as yellow mustard) has a milder taste and is normally used in the preparation of the famous American yellow mustard condiment.
  • Black mustard is popular for its strong aroma and flavor.
  • Brown mustard, also used to prepare Dijon mustard, offers a sharp pungent taste.
A white bowl of yellow and dark brown mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are a rich source of essential oils, minerals, and vitamins. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Spices, mustard seed, ground
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]5.27
Energy [kcal]508
Energy [kJ]2126
Protein [g]26.08
Total lipid (fat) [g]36.24
Ash [g]4.33
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]28.09
Fiber, total dietary [g]12.2
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]6.79
Sucrose [g]3.69
Glucose (dextrose) [g]2.88
Fructose [g]0.02
Galactose [g]0.2
Calcium, Ca [mg]266
Iron, Fe [mg]9.21
Magnesium, Mg [mg]370
Phosphorus, P [mg]828
Potassium, K [mg]738
Sodium, Na [mg]13
Zinc, Zn [mg]6.08
Copper, Cu [mg]0.65
Manganese, Mn [mg]2.45
Selenium, Se [µg]208.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]7.1
Thiamin [mg]0.81
Riboflavin [mg]0.26
Niacin [mg]4.73
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.81
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.4
Folate, total [µg]162
Folate, food [µg]162
Folate, DFE [µg]162
Choline, total [mg]122.7
Betaine [mg]1.9
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Carotene, beta [µg]18
Vitamin A, IU [IU]31
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]568
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]5.07
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]19.82
Tocopherol, delta [mg]0.81
Tocotrienol, gamma [mg]0.07
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]5.4
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]1.99
16:0 [g]0.98
18:0 [g]0.46
20:0 [g]0.28
22:0 [g]0.18
24:0 [g]0.11
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]22.52
16:1 [g]0.06
18:1 [g]8.46
20:1 [g]3.99
22:1 [g]9.36
24:1 c [g]0.64
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]10.09
18:2 [g]5.92
18:3 [g]3.79
20:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.25
Phytosterols [mg]118
Tryptophan [g]0.26
Threonine [g]0.84
Isoleucine [g]1.18
Leucine [g]2.08
Lysine [g]1.84
Methionine [g]0.48
Cystine [g]0.68
Phenylalanine [g]1.17
Tyrosine [g]0.81
Valine [g]1.51
Arginine [g]1.93
Histidine [g]0.88
Alanine [g]1.17
Aspartic acid [g]2.44
Glutamic acid [g]5.27
Glycine [g]1.59
Proline [g]2.81
Serine [g]0.76
Sources include : USDA

Mustard Nutrition Facts

The mustard plant brings an entire gamut of helpful constituents through its various edible parts. Mustard seeds are a rich source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, according to the USDA. Along with this, it is a good source of dietary folate and vitamin A as well.

Mustard greens, or leaves of mustard plants, are an excellent source of minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. In addition to a healthy dose of dietary fiber, it also contains vitamins A, K, and C, as well as folate (B9).

Mustard oil is made from mustard seed. One tablespoon of mustard oil usually contains 124 calories, which though high in calories, is heart-healthy because of the presence of omega 3 fatty acids.

Health Benefits of Mustard

Phenolic components and other valuable nutrients present in different parts of the mustard plant such as seeds, leaves, and oil collectively offer a magnitude of health benefits with a unique flavor. The efficacy of the mustard plant for therapeutic usage is discussed below. Let us have a look at them in detail.

Possible Anti-cancer Properties

Being a member of the Brassica family, the seeds of a mustard plant contain generous amounts of healthy phytonutrients called glucosinolates which can prove valuable against various cancers such as the bladder, colon, and cervical cancer, says a 2019 report published in the Biomedicines Journal. Glucosinolates break down to form isothiocyanates with the help of myrosinase enzymes present in mustard seeds.

According to another study published in the Carcinogenesis Journal, mustard seeds may have chemopreventive potential and protect against toxic effects of carcinogens. A group of US researchers found that allyl isothiocyanate-rich mustard seed powder may help lower the risk of bladder cancer.

A 2011 study found that mustard seeds may help reduce the risk of cancer such as colon cancer due to the presence of antioxidants.

Various studies have suggested that the anti-cancer effects of these components inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even guard against the formation of such malignant cells. The chemopreventive properties of its seeds help in restoring the levels of glutathione and stimulate the induction of apoptosis without affecting the normal healthy cells. However, further research is needed to explore the beneficial effects of mustard seeds.

Relieves Symptoms of Psoriasis

The tiny mustard seeds are effective against psoriasis, which is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder. A study conducted by a team of Chinese researchers has shown the efficacy of mustard seed as an anti-inflammatory agent, and as part of future psoriasis treatments. According to the study, the use of these seeds also stimulates the activities of beneficial enzymes, which may encourage healing action against psoriasis-led legions.

Relief from Contact Dermatitis

Mustard seeds offer therapeutic relief in contact dermatitis, which is a condition in which the skin develops an itchy rash when it comes in contact with an allergen. An animal study published in the Journal of Southern Medical University has suggested that consumption of mustard seeds helps in healing the symptoms associated with contact dermatitis such as healing of tissues and reduction in ear swelling. However, more studies are required to ascertain its efficacy in humans.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Mustard seeds are a rich source of antioxidants such as kaempferol, carotenoids, and isorhamnetin, and other essential plant compounds that help the body against any kind of damage and disease. These flavonoids may also help reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.

Mustard oil, extracted from these seeds, is also known to be a healthier option than most other cooking oils for the heart. A randomized study published in the Clinical Trials Journal showed when patients with serious heart ailments and suspected of a heart attack were given mustard oil in moderate quantities, they demonstrated positive results with respect to reduction in the rate of cardiac arrhythmia, decrease in the ventricular enlargement and the chest pain associated with it.

The cardioprotective properties of mustard oil are possibly attributed to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids among other helpful components. This initial research is promising for future studies examining mustard seed and its cardiovascular implications.

Relief from Respiratory Disorders

Mustard seeds have always been valued for their therapeutic effects against cold and sinus problems. It is considered a wonderful decongestant and expectorant, which helps in clearing the mucus in the air passage. Since ages, different home remedies have involved the usage of mustard seeds or oil for treating a range of sinus-related ailments because of its heat-generating properties.

A 2020 study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal suggests that when ground mustard seeds are added to foot soak it helps relieve congestion in the respiratory tract. A book titled, Herbal Simples Approved For Modern Uses of Cure, an infusion of mustard seeds when taken medically helps relieve the symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Furthermore, it states that when one gargles with tea made of mustard seeds, it helps soothe a sore throat.

During an asthmatic attack, massaging a mix of mustard oil and a small amount of camphor promotes easy breathing by breaking down phlegm. Another book titled, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, suggests that plaster or poultice made of its seeds has been used since olden times for providing relief from bronchitis and to stimulate healthy blood circulation in the body.

Treats Aches & Pains

Poultice, or plaster, made from mustard seeds helps in reducing pains and spasms, as well. Mustard has rubefacient (redness producing) properties and hence when applied as a plaster, exercises analgesic effects and provides relief from muscular aches. Another important advice to note here is that mustard plaster has warmer effects and may cause sore blistering if applied directly on the naked skin. To avoid that, a linen sheet should be used between the skin and the plaster.

Poison Repulsion

In folk medicine, it is considered that mustard seeds possess protective emetic qualities, which resist the effects of poison on the body. A decoction made with its seeds helps in cleansing the body especially if the poisoning is caused by narcotics or excess intake of alcohol.

Protection Against Bacterial & Fungal Infections

Research studies show that mustard and mustard products contain antioxidants that may protect against infections caused by various kinds of bacteria and fungi. However, more research is required to affirm its protective properties.

Skin & Hair Care

Mustard seeds serve as a wonderful beauty aid as well. Mustard seeds, roasted in sesame or coconut oil, enrich the resultant sieved oil and make it an effective remedy for acne to promote a clearer complexion. When mixed with aloe vera gel, it acts as a great hydrating agent for the skin. Furthermore, it is a rich source of antioxidants that slows down the aging process.

Mustard oil, on the other hand, is good for the hair as well. The oil that is extracted from the seeds is rich in Vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids, which is beneficial for hair growth, strength, and overall health. Having said that, there is a lack of scientific evidence supporting the benefits of mustard for hair and skin. Hence more research is needed.

Helps Manage Diabetes

Mustard leaves may be helpful for those with diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology demonstrated that mustard seed may be beneficial in reducing the damage caused by oxidative stress associated with this chronic disease. Another study published in the Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis examined the administration of mustard oil, in vivo, and found it can help in reducing the levels of blood sugar in the body more effectively than medication alone. It aids in stimulating glucose metabolism as well.

Cholesterol-Lowering Ability

Leaves of the mustard plant also have tremendous cholesterol-lowering power. A study published in the Nutrition Research has shown that cruciferous vegetables, in particular, mustard greens have an amazing ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract which facilitate easy excretion of these acids from the body. The bile acids usually comprise of cholesterol, so ultimately the binding process helps in reducing the cholesterol levels of the body.

Another noteworthy fact here is that the steamed version of mustard green has better bile acid-binding as compared to the raw version. So steam them lightly, and maybe, add little-roasted cumin, salt, and pepper and enjoy.
These greens are a nutritional powerhouse and instrumental in reducing the development of blockages in the arteries, thus reducing–and hopefully helping to mitigate heart-related ailments.

Vitamin B6 content present in these greens prevents the platelets from clumping and moderates the risk of thrombosis.

Relieves Menopausal Symptoms

Mustard greens may prove to be valuable for women during the menopausal phase. Magnesium, along with calcium, which is prevalent in mustard greens encourage bone health and prevents bone loss associated with menopause. It helps in recompensing the low magnesium content in bones and may, along with a healthy diet, help reduce the risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women.

Culinary and Other Uses of Mustard

  • Flavoring agent: Dried yellow mustard gives a nice flavor when added as a seasoning in salad dishes, mayonnaise, and dips. Dried yellow mustard gives a nice flavor when added as a seasoning in salad dishes, mayonnaise, and dips.
  • Low-fat condiment: Mustard is a low-calorie substitute for a high-fat condiment such as mayonnaise. Mustard seeds can be added to your daily diet in several ways. You can soak them in milk, blend them into a paste and use it to make curries and gravies. It will give the food a pungent flavor. Further, you can whisk them into salad dressings, or sprinkle them into warm meals. Yellow mustard is also used for preparing condiments such as table mustard.
  • A healthy addition to salads: Mustard leaves can either be eaten raw or cooked and then added to your diet in the form of soups, salads, and stews.
  • Cooking oil: It serves as cooking oil for deep frying or preparing stir-fry vegetables. There are two varieties of mustard oil. One of them is a type of vegetable oil that is prepared by pressing the seeds.
  • Essential oil: The other form of oil extracted from the seeds is an essential oil which is obtained by grinding them, combining them with water, and then extracting the oil through a distillation process.
  • Emulsifier: Yellow mustard flour has superb emulsifying and stabilizing qualities which are great for the preparation of sausages.
  • Preservative Properties: Mustard has also been found useful to slow the fermentation process while making apple cider and prevent the spoilage of meat products since olden times.

You should definitely try out our Beef tenderloin recipe. The flavor of the tender roast is boosted with generous salt and pepper marinate and a hint of mustard. Additionally, we have the perfect Zingy Keto Salad Dressing With Mustard, which is a must-try!

How to Select and Store?

While choosing mustard greens, one should look for untarnished and clean green leaves without brown spots. They can be stored in a plastic bag and may be refrigerated for 3-4 days. They should be cleaned by placing them in tepid water for a few minutes, allowing the sand and dirt to settle down. Followed with repeated rinsing until the water runs clear.

Seeds of the mustard plant are normally available in different forms, including:

  • Whole dried seeds
  • Powdered
  • Paste
  • Oil

It is advisable to select organically grown seeds to avoid the risk of radiation contamination. The powdered and whole form may be stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Powdered mustard can last up to six months, while the whole form is good for up to one year. Its oil and paste can be refrigerated and stored up to six months.

Side Effects of Mustard

It is always advisable to be naturally cautious while trying anything for the first time, especially when it may have allergic components. Some of the known side effects of mustard seed are:

  • Skin Issues: Mustard plants have a tendency to generate heating effects, so caution should be exercised while using it on the skin, or in contact with eyes. It is always best to mix it with a cooling agent like coconut oil or aloe vera gel. However, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist before applying it to the skin.
  • Goitrogens: Uncooked mustard seeds and leaves contain a substance called goitrogens, which may alter the functioning of the thyroid gland. People already suffering from thyroid disease should always cook the mustard prior consumption to neutralize these components, and speak with a medical professional prior to consuming.
  • Oxalates: Mustard contains oxalates which are known to interfere with the absorption of calcium. Individuals already suffering from oxalate-related disorders such as kidney stones should be watchful regarding the overconsumption.
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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