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Mustard seeds


Health Benefits

The unique healing properties of mustard seeds can partly be attributed to their home among the Brassica foods found in the cruciferous plant family.

Phytonutrient Compounds Protective Against Gastrointestinal Cancer

Like other Brassicas, mustard seeds contain plentiful amounts of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. The seeds also contain myrosinase enzymes that can break apart the glucosinolates into other phytonutrients called isothiocyanates. The isothiocyanates in mustard seed (and other Brassicas) have been repeatedly studied for their anti-cancer effects. In animal studies – and particularly in studies involving the gastrointestinal tract and colorectal cancer – intake of isothiocyanates has been shown to inhibit growth of existing cancer cells and to be protective against the formation of such cells.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects from Selenium and Magnesium

Mustard seeds emerged from our food ranking system as a very good source of selenium a nutrient which has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. They also qualified as a good source of magnesium. Like selenium, magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, to lower high blood pressure, to restore normal sleep patterns in women having difficulty with the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Mustard seeds also qualified as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as a good source of iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, protein, niacin and dietary fiber.

Description

If you are like most people, the word “mustard” probably conjures up images of ballparks and barbeques. Yet, once you add mustard seeds to your spice cabinet, the word will take on a whole new meaning, as you will also relish the spicy, aromatic rustic taste and fragrance that mustard can add to your meals.

Mustard seeds are from the mustard plant, which is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. While there are approximately forty different varieties of mustard plants, there are three principal types used to make mustard seeds: black mustard (Brassica nigra), white mustard (Brassica alba) and brown mustard (Brassica juncea). Black mustard seeds have the most pungent taste, while white mustard seeds, which are actually yellow in color, are the most mild and are the ones used to make American yellow mustard. Brown mustard, which is actually dark yellow in color, has a pungent acrid taste and is the type used to make Dijon mustard.

Mustard seeds are sold either whole or as a ground powder.

History

Mustard seeds can be traced to different areas of Europe and Asia with the white variety originating in the eastern Mediterranean regions, the brown from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and the black from the Middle East. Mustard seeds are mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings dating back about 5,000 years ago. They are also mentioned in the New Testament in which the kingdom of Heaven is compared to a grain of mustard seed.

While mustard seeds were used for their culinary properties in ancient Greece, it seems that it was the ancient Romans who invented a paste from the ground seeds, which was probably the ancestor of our modern day mustard condiment. The physicians of both civilizations, including the father of medicine Hippocrates, used mustard seed medicinally.

Mustard seed is one of the most popular spices traded in the world today. As it grows well in temperate climates, the areas that produce the greatest amount of mustard seeds currently include Hungary, Great Britain, India, Canada and the United States.

How to Select and Store

Even through dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown mustard seeds or powder since this will give you more assurance that the herbs have not been irradiated.

Mustard powder and mustard seeds should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Prepared mustard and mustard oil should both be refrigerated.

How to Enjoy

For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

Tips for Preparing Mustard Seeds:

Mustard seeds or mustard powder can be used as a condiment in a variety of dishes. Mustard seeds can be used as is or can be roasted in a skillet.

While dried mustard powder does not have a very strong quality, mixing it with water initiates an enzymatic process that enhances its pungency and heat. To moderate its sharp flavor, you can either add some very hot water or an acidic substance such as vinegar, either of which will stop the enzymatic process.

You can easily make your own mustard condiment by first macerating the seeds in wine, vinegar or water. Grind them into a smooth paste, adding herbs and spices such as tarragon, turmeric, garlic, pepper, paprika or any others that you prefer to give your homemade mustard its own unique taste.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Dredge chicken breast in prepared mustard and whole mustard seeds and bake.

Add some Dijon mustard to your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

Make a delicious cold millet salad by combining the cooked and cooled grain with chopped scallions, baked tofu cubes, garden peas and mustard seeds. Dress with lemon juice and olive oil.

Marinate salmon fillets in a combination of Dijon mustard and white wine.

Combine prepared mustard with honey and the seasonings of your choice to make a pungently sweet dipping sauce.

Add a collage of taste and color to rice by sprinkling some brown, black and white mustard seeds on top.

Safety

Mustard seeds contain goitrogens, naturally-occurring substances in certain foods that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Individuals with already existing and untreated thyroid problems may want to avoid mustard seeds for this reason. Cooking may help to inactivate the goitrogenic compounds found in mustard seeds.

Nutritional Profile

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good or good source. Next to the nutrient name you will find the following information: the amount of the nutrient that is included in the noted serving of this food; the %Daily Value (DV) that amount represents; the nutrient density rating; and, the food's World's Healthiest Foods Rating. Not all of our Daily Value standards are obtained from the FDA. In most instances, we used FDA Daily Values when available because they are widely recognized and apply to both men and women. However, when unavailable, we've used other science-based research to establish nutritional standards. Underneath the chart is a table that summarizes how the ratings were devised. Read more about our Food and Recipe Rating System.

Seeds, Mustard
2.00 tsp
35.04 calories
Nutrient Amount DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
selenium 9.96 mcg 14.2 7.3 very good
tryptophan 0.04 g 12.5 6.4 very good
omega 3 fatty acids 0.20 g 8.0 4.1 very good
phosphorus 62.76 mg 6.3 3.2 good
manganese 0.12 mg 6.0 3.1 good
magnesium 22.28 mg 5.6 2.9 good
dietary fiber 1.08 g 4.3 2.2 good
iron 0.76 mg 4.2 2.2 good
calcium 38.92 mg 3.9 2.0 good
protein 1.88 g 3.8 1.9 good
vitamin B3 (niacin) 0.60 mg 3.0 1.5 good
zinc 0.44 mg 2.9 1.5 good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

In Depth Nutritional Profile for Mustard seeds

References

  • Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986.
  • Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York.
  • Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Dover Publications, New York.
  • Thimmulappa RK, Mai KH, Srisuma S et al. Identification of Nrf2-regulated genes induced by the chemopreventive agent sulforaphane by oligonucleotide microarray. Cancer Res 2002 Sep 15;62(18):5196-5203.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988.

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