Mustard seeds are found to date back to as much as 5000 years ago, as is evident from their mention in ancient Sanskrit writings. Available in different varieties, namely black mustard (nigra), white mustard (hirta/Sinapis alba) and brown Indian mustard (juncea), they are available as whole as well as in the powdered form. The mustard plant grows in temperate regions, with cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. It takes nearly 3-10 days for the plant to germinate, if proper conditions are available. It usually spreads and acquires the whole area surrounding it. Mustard plants enjoy full sun, ample water and fertilizers to mature (within 45-50 days). However, the plants need to be weeded frequently; otherwise they will get devoid of water. They can be harvested when the plant begins to yellow and leaves are young.
Known for their healthy, low calorie and nutritious property, mustard seeds form a popular spice in many cosines around the world. They are grinded to make oil too, which can be applied on the body in winters, as it provides warmth. Of all the three types of mustard seeds, the white ones are less yielding than their two counterparts. They are also the mildest and ones used to make American yellow mustard. The black mustard seeds have the most pungent taste. Brown mustard has a pungent, acrid taste and is used to make Dijon mustard. Owing to their high nutritional value, mustard seeds have been associated with a number of health benefits, adding to their popularity. Today, they are amongst the popular spices traded in the world, with India, Canada, Hungary, Great Britain and United States being the chief producers.
Health Benefits of Eating Mustard Seeds
Mustard Seeds can be regarded as a wholesome package of health. Let us explore their benefits in detail.
- Mustard seeds are a good source of selenium, which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Selenium is a nutrient that helps in reducing the severity of asthma, certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.
- The oil extracted from mustard seeds has an incredible property of lowering high blood pressure
- Mustard oil also helps prevent heart attacks and diabetic heart disease, thus making it the most preferred oil, recommended by doctors and dieticians alike.
- Mustard seeds have proven to be helpful in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.
- Consuming these seeds is known to help women suffering from distorted sleep patterns, associated with symptoms of menopause
- Mustard seeds contain a lot of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. They also boast of myrosinase enzymes, which can break glucosinolates into other phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, known to have anti-cancer properties.
- The seeds prove to be a good source of omega--3 fatty acids, iron, manganese, zinc, protein, calcium, dietary fiber and niacin.
- Mustard seeds are a good source of magnesium, which helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.
- The magnesium in mustard seeds also helps in speeding up the metabolism of the body, hence improving digestion.
- Mustard seeds are known to have antibacterial, antiseptic as well as antifungal properties.
- Consuming black mustard seeds can help people with a lack of appetite, when taken with milk, 15 minutes before the meal.
- Mustard seeds are not categorized among allergic foods, however carelessly-eaten strong seeds can have a strong and painful effect on the nasal membranes.
- Mustard seeds add an aromatic effect to the food, when fried in oil.
- Dijon mustard sauce, which is prepared from brown mustard seeds, can be used for dressing. Combined with honey, it results in deliciously sweet dipping sauce.
- The seeds of white, black and brown mustard can be sprinkled on rice, vegetables and salads, to add color and flavor.
- Non-vegetarians can rub bottled mustard on their meat, to give it a distinctive flavor.
- Mustard powder can be used in salad dressings, pickles, egg dishes and vinaigrettes.