The unique healing properties of mustard seeds can partly be attributed to their home among the Brassica foods found in the cruciferous plant family.
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.
Mustard seeds emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of selenium, a nutrient which that 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 and manganese as well as a good source of phosphorus, copper, and vitamin B1.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.
Mustard Seeds, yellow, ground
GI: very low
|omega-3 fats||0.15 g||6||5.5||very good|
|manganese||0.10 mg||5||4.4||very good|
|vitamin B1||0.03 mg||3||2.2||good|
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%