Mustard greens are a species of mustard plant also known as Indian mustard, Chinese mustard and leaf mustard. The leaves, the seeds and the stem of mustard is edible and often used in African, Italian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Mustard greens originate from the Himalayan region of India, and they are grown for more than 5000 years. Mustard greens add a pungent, peppery flavor to the dishes in which they are used. They are available throughout the whole year, but their natural season occurs from December through April. The leaves of the mustard plant are usually emerald green in color, and that is the origin of the name “mustard greens”. The plant also produces acrid-tasting brown seeds that are often used in preparation of Dijon mustard.
Health Benefits of Mustard Greens
Mustard greens have a powerful cholesterol lowering ability. Only steamed collard greens and steamed kale provide more benefits than the mustard greens. This natural medicine works by binding the bile acids, made of cholesterol, in the digestive tract, making it easier to excrete the acids from the body.
Like many other cruciferous vegetables, mustard greens have some cancer-preventive properties. This amazing health benefit is due to the high sinigrin and gluconasturtian content in mustard greens. Both compounds have cancer-preventive and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mustard greens are an excellent source of classic antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and manganese. Hydroxycinnamic acid, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol are also among the most important antioxidant phytonutrients provided by mustard greens. This means that the mustard greens help lower one’s risk of developing cancer and degenerative diseases by helping to avoid chronic and undesirable oxidative stress.
To get the most health benefits from mustard greens one should consume them on a regular basis: at least 2 or 3 times per week, in a serving size no less than 1/2 cups.
Mustard Greens Nutrition Facts
Mustard greens are an excellent source of many classic nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin E. They are an excellent source of the minerals, such as manganese and calcium as well as dietary fiber. Mustard greens provide optimum amounts of potassium, vitamin B6, protein, copper, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2 and magnesium. They are also a good source of vitamin B1 and vitamin B3 (niacin).
One cup of chopped mustard greens, weighing approximately 56 grams, contains about 61.1 kJ of calories. Always use fresh and organic lively green vegetables rinsed under cold running water. The mustard greens should be quickly cooked, and they should sit for a minimum of 5 minutes before cooking. Sprinkling the mustard greens with a couple of drops of lemon juice before letting them sit can help to activate their myrosinase enzymes and increase the formation of beneficial isothiocyanates.