The ‘Must-have’ Green Leafy Vegetable!- HealthifyMe


The mustard plant is recognised for its tiny yellowish seeds, which produce mustard, one of the world’s most famous condiments. However, many people have been using the plant’s green leaves for their health benefits and cooking purposes for ages. As the name suggests, mustard greens are leaves from the mustard plant. They have multiple uses, including antiseptic & disinfection for wound healing, supporting renal function with a diuretic, detoxifying and strengthening agent for the blood and a cold and sore throat therapy. 

Modern research backs up mustard greens’ high nutritional value. Their vitamin A content exceeds the content present in spinach. While studies don’t recognise all of the greens’ traditional usage, they imply that they have a variety of health benefits. Mustard greens have a significant flavour, and people use them to lend a bitter, peppery flavour to any dish. Some ways to use them are in raw form, boiling, steamed, or stir-fried. Mustard greens are simple to incorporate into your diet.

Nutritional Value of Mustard Greens

As per USDA, around 100 grams of Mustard Greens serving contains:

  • Energy: 27 kcal
  • Water: 90.7 g
  • Protein: 2.86 g
  • Fat: 0.42 g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.67 g
  • Fibre: 3.2 g
  • Potassium: 384 mg
  • Phosphorus: 58 mg
  • Magnesium: 32 mg
  • Calcium: 115 mg
  • Sodium: 20 mg
  • Iron: 1.64 mg
  • Zinc: 0.25 mg
  • Vitamin C: 70 mg
  • Vitamin A: 151 mg
  • Vitamin K: 258 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Mustard greens are rich in potassium and calcium. In addition, the mustard greens have a low-fat percentage, making them a naturally low-fat food source. Although they have a low protein content, they are rich in vitamin C, A and K. 

Benefits of Consuming Mustard Greens

Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are plant chemicals that defend against oxidative stress caused by an overabundance of free radicals. Free radicals are highly active chemicals that can pose a threat to your cells. According to research, free radicals can lead to significant chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, over time. Mustard greens are high in antioxidants such as flavonoids, lutein and vitamin C. These antioxidants help combat free radical damage and prevent various chronic diseases.

Loaded with Vitamin K

Mustard greens, both raw and cooked, are an excellent source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is widely known for its role in preventing blood clotting. It’s also proven to be very beneficial to the heart and bones.

Vitamin K deficiency is related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, a condition characterised by weakened bones and a higher risk of fractures. Furthermore, recent studies prove the importance of vitamin K for brain health. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to a higher risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Potential Immunity Booster

Mustard greens can be beneficial to your immune system. It is because mustard greens contain high amounts of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin required for healthy immunological function. According to research, a lack of vitamin C in the diet might weaken the immune system, making the person more prone to illness. 

Mustard greens also contain vitamin A, which helps to enhance your immune system. It accomplishes this by boosting the proliferation and distribution of T cells, a kind of white blood cell that aids in the fight against infection.

Mustard Greens Benefit Heart health

Mustard greens are also beneficial for your cardiovascular system. They’re high in antioxidants, including beta carotene and flavonoids, which can lower the risk of heart diseases and associated mortality. 

According to eight-week research, the higher consumption of leafy greens (especially Brassica) can lower the risk of heart diseases by 15%. Like other Brassica plants, mustard greens contain chemicals that assist in the binding of bile acids in the digestive system. Inhibiting bile acid reabsorption can lower cholesterol levels, which is healthy for the heart. As per studies, steaming mustard greens significantly improves the bile acid-binding effect. So, steamed mustard greens can lower cholesterol levels, making them heart-friendly.

Improved Eye Health

Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in mustard greens, improve eye health. Research suggests that eating foods high in zeaxanthin and lutein may help shield against age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness worldwide. In particular, these two chemicals help protect the retina from oxidative damage while also filtering out damaging blue light. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Mustard greens are rich in vitamins and minerals your body requires for good health. For example, vitamin C supports immune health, making it essential for your body. Hence, one should ensure enough vitamin C intake throughout the day, and mustard greens can be an excellent choice to fulfil your vitamin C requirement. In addition, cooked mustard greens can provide up to 100% of your daily vitamin A needs. Moreover, many physiological processes, including heart, kidney and lung health, are supported by this vitamin.

Mustard Greens: Usage and Storage

  • Raw mustard greens are frequently combined with other mixed greens to give salads a peppery, spicy taste. Some individuals also like to put them in green drinks and smoothies.
  • Cooked mustard greens are great as a side dish with roasted chicken or baked fish; they also work well in stews, soups and casseroles.
  • Prepare these greens with a source of fat, such as butter or olive oil, with lemon juice or vinegar to balance out their intense flavour.
  • You can also use salt, vinegar, chillies, and garlic to pickle mustard greens.
  • You should store mustard greens in the refrigerator and wash them before use, irrespective of their use.

The HealthifyMe Note:

You can store mustard greens in gently wrapped plastic bags in the refrigerator. Ensure that you keep them moist and in cool places. It is also essential to wash them before use to reap their benefits and prevent any harm.

Recipes Using Mustard Seeds

 

Spinach and Mustard Greens Sabzi

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Urad dal (Black Gram Dal), washed: 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil: 2 tsp
  • Celery: ¼ bunch
  • Mustard greens chopped: A half bunch
  • Spinach chopped: 1 bunch
  • Nutmeg powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: To taste
  • Hing: 1 tsp
  • Spring onions, chopped: 1 bunch
  • Green chillies, chopped: 4
  • Garlic & ginger, chopped: 1 tbsp

Method

  • After rinsing the greens, cut them coarsely.
  • Put mustard oil in a skillet and heat it. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook till they crackle.
  • Sauté the urad dal until golden in colour.
  • Add chopped garlic, ginger, spring onions, green chillies, salt, and Hing (asafoetida).
  • Combine all of the green vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook them with no lid.
  • Allow time to cook (add little water if it dries out).
  • To improve the flavour of the greens, add a touch of nutmeg powder after cooking.
  • Before serving, toss in the chopped onion and lime juice.

White Beans Soup with Mustard Greens

Servings: 6 (1 Cup: 200 ml)

Preparation time: 2 hours 

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil: 2 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves, thinly sliced: 3
  • Celery ribs: 2
  • Carrot: 1
  • Onion, finely diced: 1
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Teaspoon thyme leaves: 1
  • Water: 6 cups 
  • White beans: 1 cup
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper: As per taste
  • Sautéed Mustard Greens and Garlic Mayonnaise for serving: As per taste

Method

  • Pour olive oil into a large saucepan. 
  • Cook, occasionally stirring, until the garlic, carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, and thyme have softened for about 8 minutes. 
  • Bring to a boil the water, ham hock, and drained beans. 
  • Cook, stirring periodically, over low heat until the beans are cooked, about 1½ hour. Discard the bay leaf. 
  • Serve with Garlic Mayonnaise and Sautéed Mustard Greens after adding the ham hock meat to the beans and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Various other recipes, such as mustard green salads, pasta, and mustard green juice, can also be consumed. Mustard green juice boosts immunity, protects skin and lowers blood glucose levels. In addition, it has a low glycemic index, making it suitable for a diabetic diet.

Possible Side Effects of Mustard Greens

It May Increase Bloating and Flatulence

Overeating raw and cooked mustard greens can cause gas and bloat due to their high fibre content. If this frequently causes problems, blanching or boiling the greens before using them in other meals will help lessen the risk of bloating and indigestion. In addition, you can use preventive measures to prevent the side effects. For example, drink a lot of water to avoid bloating.

Interactions with Medicines

Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and is abundant in mustard greens. Therefore, when coupled with mustard greens, drugs like warfarin (Coumadin), both blood thinners, may raise the risk of severe bleeding.

Increased Risk of Kidney Stones

Mustard greens, like spinach, contain oxalates. Oxalates bind to calcium in the digestive system before getting into the bloodstream. Therefore, it can raise the risk of kidney stones in people who are sensitive to them. Furthermore, they can also decrease calcium absorption. So even while one serving per day is unlikely to induce this illness in most people, those who already have kidney stones should cut back on their intake. 

Some cooking techniques can also assist in reducing oxalate levels. For example, research showed that boiling reduced soluble oxalate content by 30-87% and was more effective than steaming (5-53%) and baking (used only for potatoes, no oxalate loss).

Conclusion

Mustard greens, the spicy leaves of the mustard plant, have a reasonable amount of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and plant chemicals with antioxidant and anticancer properties are particularly abundant. Incorporating mustard greens into one’s diet may help the heart, eyes, and immune system. Because of their peppery, spicy flavour, mustard greens are a fantastic addition to soups, salads, and casseroles. Steam them and combine them with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice for a simple side meal. 

While they have adverse effects like gas, bloating, and the possibility of kidney stones, this occurs when consumed in large quantities over time. Therefore, their benefits outweigh the drawbacks, making them a healthy addition to one’s diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are mustard greens good for?

A. Mustard greens are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for good health. For example, vitamin C helps heal wounds, supports bone health, boosts immune health, and more. It is also rich in vitamin A which aids in better vision. 

Q. Are mustard greens as healthy as spinach?

A. Both are healthy. Mustard greens have a higher vitamin C content than spinach. Spinach has a higher iron content than mustard greens. If compared, spinach has more nutrients than mustard greens. Thus, it can be considered healthier than mustard greens. 

Q. Are mustard greens a Superfood?

A. Mustard greens can be considered one of the superfoods due to their nutritional properties. They are abundant in various essential minerals and vitamins. As a result, they offer various health benefits, including strengthening the teeth and bones, reducing cell inflammation and damage, and boosting your immune system. It also promotes collagen production and blood circulation, resulting in healthier skin.

Q. Are mustard greens safe to eat raw?

A. You can consume mustard greens cooked or raw, but how you cook them may change the nutritional value of the vegetable. The amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, and copper in cooked mustard greens is higher, but the vitamin C and E content are lower. Mix mustard greens into a chopped salad to get these leafy greens into your diet.

Q. Are mustard greens anti-inflammatory?

A. The abundance of vitamin A in mustard greens makes them anti-inflammatory. Vitamin A is considered the anti-inflammation vitamin. In addition, vitamin C also have anti-inflammatory effects, and the abundance of these vitamins can lead to the anti-inflammatory effects of mustard greens. 

Q. Are mustard greens good for weight loss?

A. Mustard greens beans are a good source of fat loss. The greens are fibre-rich, so they keep the stomach full for longer. As a result, it helps reduce excessive eating and calorie consumption. So, if you eat them in moderation, mustard greens can help you manage weight.

Q. Are mustard greens alkaline?

A. Raw mustard greens have a pH of 9.5, making them alkaline. Alkaline foods include raw leafy greens. These are essential for maintaining body pH balance. Experts advise that eating a well-balanced meal with a healthy mix of all food groups, rather than restricting oneself to specific foods, is the best way to improve overall health.

Q. Is mustard leaves good for high blood pressure?

A. It is one of the most commonly consumed green leafy vegetables by those with high blood pressure. Mustard greens have an extremely low sodium content. Therefore, when consumed as part of a low-sodium diet, mustard greens may help lower blood pressure.

Q. Are mustard greens the same as mustard?

A. Mustard greens are not the same as mustard. It is gained from grounded mustard seeds, whereas mustard greens are the leaves of the mustard plant. Mustard greens have a spicy, sharp or peppery taste, whereas mustard has a strong, pungent, tart-and tangy taste. 

Q. Can you eat the root of mustard greens?

A. Mustard root can be used in various recipes for root vegetables. Roasted, steamed, stir-fried, and sautéed tubers are all options. Mustard root should be sliced and used in soups or stews. Serve with roasted chicken or braised meats.

Q. Is mustard green good for kidneys?

A. Mustard green is a leafy vegetable that is good for the kidneys. Mustard greens also contain a lot of B vitamins. They also include iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which help keep the kidneys functioning properly.

Q. Can you eat mustard green stalks?

A. You can consume mustard leaves and stems. However, during summer, the stem becomes more arduous and more pungent-tasting. Mustard leaves and stalks can be pickled when they are fresh and delicate.

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