Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Mustard seeds are the fruit pods of the mustard plant, a cruciferous vegetable in the Brassica family. The plants were once grown largely in Europe and West Asia, but their flavor and medicinal uses have made them a more widely cultivated plant; at present, there are over 21 countries that rely on mustard as a commercial crop. The seeds are an important spice in Asian and African cuisine, and usually come from three varieties of mustard: white mustard (Sinapis alba or Brassica alba), black mustard (Brassica nigra), and brown mustard (Brassica juncea).
As one of the chief oil seeds, mustard seeds are very high in calories: a 100 g serving of mustard seeds can provide 508 calories. However, mustard seeds are also full of quality nutrients that include cholesterol-lowering plant sterols like brassicasterol, sitosterol, and stigmasterol. Other nutrients in mustard seeds are:
The nutrients in mustard seeds capable of preventing, lowering the risks or mitigating the effects of:
As a spice with a rich medicinal history, mustard seeds have been used to strengthen the following body systems and organs:
Mustard seeds have been used the world over as a flavoring agent and culinary preservative. Indian, Pakistani, Mediterranean, and German cuisine all extensively use mustard seeds in their whole, ground, and powdered forms. In North America, the yellow mustard condiment is the most common and most popular way to consume mustard seeds. As a versatile spice, mustard seeds can be used in a variety of ways: Mustard seeds can be turned into a vinaigrette for side salads and main course salads; mustard seeds can be mixed in with other ingredients to make a dipping sauce; mustard seeds can even be mixed in with rice and served with vegetables or curry.
Note: Whole mustard seeds have no smell or flavor, however, and they need to be crushed in order to release the pungent scents and tastes contained inside the pods.
Mustard seeds can be used to speed up the calorie-burning process by increasing resting and active metabolic rates. A spoonful of mustard seeds can boost metabolism for several hours.
Mustard seeds contain a fair amount of sulfur, a mineral element with better-than-average anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Mustard seeds can even be used to cure the lesions caused by ringworm, as well as offer therapeutic relief from contact dermatitis.
Mustard seeds are prized in traditional Indian medicine and in homes as decongestants and expectorants.
The seeds are excellent in clearing mucus buildup, soothing sore throats, and releasing congestion.
They have been used to treat colds, sinus problems, asthma, and chronic bronchitis.
Though generally considered safe to consume in small amounts, ingesting a large amount of mustard seeds can cause digestive problems such as gastric irritation and intestinal mucosa.
If a topical treatment made from mustard seeds is left on the skin for a prolonged period of time, skin burning or irritation may occur.
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