6 Reasons to eat mustard greens, a peppery-tasting superfood
04/20/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
6 Reasons to eat mustard greens, a peppery-tasting superfood

Mustard greens are nutritious leafy greens with a peppery kick and they come from the mustard plant (Brassica juncea).

Mustard greens are also called brown mustard, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard and vegetable mustard. They belong to the Brassica genus of vegetables, which also includes other leafy greens like cauliflower and kale.

To make bitter mustard greens more palatable, you can serve them boiled or stir-fried. Detailed below are six incredible health benefits of mustard greens.

Mustard greens: A fiber-rich leafy green full of vitamin C

Mustard greens are low in calories but rich in fiber and micronutrients.

A one-cup (56-gram) serving of chopped raw mustard greens has 15 calories, two grams of protein and less than a gram of fat. The same serving also has only three grams of carbs, two grams of dietary fiber and a gram of sugar.

Additionally, one cup of raw mustard greens contains the following micronutrients:

  • Vitamin K – 120 percent of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin C – 44 percent of the DV
  • Copper – 10 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin A – 9 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin E – 8 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – 6 percent of the DV

Mustard greens contain four to five percent of the DV for calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and thiamine (vitamin B1). The leafy greens also contain trace amounts of folate, niacin (vitamin B3), phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Pickled mustard greens, called takana in Japanese and Chinese cuisines, are similar in calories, carbs and fiber as raw mustard greens. However, pickled mustard greens lose some nutrients during pickling, especially vitamin C.

But according to a study, pickling is an effective method for retaining the antioxidant compounds in mustard greens.

Benefits of mustard greens

There’s limited research on the specific benefits of eating mustard greens, but the individual nutrients found in mustard greens and other Brassica vegetables are linked to these incredible health benefits.

They contain disease-fighting antioxidants

Antioxidants are naturally occurring plant compounds that can help protect you from oxidative stress caused by an excess of free radicals. These unstable molecules can cause cell damage.

According to studies, free radical damage is linked to serious, chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and cancer.

While levels of specific antioxidants vary between the different varieties of mustard greens, in general, they are full of beneficial antioxidants such as beta carotene, flavonoids, lutein and vitamins C and E.

Following a balanced diet and eating lots of mustard greens may help protect against diseases linked to oxidative stress.

They’re rich in vitamin K

Both raw and cooked mustard greens are full of vitamin K, providing 120 percent and 690 percent of the DV per one cup (56 grams and 140 grams), respectively.

Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and plays a role in both heart and bone health

Making sure you get enough vitamin K can help lower your risk of developing health issues like heart disease and osteoporosis, a condition that results in weaker bone strength and an increased risk of fractures.

They help boost eye health

Mustard greens contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that are good for your eye health. According to studies, these two compounds help protect your retina from oxidative damage and filter out potentially harmful blue light.

Consuming mustard greens and other superfoods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may help protect against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

They help boost heart health

Mustard greens are good for your heart because they are full of antioxidant flavonoids and beta carotene that are linked to a lower risk of developing or dying from heart disease.

According to a review of eight studies, consuming Brassica vegetables can help reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 15 percent.

Like other Brassica vegetables, mustard greens contain compounds that help bind bile acids in your digestive system. This is important since preventing the reabsorption of bile acids can help lower your cholesterol levels.

Results of a test-tube study reveal that steaming mustard greens helps boost their bile acid-binding effect. This suggests that steamed mustard greens have greater cholesterol-lowering potential than raw mustard greens.

They help boost immune health

A one-cup serving of mustard greens contains over a third of your daily vitamin C needs.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that boosts your immune system. According to studies, not getting enough vitamin C in your diet can weaken your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to getting sick.

Mustard greens are also a great source of vitamin A that helps support your immune response by promoting the growth and distribution of T cells. These white blood cells help fight off infections.

They may have anti-cancer effects

Mustard greens may have anti-cancer effects since they are full of glucosinolates, a group of beneficial plant compounds. In test-tube studies, glucosinolates have been shown to help protect cells against DNA damage and prevent the growth of cancerous cells.

According to observational studies in humans, there is a link between the overall intake of Brassica vegetables and a reduced risk of certain types of cancers, such as colorectal, stomach and ovarian cancers.

Considerations before eating mustard greens

While mustard greens are generally safe to eat, they may cause adverse reactions in some people.

Mustard greens are full of vitamin K, a vitamin that helps with blood clotting. Consuming lots of mustard greens may interfere with blood-thinning medications. If you are taking blood thinners like warfarin, check with your physician before incorporating large amounts of these leafy greens into your diet.

Mustard greens also contain oxalates, which may increase the risk of kidney stones in some individuals, especially if consumed in large amounts. If you’re prone to oxalate-type kidney stones, limit your consumption of mustard greens.

Tips for cooking and eating mustard greens

Here are several ways to enjoy nutritious mustard greens:

  • Add them to green juices and smoothies.
  • Add raw mustard greens to other mixed greens to give salads a peppery, spicy flavor boost.
  • When cooking mustard greens, balance out their sharp flavor with a source of fat like butter or olive oil and an acidic liquid like lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Serve cooked mustard greens with baked fish or roasted chicken.
  • Use mustard greens for casseroles, soups and stews.
  • Make DIY pickled mustard greens using a mixture of sugar, salt, vinegar, chilis and garlic.
  • Serve steamed mustard greens with barbecued meats.
  • Make a healthy homemade mac and cheese by adding mustard greens.
  • Add the greens to pasta or quiches.
  • Blanche and puree mustard greens with cream and other leafy greens to make a greens soup.
  • Try making Sarson ka Saag, a creamy North Indian spiced dish.
  • Use mustard greens as an alternative to kale or other dark, leafy greens in many recipes.
  • Cook mustard greens low and slow with bacon, ham hocks or turkey to make a tasty, savory Southern side dish.

Before you cook with mustard greens, keep them refrigerated and wash thoroughly before meal prep.

Boost your intake of essential nutrients like vitamin C and K by eating mustard greens, a peppery, nutritious vegetable.





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