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Mustard Health Benefits

July 11, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

One of my favorite condiments is organic Dijon mustard. I slather it on most of my sandwiches – peanut butter and jelly not withstanding. As with most of my other culinary and dietary choices, my decision to use this ingredient is based on the fact that I enjoy the flavor, while hopeful that it will impart certain benefits. If you’ve never thought of mustard as a health promoting ingredient, then please read on.

First things first. The ingredients in your mustard matter. The product I use, which shall remain nameless, is pretty pure and straightforward. It only contains four familiar components: organic mustard seeds, organic vinegar, water and sea salt. And, best of all, you can taste every single ingredient. This mustard has some serious kick to it!

There haven’t been many clinical, human studies published about mustard. In fact, most of the clinical data about mustard has looked into its potential to protect against various malignancies in animals. A little known fact about mustard is that it’s a member of the Brassica family. Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale are more familiar members of this very same family of plants. Brassicas, including mustard, contain a class of phytochemicals known as glucosinolates and enzymes which convert these chemoprotective substances into even more powerful phytochemicals (isothiocyanates). In rat models of disease, mustard seeds have been shown to discourage the growth of colon, stomach and uterine cancer. Preliminary studies also reveal that dietary mustard improves insulin sensitivity, oxidative stress and unhealthy lipid profiles. These findings suggest, but do not prove, that mustard may be beneficial with regard to some of the most prevalent diseases of today such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Two recent human trials have, likewise, spurred new interest in the use of mustard as a bona fide health food. The first, presented in the December 2011 issue of the journal Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, reports that mustard consumption protects against DNA damage – an integral stage in cancer development. While a just published study goes on to explain that including 21 grams of mustard in a meal increases the amount of calories burned, a process referred to as diet-induced thermogenesis. All of this is not to say that mustard ought to used as an excuse to overindulge in nitrate-laden hot dogs stuffed in refined buns and drenched in ketchup containing high fructose syrup. But, given a more reasonable context, such as a mustard vinaigrette, this is one condiment that seems like a terrific option indeed.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Dietary Mustard Seeds (Sinapis alba Linn) Suppress (link)

Study 2 – Mustard seeds (Sinapis Alba Linn) Attenuate Azoxymethane(link)

Study 3 – Novel Mucilage Fraction of Sinapis Alba L. (Mustard) Reduces (link)

Study 4 – Chemopreventive Effects of Mustard (Brassica Compestris) on (link)

Study 5 – Brassica Juncea (Rai) Significantly Prevented the Development of(link)

Study 6 – Effect of Feeding Murraya Koeingii and Brassica Juncea Diet (link)

Study 7 – Anti-Oxidant Effects of Curry Leaf, Murraya Koenigii and Mustard (link)

Study 8 – Biochemical Response in Rats to the Addition of Curry Leaf (Murraya (link)

Study 9 – Isothiocyanate-Containing Mustard Protects Human Cells Against (link)

Study 10 – Acute Effects of Mustard, Horseradish, Black Pepper and Ginger on (link)

Brassica Vegetables May Protect Against DNA Damage

Source: Mutagenesis. 2010 Nov;25(6):595-602. (link)

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition

7 Comments & Updates to “Mustard Health Benefits”

  1. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    Yellow mustard (with turmeric) ain’t no slouch.

  2. JP Says:

    Agreed, Iggy. IMO, adding turmeric to almost anything is a pretty good idea. One of the latest studies to back that up:


    Be well!


  3. rob Says:

    I recently purchased Simply Natural, an organic mustard, that has the same ingredients as JPs except its got tumeric and paprika added to it. It tastes great.

  4. JP Says:

    Hi Rob,

    Even better! The addition of the two should only enhance the mustard’s health promoting potential. Enjoy!

    Be well!


  5. rob Says:

    Oh, dont you worry I do enjoy it. Ive been putting it on almost anything to which some are finding disturbing, ha.

  6. JP Says:

    Let me know if you need a link to Mustardholics Anonymous! 😉

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Update 06/01/15:


    J Food Sci. 2014 Sep;79(9):S1756-62.

    Consumer acceptability and sensory profile of cooked broccoli with mustard seeds added to improve chemoprotective properties.

    Broccoli, a rich source of glucosinolates, is a commonly consumed vegetable of the Brassica family. Hydrolysis products of glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, have been associated with health benefits and contribute to the flavor of Brassica. However, boiling broccoli causes the myrosinase enzyme needed for hydrolysis to denature. In order to ensure hydrolysis, broccoli must either be mildly cooked or active sources of myrosinase, such as mustard seed powder, can be added postcooking. In this study, samples of broccoli were prepared in 6 different ways; standard boiling, standard boiling followed by the addition of mustard seeds, sous vide cooking at low temperature (70 °C) and sous vide cooking at higher temperature (100 °C) and sous vide cooking at higher temperature followed by the addition of mustard seeds at 2 different concentrations. The majority of consumers disliked the mildly cooked broccoli samples (70 °C, 12 min, sous vide) which had a hard and stringy texture. The highest mean consumer liking was for standard boiled samples (100 °C, 7 min). Addition of 1% mustard seed powder developed sensory attributes, such as pungency, burning sensation, mustard odor, and flavor. One cluster of consumers (32%) found mustard seeds to be a good complement to cooked broccoli; however, the majority disliked the mustard-derived sensory attributes. Where the mustard seeds were partially processed, doubling the addition to 2% led to only the same level of mustard and pungent flavors as 1% unprocessed seeds, and mean consumer liking remained unaltered. This suggests that optimization of the addition level of partially processed mustard seeds may be a route to enhance bioactivity of cooked broccoli without compromising consumer acceptability.

    Be well!


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