Mustard greens are relished by people all across the world, and are actually the leaves of the mustard plant. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, protein, etc. Let’s learn more about them.
Mustard greens are leaves of the mustard plant (Brassica juncea), and are also referred to as the Indian mustard or leaf mustard. They are widely used in Asian and African cuisine, due to the lovely peppery, pungent flavor they impart to dishes. These greens feature either a crumpled or flat surface, with edges that may be toothed, lacey, scalloped, or frilled. Its nutritional value is what makes it such a treasured vegetable and a popular ingredient in various sauces and condiments.
Mustard greens are spicy, little plants that belong to the same family Collards and Broccoli belong to. Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of 1 cup of chopped mustard greens (56 grams).
|Total Fat||0.1 g|
|Dietary Fiber||1.8 g|
|Vitamin A||5881 IU|
Health Benefits of Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are loaded with nutrients. They provide a rich combination of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and protein. Let’s take a look at the benefits of consuming this leafy vegetable.
Free Radical Scavenging Power
Mustard greens are rich in vitamin E, C, and A. These three nutrients team up to destroy free radicals, that otherwise cause damage to the cell membranes. Vitamin E and beta-carotene fight harmful free radicals in the lipid soluble regions of the body, while vitamin C balances it out in the water soluble regions of the body. Together they offer great benefits to people suffering from asthma, heart diseases, menopausal symptoms, etc.
Promotes Lung Health
Vitamin A is believed to protect cigarette smokers from developing emphysema. According to certain studies, the carcinogen present in cigarettes causes a vitamin A deficiency, which in turn leads to emphysema. This whole cycle can be eliminated by consuming a diet rich in vitamin A, thus, mustard greens are beneficial in maintaining lung health.
Slow Loss of Mental Function
As we age, our mental performance normally declines. However, some studies reveal that consuming 3 servings of green leafy vegetables every day can help slow down the loss of mental function by 40%.
Phytonutrient Power for Optimal Health
Mustard greens contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which react with enzyme myrosinase in plants to form active compounds like indoles and isothiocyanates. These compounds inhibit certain enzymes that normally activate carcinogens. Thus, they help reduce the risk of cancer.
Helps Asthma Patients
Free radicals are responsible for causing smooth muscle contractions and airway constriction in asthma patients. However, adequate amounts of vitamin C helps neutralize their effect. Additionally, vitamin C assists in the breakdown of an inflammatory chemical called histamine, which is overproduced in people suffering from asthma. Moreover, the magnesium present in this vegetable also helps relax the bronchial tubes and lungs.
Mustard greens are abundantly found in markets from December to March. They are also available in the canned and frozen form throughout the year. While choosing the fresh variety, look for those with crisp young leaves and a rich green color. Mustard greens with flabby, yellow or pitted leaves, should not be purchased. Enjoy your greens steamed or sautéed, and avail the numerous health benefits this vegetable has to offer.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.