Mustard greens offer a slew of wonderful health benefits. Of course, you may be familiar with mustard seeds due to their strong flavor. But, on the other hand, these leafy green vegetables are good for your health.
Mustard greens are high in nutrients and low in calories. As a result, they can help boost the immune system, maintain eyesight, enhance bone density, improve heart health, and potentially fight cancer. We will look at the health advantages of mustard greens in this article, their nutrient profile, types, recipes, and probable negative effects. Keep reading to know more!
In This Article
Mustard Greens Nutrition Facts
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup (56 g) of chopped mustard greens contains (1):
- Calories: 15.1 kcal
- Protein: 1.6 g
- Fat: 0.235 g
- Carbohydrate: 2.62 g
- Fiber: 1.79 g
- Calcium: 64.4 mg
- Iron: 0.918 mg
- Potassium: 215 mg
- Sodium: 11.2 mg
- Vitamin C: 39.2 mg
- Vitamin A: 84.6 µg
- Vitamin K: 144 µg
Mustard greens also contain vitamin E, folate, copper, zinc, and selenium in small amounts.
The rich nutrient profile of mustard greens has many health benefits. So, what are the health benefits of mustard greens? Scroll down to know more.
6 Potential Health Benefits Of Eating Mustard Greens
1. Promotes Bone Health
Mustard greens are rich in vitamin K and calcium, which are essential for bone health (1). Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures (2). And, reduced intake of vitamin K diet is associated with hip fractures and low bone mineral density (BMD). According to a study, high doses of vitamin K supplementation reduce the incidence of fractures in postmenopausal women (3). Also, a dietary intake of one calcium-rich cup of cooked mustard greens is recommended to maintain healthy bones (4). However, more research is needed to understand the benefit of mustard greens.
2. Supports The Immune System
A study conducted by the Agricultural University of Cracow (Poland) found that frequent consumption of vegetables from the Brassica family helps stimulate the immune system, prevents oxidative stress, and induces detoxification enzymes (5). Moreover, the presence of vitamin C in mustard greens supports the immune system. Research also suggests that vitamin C supports many cell functions, acts against pathogens, and helps prevent respiratory infections (6).
Also, mustard greens are rich in vitamin A, which plays a key role in enhancing immune function. T-cells are major components in the immune system and can kill pathogens. A study published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition suggests that vitamin A can regulate T-cell function and prevent inflammatory reactions (7), (8).
3. Improves Heart Health
Did you know that leafy green vegetables lower your cholesterol? The bile acid-binding potential of mustard greens decreases bad cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases (9). But, what is the role of bile acid-binding in lowering cholesterol? Bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol in the liver. So, if you eat foods high in cholesterol, you may lose the ability to convert the cholesterol in your body into bile acids. On the other hand, leafy vegetables produce more bile acids (and the liver converts more cholesterol), which lowers the level of cholesterol in your body (10).
According to a study, steam-cooked mustard greens improve bile acid-binding more than raw vegetables. Also, consumption of green leafy vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 15.8%. Additionally, the polyphenol extracts of Brassica vegetables show a significant reduction in cholesterol levels (9), (10), (11).
4. Good For Eye Health
Mustard greens contain vitamin A, which is essential for vision health. Dark leafy green vegetables also contain carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin that help to form macular pigment in the eyes. These dietary carotenoids also prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and retinal detachment. Lutein is a xanthophyll with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that helps in the prevention of AMD (12), (13).
Mustard leaves are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is beneficial for eye health (14). However, more research is required to understand the benefit of mustard greens in humans.
5. Fights Cancer
The presence of phytochemicals like phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and glucosinolates in mustard greens offers protection from many chronic diseases such as cancer. A study conducted by West Virginia University found that mustard greens contain phytonutrients and glucosinolates with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties (14), (15).
Another study conducted by the Chungbuk National University found that mustard leaf extract showed potential against colon and lung cancers (16). Also, consumption of cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of ovarian and stomach cancers (17), (18).
6. Supports Liver Function
A study conducted on Wistar albino rats found that a crude methanol extract of mustard leaf greens has hepato- and nephroprotective activities that help support liver function (19). However, limited research is available on this benefit of mustard greens.
Mustard greens are available in many varieties based on their color, texture, and flavor. What are some popular types of mustard greens? Check them out in the following section.
Types Of Mustard Greens
There are many types of mustard greens beyond the common curly-leafed variety. Some species of mustard greens include:
- Green Wave
- Ethiopian Mustard
- Red Tatsoi
- Southern Giant Curled Mustard
- Tokyo Bekana
- Red Giant
- Florida Broadleaf
- Chinese Green Mustard
- Osaka Purple-Leaved
These are some popular types of mustard greens that are grown worldwide. But, how do you incorporate mustard greens into your diet? Scroll down to learn some easy recipes for mustard greens.
Easy Mustard Green Recipes
1. Mustard Greens Salad
What You Need
- Mustard greens – 1 bunch
- Lemon juice – 3-4 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
- Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
- Minced garlic cloves – 2
- Salt – To taste
- Place the mustard greens in a bowl and quickly massage the leaves.
- In a jar fitted with a lid, whisk or shake together the lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic.
- Pour the dressing all over the mustard greens.
- Toss the mustard greens to coat them with the dressing.
- Season to taste with salt.
2. Mustard Green Soup
What You Need
- Mustard greens – 2 bunches
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Minced garlic – 3 cloves, chopped
- Onion – 1, chopped
- Grated parmesan cheese – 2 tablespoons
- Fennel bulb -1
- White beans – 15 ounce
- Chicken stock – 4 cups
- Kosher salt – to taste
- In a large pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and fennel and cook for about 7–8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and mustard greens and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 5 minutes until the greens have wilted.
- Add the white beans and stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer gently until it thickens slightly. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Add the grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
3. Mustard Greens Juice
What You Need
- Mustard greens – 2 leaves
- Black plum – 1
- Cucumbers – 2
- Celery – 2 stalks
- Apple – 1
- Lemon – 1, peeled
- Ginger root – 1-inch piece
- Lime – ½, peeled
- Wash all the vegetables thoroughly.
- Chop the apple, cucumbers, and plum.
- Blend all the ingredients in a juicer.
- Serve the juice cold with ice.
This is how you include mustard greens in your diet. You can also make pickled mustard greens. Check out the next section for the recipe.
How To Make Pickled Mustard Greens
Pickled mustard greens are a popular dish in Chinese cuisine. Here is the recipe for pickled mustard greens.
What You Need
- Mustard greens – 1 kg
- Salt – 2.5 tablespoons
- Boiled water – As needed
- Airtight glass jar – 1
- Sichuan peppercorn seeds – 1 teaspoon (optional)
- Cut the mustard greens into large chunks and rinse them under running water.
- Lay the washed mustard greens on a clean gridiron and make sure that there is no water on the leaves.
- Transfer the withered mustard greens to a large bowl.
- Rub the leaves with salt until they are withered and begin to lose water.
- Transfer the mustard green leaves to the glass jar.
- Add the Sichuan peppercorn seeds and remaining salt to the jar.
- Pour water into the jar to soak the leaves.
- Use a weight to make sure the mustard greens are soaked in water.
- Cover the jar completely, store it in a shaded place, and wait for 7 to 15 days until the water turns bright yellowish-green.
When buying and storing mustard greens, you should remember some important points. Scroll down to learn more about them.
How To Select And Store Mustard Greens
Always look for fresh mustard greens with dark green and crispy leaves. Avoid yellow-colored leaves and leaves with spots and holes. Wrap them in a paper towel to remove moisture and store them in a plastic zip-top cover in the refrigerator.
There are many alternatives for mustard greens. Scroll down to learn about the mustard green substitutes.
Mustard Green Substitutes
The best mustard green substitutes are:
- Swiss chard
- English spinach
- Chinese broccoli
- Collard greens
Mustard greens are safe for most people. But, are there any recorded adverse effects of mustard greens? Scroll down to know more.
Possible Adverse Effects Of Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are generally considered safe for most people. But, they may cause adverse effects in some people. Mustard greens are rich in vitamin K, and a high intake of vitamin K may interact with blood-thinning medication (20), (21). Also, the presence of oxalates in mustard greens may increase the risk of kidney stones in people who consume them in excess (22). However, limited research is available on the side effects of mustard greens.
- Mustard greens are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients and offer a range of health benefits.
- They help boost your immunity and improve your eye and bone health.
- There are many ways to incorporate mustard greens in your diet, including salad, soup, juice, and pickle.
Mustard greens are a powerhouse ingredient low in calories and loaded with important nutrients. The benefits of eating mustard greens may include improving bone health, boosting your immune system, and reducing the risk of developing cancer. While mustard greens are safe for consumption, their high vitamin K content may increase the risk of kidney stones. If you are unsure, consult your doctor before consumption. You can easily incorporate mustard greens into your diet in the form of a mustard green juice, salad, or a delicious soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do mustard greens taste like?
Mustard greens have an earthy, bitter, spicy, and pungent flavor.
Do mustard greens give you gas?
Mustard greens are rich in fiber. Over consumption of mustard greens may result in gas and bloating.
How do you get the bitterness out of mustard greens?
You can add a teaspoon of lemon or salt to get the bitterness out.
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- The health benefits of vitamin K
- Vitamin K and bone
- Healthy bones – Activity and nutrition
- The beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables on human health
- Vitamin C and Immune Function
- Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System
- Vitamin A and retinoic acid in T cell–related immunity
- Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens kale mustard greens broccoli green bell pepper and cabbage
- The effect of green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake on the incidence of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis
- Effect of polyphenols extracts from Brassica vegetables on erythrocyte membranes (in vitro study)
- The Pharmacological Effects of Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Visual Disorders and Cognition Diseases
- The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health
- Health-Promoting Phytochemicals from 11 Mustard Cultivars at Baby Leaf and Mature Stages
- Anti-Carcinogenic Glucosinolates in Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Antagonistic Effects on Prevention of Cancers
- Anti-cancer activities of Brassica juncea leaves in vitro
- Usual Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Ovarian Cancer: A Case-Control Study
- Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Stomach Cancer: A Case-Control Study
- Brassica nigra plays a remedy role in hepatic and renal damage
- Vitamin K
- Association Between Usual Vitamin K Intake and Anticoagulation in Patients Under Warfarin Therapy
- Dietary oxalate and kidney stone formation