Mention the word mustard and most people think of burgers and barbeques. However mustard seeds themselves have an incredible amount of health benefits.
Mustard seeds come from the mustard plant, which is actually a cruciferous vegetable. More commonly known foods classed as brassicas in the cruciferous family include broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage.
Mustard seeds are low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. They are a rich source of dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, and selenium. There are many varieties but mustard seeds are generally sold either whole or as a ground powder.
EFFECTS ON CANCER
Just like other brassicas, mustard seeds are a rich source of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. Additional enzymes within the seeds break up these glucosinolates into other phytonutrients called isothiocyanates.
These isothiocyanates have been shown in studies to inhibit growth of existing cancer cells in addition to protecting these cells from forming (i).
Research published in Carcinogenesis in 2010 showed that mustard seed powder, which is rich in a specific group of isothiocyanates called allyl isothiocyanates (AITC), significantly inhibited the growth of bladder cancer (ii). The strength of these results could suggest that we all benefit from adding mustard seed powder to our diets on a regular basis to reduce the risk of, or even develop, cancer.
EFFECTS ON THYROID FUNCTION
Selenium is found in high levels in mustard seeds. Just one tablespoon provides 21% of our recommended daily intake. This mineral is a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, lower blood pressure, reduce migraine attacks and to help prevent cancer.
Selenium is also responsible for boosting an uder-performing thyroid hormone T4, into the more active T3. Alongside iodine, selenium is essential to maintain a healthy thyroid function. Researchers have been able to induce problems with the thyroid gland in just two months of eating a diet low in selenium. Well functioning thyroid glands are essential for regulating many body functions. The thyroid gland constantly releases a certain amount of hormones into the blood. More hormones are produced when the body needs more energy in certain situations like growth, coldness or during pregnancy (iii).
Curcumin, the active pharmacological agent in turmeric, ginger and other yellowish herbs and spices, is also present in mustard seeds. Curcumin are powerful antioxidants with proven benefits at fighting cancer.
In addition curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory compound. Research published in the Alternative Medicine Review showed that curcumin was effective at reducing pain in inflammatory illnesses including rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (iv).
Mustard seeds and the powder are very versatile and can be added to many dishes, stews, curries, marinades, vinaigrettes, smoothies or simple dipping sauces.
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Source: Natural Cures Not Medicine
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