Mustard & Condiments
Most Indian households use mustard seeds or its oil for various purposes. You could use mustard sauce to spice up various foods, while the oil could be used for a number of purposes including cooking. The powdered form of the seed can be used for either garnishing a dish or as an integral part of a dip. The whole seed is commonly used as tadka.
Apart from just adding flavour to your food, the seeds have always been known for their medicinal properties. Here are some of the better known ones:
Can help control symptoms of asthma: Mustard seeds are high in selenium and magnesium. Both the components give it a unique anti inflammatory property. Consumed regularly, it is known to control and keep the symptoms of asthma, cold and chest congestion at bay.
Can help you lose weight: The wonder seeds are packed with B-complex vitamins like folates, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin etc. Apart from all the individual merits of these components, they are great in speeding up one’s metabolism leading to weight loss.
Can slow ageing: Mustard is a great source of carotenes, zeaxanthins and lutein (also called flavonoid and caretonoid antioxidants) vitamin A,C and K. All these components put together make it rich in antioxidants which in turn slows the ageing process
Protects you from gastrointestinal cancer: Packed with phytonutrients, mustard seeds are a great way to prevent and slow the progress of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown that mustard seeds have properties that can restrict the growth of already present cancer cells and prevent the formation of new cancers.
Relieves rheumatoid, arthritic and muscle pain: The selenium and magnesium content of mustard lend it anti inflammatory and heat producing properties. When applied to the body, the paste heats up the area and helps loosen muscles, leading to relief from pain.
Health.india.com tip: To ease pain make a small bundle of the seeds in a muslin cloth, and add it to warm bath water. Either have a long relaxing bath, or soak your tired and aching feet for instant relief. Another great way is to apply the paste of the seed on the area for a few minutes.
Lowers cholesterol: Mustard contains high levels of niacin or vitamin B3. Niacin has properties that help lower one’s cholesterol levels and protects the arteries fromatherosclerosis (plaque build-up). It also helps to regulate blood flow and protects the body from hypertension.
Stimulates hair growth: For centuries mustard oil has been known to stimulate hair growth. It is known to be packed with vitamins and minerals, but what makes the difference is the high amount of beta carotene it contains. During oil production, beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A, which is excellent for hair growth. Apart from this, it also contains iron, fatty acids, calcium and magnesium, all of which promote hair growth.
Health.india.com tip: Using mustard oil once a week for a warm oil massage is a great way to relieve stress, symptoms of dandruff and promote hair growth. After you apply the oil, wrap your hair in a thin plastic bag or a warm towel to increase absorption of the oil into the scalp. Leave it for about half an hour to forty five minutes and then wash off. The oil has a strong odour and is thick in consistency, so make sure you use a good shampoo.
Helps reduce constipation and may relieve symptoms of piles and fissures: The seeds contain a unique substance called mucilage which is a thick slimy substance that is the key to relieving constipation. Apart from that, it is also high in fibre. In addition, mustard seeds are known to increase the production of saliva, leading to better digestion.
Health.india.com tip: Have one teaspoon of mustard seeds two to three times a day to relieve constipation.
Fights skin infections: Packed with sulphur, mustard seeds are a great way to curb skin infections. Sulphur gives the seed anti fungal and anti bacterial properties that help fight common skin ailments.
Improves immunity: Because mustard has a large number of elemental minerals like iron, manganese, copper etc., it helps improve the body’s ability to fight disease.
Lastly, always remember to use mustard seeds in moderation. Even though it has great healing properties, it can also be toxic in large quantities. Make sure you ask your physician before you self medicate.