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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Humble herb or powerful super food?

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Mustard seeds may not look like anything special but they are actually loaded with nutrients and can be exceptionally beneficial for the human body. Mustard seeds are important for a variety of reasons and it's used all across the globe for a variety of purposes - many of which are related directly to health and wellness. But, how often do you read about mustard seed in the headlines? Never.

The mustard seed is largely overlooked and underappreciated. It seems that, because there is not an ongoing conversation about mustard seed, it has become a "humble herb." However, it has much of which to be proud. Let's first take a look at how the mustard seed benefits the body, its nutritional value, the various types of mustard, and its role as it pertains to nutrition.

Ways the mustard seed benefits the body: Mustard seeds offer many health benefits. Here are three of the most significant -

*    Phytonutrients: Mustard seeds are rich in phytonutrients, which are bioactive food components that support various physiological functions. They enhance the immune system and have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-aging, neuroprotective, and antioxidant properties.

*    Myrosinase: The Myrosinase enzyme, which is found in mustard seeds, is the only enzyme that can break down glucosinolates into absorbable nutrients.

*    Alpha-linolenic acid: Mustard seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps support normal cardiovascular health. ALA is a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that has been tested as a possible measure for lowering triglycerides, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and inhibiting clotting.

Nutritional value of the mustard seed: Mustard seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Mustard seeds are an abundant source of vitamins as well: Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B12, and more. Mustard plants also accumulate selenium, which is an important nutrient in its own right. In fact, the human body cannot function properly without enough selenium. As a nutrient, selenium enhances the body's own natural capabilities.

Quick history of the mustard seed: Mustard seeds are found all across the world and their benefits have been known for thousands of years. The earliest recorded mention of the mustard seed took place in India in the 5th century BC. It's found in a story of Gautama Buddha. The story tells of a grieving mother sent on a quest to collect mustard seeds. It's a parable about loss and acceptance, intended to comfort those who lost a loved one. Mustard seeds are mentioned in Jewish and Christian religious texts dating back two thousand years.

The use of the mustard seed in such contexts demonstrates just how significant the herb has been in daily life, as each of these examples used the seed as a familiar object that was easily relatable to the general public. Mustard seeds are still in use today. Even though we usually don't think of the seeds themselves, we consume mustard as a condiment. Mustard remains one of the most popular condiments in the United States, with more than twelve ounces of mustard consumed annually by every American.

Is mustard healthy?

Because of additional ingredients, certain types of mustard are healthier than others. For example, basic mustard made from organic seeds, distilled water, and organic apple cider vinegar has far more nutritional value than mustard loaded with artificial sweeteners or alcohol. In general, mustard is a low-calorie food, but that doesn't automatically make it healthy. Artificial ingredients may not increase the calorie count but they can be unhealthy in other ways. It is important to focus on nutrition instead of counting calories. There is more to health than surface-level numbers. Quality nutrition is a key pillar of health and wellness, not body weight or calorie count.  (excerpt)


The writer is a professional researcher and nutritionist.  The write-up has appeared o n www.globalhealingcenter.com

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