By guest author Evan Driscoll of VegOnline.org
What Are mustard greens?
Mustard greens are one of the most overlooked, yet delicious, vegetables in the produce section. With beautifully varied colors, succulent stems, and culinary versatility, they make a great addition to the kitchen. They also happen to be extremely nutritious, packing huge amounts of vitamins and minerals into relatively few calories.
Eating mustards regularly will diversify your nutrient intake, give you more energy, and add a unique splash of color to almost any dish you cook.
Mustard Green Nutrition and Health
One cup of mustard greens yields over 500% the daily value of vitamin K, 85% of your daily vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C, and high levels of folates, manganese, dietary fiber, calcium, and a bit of protein to boot. That’s a whole lot of nutrition for just 20 calories worth of food!
The high vitamin K content of mustard greens has strong anti-inflammatory properties that improve cardiovascular health. Excessive inflammation in the cardiovascular system has been directly linked to heart disease, so the high vitamin K content makes mustard greens a heart-healthy food. Also, the dietary fiber in mustards has been shown to reduce overall cholesterol levels in those with preexisting high cholesterol, compounding its heart-healthy qualities.
Mustard greens also have extremely high levels of anti-oxidants. Vitamins A, C, E, as well as the mineral manganese, all function as anti-oxidants in the body. Anti-oxidants are proven cancer fighters, keeping free radicals and oxidized cells from damaging neighboring cells. If free radicals go unchecked for long spans of time, they can cause destructive chain reactions between molecules, eventually stressing out cells, which can lead to mutations when they replicate themselves.
This is the birthing ground of cancer, and mustard green’s high anti-oxidant properties can help prevent many types of cancer from forming.
Mustard greens also have a plethora of phytonutrients to offer. Phytonutrient is a fancy name for a plant-produced nutrient that is not currently recognized as an essential nutrient (like vitamin A, dietary fiber, etc.). The wide range of phytonutrients in mustard greens also play a role in reducing oxidative stress on cells in the body, furthering its cancer-fighting properties.
Mustard green recipes to try:
- Creamed Mustard Greens
- Chickpeas with Mustard Greens
- Steamed Golden Beets with Mustard Greens
- Indian Mustard Greens with Spinach (Sarson Ka Saag)