The humble mustard seed has been a constant companion in the culinary and medicinal cupboards of various cultures for millennia. The ancient Greeks and Romans made a point of throwing it in their tasty concoctions whenever they had the chance, while Indians have been pouring mustard seeds into their curries for centuries.
Today, the cultural importance of the humble mustard seed is sadly dwindled, being confined to squeeze bottles in a roadside hot dog vendor or as a whole grain mustard in an artisan sandwich. But it’s time that mustard seeds were once again given prize placement in your spice and/or medicine cabinet, due to their surprising ability to nurture your health and protect your body against disease. Here’s a few reasons why mustard seeds are kind of a big deal when it comes to warding off disease and bolstering your health.
1. Mustard seeds promote a healthy thyroid
Many people underestimate the importance of their thyroid, considering that when it isn’t working properly it can wreak havoc in your body and set the scene for some serious debilitating health conditions and diseases. Luckily, mustard seeds contain high concentrations of the important mineral selenium — in addition to being a strong antioxidant, it helps thwart the oxidative damage of free radicals — that can also provide the fuel your thyroid gland needs to operate efficiently. Interestingly, selenium is actually just as important as iodine in supporting healthy thyroid function, and is often a rare mineral in the typical Western diet.
This means that including mustard seeds in your diet can not only directly promote a properly functioning thyroid, it can also make those iodine supplements you’ve been taking for your thyroid do what they’re supposed to. The result is that you’ll be less likely to have hormonal issues, which can help promote better health conditions, leading to an increased sense of wellness.
2. Mustard seeds fight cancer
Mustard seeds contain a group of handy phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, which have potent cancer-fighting abilities, according to research. With the aid of these phytonutrients, including mustard seeds in your diet can both prevent the development of cancerous cells in the first place, and help to treat and stop the spread of cancer that has already manifested within your body.
How does this wondrous thing happen? Well, some research suggests that the isothiocyanates in mustard seeds can inhibit mitosis (the process of cell division and replication) and encourage apoptosis (the process of cell die-off) in tumor cells. Other research showed that mustard seed powder inhibited bladder cancer growth by a significant 34.5 percent and blocked muscle invasion by an impressive 100 percent. Could be reason enough for you to add some delicious wholegrain mustard to your sandwich for lunch tomorrow.
3. Mustard seeds are anti-inflammatory
If you’re a regular on The Alternative Daily, you’ve probably come across at least an article or two discussing the health benefits of curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, ginger and a range of other yellow-hued vegetables and spices. Well, our good friend the mustard seed has ample amounts of curcumin as well, signifying its potent anti-inflammatory abilities. While curcumin is also an important anti-carcinogenic compound, it’s true calling is in reducing inflammation in the body, alleviating pain in swollen arthritic joints, improving muscle and ligament mobility and easing off inflammatory conditions in your organs and other areas of your body.
And since most common diseases are strongly associated with chronic inflammation, getting plenty of anti-inflammatory curcumin from mustard seeds can only be a good thing.
4. Mustard seeds are ultra nutritious
If you know anything about health, you’ll know the key to keeping sickness and disease away is eating plenty of healthy, nutritious food. We’re happy to say that mustard seeds are packed with vitamins and nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper, calcium, zinc and vitamin B1. This signifies that mustard seeds can be an important daily source of nutrients, providing some of the essential building blocks your body needs to operate as it should and ensure it is fortified against infection and the spread of disease.
There are plenty of ways you can incorporate mustard seeds into your diet to reap the health rewards, including as a powder on your curries and hot dishes, as a whole grain on your sandwiches and meat, rubbed onto your skin or added to your food as an oil.