Health Benefits of Mustard Greens
The spot light of the health industry is often on cruciferous vegetables and their amazing health benefits. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and other green leafy vegetables. While these vegetables are talked about over and over, one leafy power house sits quietly and largely unnoticed: Mustard greens.
Mustard greens are an amazing food that is often over-looked because people are simply unfamiliar with it or intimidated. I’m here to remedy both of those and warm you up to my new love: mustard greens!
First let’s talk about the incredible health benefits of this leafy green.
Mustard greens also have an extremely low glycemic load. This means your body will not release much insulin and you’ll have very even blood glucose and burn more fat instead of sugar throughout the day. This is one of the desirable qualities of many foods on the Paleo diet.
It is one of the top foods in the world for its cholesterol-lowering ability. You should know that bile acids in the digestive tract are made from cholesterol. Mustard greens have an ability to bind these bile acids together, making them much easier to expel from the body. This has a huge impact on lowering the body’s cholesterol.
Mustard greens are second only to steamed kale in cancer-prevention. Mustard is one of the richest sources in phytonutrients (glucosinolates)which also has massive anti-inflammatory properties.
Mustard greens support the major body systems that are considered the most vital for cancer prevention.
The Three Major Body Systems for Preventing Cancer:
- Detoxification system
- Anti-oxidant system
- Anti-inflammatory/inflammatory system.
Where there is chronic imbalance in any of the above systems, cancer risk is increased. When there are imbalances in all three of these systems at the same time, cancer risk is significant. Luckily, mustard greens strongly support all these of these systems.
1· Mustard Green Benefits to the Detoxification System
This leafy green contains the phytonutrients called glucosinolates whihc activate detoxification enzymes. A minimum of three key glucosinolates are identified in mustard greens in significant amounts to boost this enzymatic activation to detoxify the body.
2· Mustard Green Benefits to the Anti-Oxidant System
Nutritionally this green is extremely rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and manganese. These are well known power house antioxidants that support the body, but mustard doesn’t merely stop there. This cruciferous vegetable has four key phytonutrients that lower the oxidative stress that causes cancer in our body’s cells.
3· Mustard Green Benefits to the Anti-inflammatory System
One cup of cooked mustard greens has a whopping 921%DV of Vitamin K which is the flagship anti-inflammatory nutrient. This vitamin regulates the body’s inflammatory responses. Mustard does contain small amounts of other phytonutrients such as glucobrassicin, which adds even more benefit to these anti-inflammation properties.
So how much of this do you have to eat in order to receive these fantastic benefits?
This cruciferous vegetable should be eaten at a minimum 2-3 times a week. It’s best to alternate these greens with other greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce, or parsley for optimal nutritional benefit. Getting 2-3 servings is super easy on the Paleo diet when you use it for replacing your regular bread and use it like a tortilla to make amazingly nutritious and sturdy wraps (my favorite way). They make great additions to your salad or to replace your sandwich greens.
Another delicious and simple way to add this power house into your diet is to enjoy it sautéed or steamed.
Simple Mediterranean Mustard Sauté
This Paleo-friendly side dish recipe provides the greatest benefits of nutrient retention while offering a fresh and flavorful tang that will leave you craving for more.
5 tablespoons broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Two large handfuls of cleaned, shredded Mustard greens
- Chop these greens up and let them sit for 5 minutes before cooking. This allows the greens to release even more healthy chemicals boosting the benefits.
- Over medium heat, bring the broth to a simmer and add the mustard greens. Toss the greens just until they begin to wilt and immediately remove from the heat.
- Toss the greens with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.
- Optionally serve topped with parmesan cheese, tuna, or diced tomato if desired.
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Learn more about the Paleo diet and find more articles about the nutrition and science behind the Paleo diet at my Paleo 101 Section.