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Mustard greens nutrition facts

Spicy, crunchy mustard greens or leafy mustard is indeed one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables. The greens actually have more vitamin A, carotenes, vitamin K, and flavonoid anti-oxidants than many commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.

This crispy leafy vegetable obtained from mustard plant belonging to brassica family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts... etc. Scientific name: Brassica juncea.

The mustard plant is native to sub-Himalayan plains of Indian sub-continent commonly cultivated for its winter season leaves and oil seeds since ancient times. Several cultivars exist. Mustards are winter crops when the leaves are more flavorful from November until March.

Actually, its young tender green leaves that is harvested when the plant reaches about 2 feet in height and used as green leafy vegetable. Completely grown plant reaches about 4-5 feet in height and bears golden yellow colored flowers.

Fresh mustards feature dark green colored broad leaves with flat surface and may have either toothed, frilled or lacy edges depending up on the cultivar type. Its light green stem branches out with many laterals.

Mustard seeds used as spice are being used extensively in cooking as well as in oil production all over South-Asian region.

Health benefits of mustard greens

  • Mustard greens like spinach are the storehouse of many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.

  • Mustards are very low in calories (26 kcal per 100 g raw leaves) and fats, but rich in dietary fiber; recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. However, its dark green leaves contain very good amount of dietary fiber that helps control cholesterol level and also help protect against hemorrhoids, constipation as well as colon cancer diseases.

  • Fresh mustard greens are an excellent source of several vital anti-oxidants and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, carotenes as well essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, and manganese.

  • The greens are supposed to be one of the highest among leafy vegetables which provide vitamin K. 100 g of fresh leaves contain about 497 mcg or about 500% of daily requirement of vitamin K 1 (phylloquinone). Vitamin K has found to have potential role in bone mass building function by promoting osteo-trophic activity in the bone. It also has established role in Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

  • Fresh leaves are also very good source of folic acid. 100 g provide about 187 mcg (about 47% of RDA) of folic acid. This water-soluble vitamin has an important role in DNA synthesis and when given before and early pregnancy help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.

  • Mustard greens are rich source of anti-oxidants flavonoids, indoles, sulforaphane, carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. Indoles, mainly di-indolyl-methane (DIM) and sulforaphane have proven benefits against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
  • Fresh mustard leaves are excellent source of vitamin-C. Provides 70 mcg or about 117% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is a powerful natural anti-oxidant that offers protection against free radical injury and flu-like viral infections.

  • The leaves are also an excellent source of vitamin-A (provide 10500 IU or 350% of RDA per 100 g). Vitamin A is essential nutrient for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • Regular consumption of mustard greens in the diet is known to prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, asthma and colon and prostate cancers.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Mustard greens (Brassica juncea),
fresh, raw, Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 26 Kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 4.9 g 4%
Protein 2.70 g 5%
Total Fat 0.20 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 3.30 g 9%

Folates 187 mcg 47%
Niacin 0.800 mg 5%
Pantothenic acid 0.210 mg 5%
Pyridoxine 0.180 mg 14%
Riboflavin 0.110 mg 8%
Thiamin 0.080 mg 7%
Vitamin A 10500 IU 350%
Vitamin C 70 mg 117%
Vitamin E 2.01 mg 13%
Vitamin K 497.3 mcg 414%

Sodium 25 mg 2%
Potassium 354 mg 7.5%

Calcium 103 mg 10%
Copper 0.147 mg 16%
Iron 1.46 mg 18%
Magnesium 32 mg 8%
Manganese 0.480 mg 21%
Selenium 0.9 mcg 1.5%
Zinc 0.20 mg 2%

Carotene-ß 6300 mcg --
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 mcg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 9900 mcg --

Selection and storage

Mustards are winter crops. In the markets, look for fresh mustard greens featuring crispy, dark green leaves and should show vitality. Avoid sunken, spotted, or discolored leaves.

The leaves wilt soon if kept at room temperature; therefore, should be stored in refrigerator immediately. Although they can be stored for up to 3 days in the cold storage, fresh mustard greens should be used as soon as early as possible to get maximum nutrition.

Preparation and serving methods

Fresh leaves, flower buds, and stems are used in a variety of cuisines all over Asia and in Eastern Europe.

Before cooking, wash the leaves thoroughly in clean running water to remove sand and soil and then rinsed in saline water for about 30 minutes in order to remove surface dust, any insecticide residues. Trim away thick petioles and thick stems.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Fresh tender mustard greens are eaten raw either as salad or as juice.

  • Generally they are stew fried or steam cooked and mixed with other greens such as spinach, fenugreek etc in South Asian cuisines. Its pungent, peppery flavor is tamed by adding butter, tomato, garlic and onion to the recipes.
  • This green also mixes well with ham, pork and bacon.

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