Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Dietitian Is In: Mustard

When we meet someone for the first time and share what we do, it often seems to open the gateway to a game of 20 questions. “What do you think about the Paleo diet?” “It’s a good thing to give up gluten, right?” “Is a banana bad for me?” “So, do you always eat healthy?” When we’re asked these kinds of questions, we’re happy to answer them. We feel grateful that people feel comfortable enough to ask. Here's a recent question we were asked...and here's the answer!

Question: Is prepared mustard really good for you?

Photo courtesy of Bread & With It and Healthy Aperture

Answer:  You can thank mustard for that tingle on your tongue when you bite into your favorite sandwich. Yet, mustard—yellow, brown, or Dijon—may offer more than just flavor enhancement. Prepared mustard, the condiment we typically buy at the supermarket, is made from the seeds of a mustard plant. The seeds, which may be black (Brassica nigra), white (Brassica alba) or brown (Brassica juncea), are combined with vinegar, water, and sometimes spices and other flavorings. A one tablespoon portion of unprocessed mustard seeds contains a healthy amount of selenium, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosinates—phytochemcials found in brassica vegetables, which are well-touted for cancer-fighting abilities. Yellow mustard, the most popular variety in the US (often referred to as “American mustard” in other countries), credits it bright yellow hue to turmeric, one of the most celebrated spices in the research world for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Keep in mind that, while mustard is often praised for its lower calorie and fat profile compared to other condiments, it is high in sodium; one tablespoon can contain 200 milligrams or more (about 8 percent of the Daily Value)—depending on the mustard variety. So, enjoy this potent plant-based flavoring in moderation.

This Q & A was written by McKenzie for the March 2014 issue of Environmental Nutrition.

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