Mustard leaf which is also known as mustard greens is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetable used in cuisines of India. It is a popular winter vegetable (Known as Sarson ka saag) and a good combination of it is along with Makki ki roti (roti made with corn flour). These lovely top greens have actually more vitamin A, carotenes, vitamin K and flavonoid anti-oxidants than some of the commonly available fruits and vegetables.
Folic acid: These leaves are a good source of folic acid. This water soluble vitamin has an important role to play in DNA synthesis and cell division. When given to women during pre -conception time as a supplement this vitamin may help prevent neural tube defects in their new born babies.
Vitamin C: Fresh mustard leaves contain good amount of vitamin C, a powerful natural anti-oxidant that offers protection against free radical injury and flu-like viral infections.
Calcium and potassium: Mustard greens are a good source of calcium and potassium that help in improving the bone health and assist in preventing bone diseases like brittle bones.
Dietary fibre: Mustard greens dietary fibre encourages good colon health and manages the metabolism and also helps with good digestion of food. This fibre has been shown to reduce overall cholesterol levels in those with pre-existing high cholesterol levels compounding its heart healthy qualities.
Anti-oxidants: These leaves contain a great amount of powerful anti-oxidants, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C, flavonoids, indoles, carotenes etc. The wide range of phyto-nutrients in mustard greens plays a role in reducing oxidative stress. They have proven beneficial against prostrate, ovarian, breast and colon cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cyto-toxic effects on cancer cells.
Vitamin A: The high concentration of vitamin A in mustard greens strengthens the eye and prevents macular degeneration.
Weight management: Mustard greens are highly nutritious, low calorie food that may help aid in weight loss. These leaves contain good amount of dietary fibre that help regulate the metabolism and maintain healthy body weight.
Vitamin K: Mustard greens contain high concentration of vitamin K, an essential nutrient that is necessary for blood clotting. Vitamin K also supports bone health by helping your blood to transport calcium throughout your body.
Patients taking anti-coagulant medicines like warfarin are advised to avoid this food as it increases the level of vitamin K in the blood whereas the drugs attempt to lower. This may adversely affect the dose of the drug.
Oxalic acid: This is a naturally occurring substance found in mustard greens which may crystallise as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. It is therefore people with known urinary tract oxalate stones are advised to avoid vegetables belonging to Brassica family.
Nitrates: Reheating of the leftover vegetable converts nitrates into nitrites and nitrosamines by certain bacteria that thrive on prepared nitrate rich food. These poisonous compounds may prove to be harmful to health. So, it is better avoid reheating the cooked vegetable.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna