Mustard Greens (Brassica juncea) are one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables and are packed with health promoting and disease preventing properties.
Mustard greens are exceptionally high in vitamins A, K, & C as well as minerals such as zinc, selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
The cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed mustard greens is second only to steamed collard greens and steamed kale in a recent study of cruciferous vegetables and their ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract. When bile acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile acid binding is a lowering of the body’s cholesterol level. It’s worth noting that steamed mustard greens (and all steamed forms of the cruciferous vegetables) show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw mustard greens.
Mustard greens are very beneficial for arthritis, osteoporosis, anemia, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. They are also essential for aiding cognitive disorders such as brain fog, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mustard Greens contains compounds called dithiolthiones which have strong anti-cancer properties and are particularly beneficial in the protection against breast, colon, prostate, lung, bladder, and ovarian cancers.
Based upon several dozen studies involving cruciferous vegetables as a group (and including mustard greens on the list of vegetables studied), cancer prevention appears to be a standout area for mustard greens when summarizing health benefits.
The connection between mustard greens and cancer prevention should not be surprising since mustard greens provide special nutrient support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention. These three systems are (1) the body’s detox system, (2) its antioxidant system, and (3) its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system.
Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase risk of cancer, and when imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously, the risk of cancer increases significantly. Among all types of cancer, prevention of the following cancer types is most closely associated with intake of mustard greens: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Mustard greens also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are an ideal food for helping auto-immune disorders such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Endometriosis, Graves disease, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Due to their incredibly high vitamin A content, mustard greens are amazing for eye and vision problems including age related macular degeneration, blurry vision, weak nighttime vision, and dry, itchy eyes.
Mustard greens can also help in preventing hair loss and strengthening the roots of your hair. They are also great for keeping your bones and muscles strong.
Mustard greens are often used as a detoxifying food and as an overall tonic for the body, specifically the liver.
Mustard greens have a spicy, rich flavor and are great juiced with celery and/or cucumbers or added to salads, wraps, nori rolls, soups, stews, or stir-fry. They are also wonderful steamed.
Healthy Sauté: Heat 5 tablespoons of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add mustard greens, cover, and Healthy Sauté for 5 minutes. Toss with a Mediterranean Dressing which includes 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 medium clove garlic (pressed or chopped), 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Top with your favorite optional ingredients.
Young mustard greens make great additions to salads. Serve healthy sautéed mustard greens with walnuts. Adding chopped mustard greens to a pasta salad gives it a little kick. One of our favorite combinations is chopped tomatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese, pasta, and mustard greens tossed with a little olive oil.
Mustard greens are available in several red and green varieties and can range from mild to spicy hot. They can be found are your local supermarket, farmer’s market, Asian market, health food store, and specialty produce stores.
Growing mustards from seed or seedling, you can start them outdoors 3 weeks before your last frost date. If you would like a more steady harvest, plant mustard green seeds about every 3 weeks to give you a successive harvest.
When planting mustard greens seeds, plant each seed just under the soil about a half inch apart.
Mustard greens will not grow well in the summer, so you should stop planting seeds a bit before the end of spring and start planting the mustard green seeds again in mid-summer for a fall harvest. Mustard greens like cool weather and will grow rapidly. Mustard greens need 2 inches of water a week.
You should harvest mustard greens while they are still young and tender. Older leaves will get tough and will get increasingly bitter as they get older. Discard any yellow leaves that may appear on the plant.
Mustard greens are harvested one of two ways. You can either pick individual leaves and leave the plant to grow more, or the entire plant can be cut down to harvest all the leaves at once.
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