Home > Food, General Knowledge > 312/365 – Mustard Seeds

312/365 – Mustard Seeds

The mustard seed has a long history and religious importance in Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. The tiny size, 3 mm in diameter, has been significant and referenced in the texts of these major religions. Today, mustard seed is popular due to its distinct flavors and added health benefits.

History

Historically, mustard seeds are mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings dating back five thousand years. Evidence shows it has grown in Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean and the Himalayas.

The ancient Greeks used the seeds, but the Romans were the first to grind them into a paste which resembled the mustard condiment available today. Physicians in both civilizations also used the seeds for medicinal purposes.   Identification

The mustard seeds are the tiniest part of three different mustard plants and vary in color from yellow-white to black to brown.

The three mustard plants are Brassica hirta (white), Brassica nigra (black) and Brassica juncea (brown). They are available as whole seeds, ground powder or extracted oil.

Cultivation

Mustard seeds flourish in cold weather, moist soils and generally under temperate conditions. The mustard plant grows as a shrub, and the seeds take 3 to 10 days to germinate.

Brown and black seeds can grow far more easily than yellow seeds. Canada is the largest producer of mustard seeds today, but seeds can also come from other countries, including the United States, Hungary, Great Britain and India.

Benefits

Two research studies, in 2003 and 2006, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both state the major benefit of mustard seeds in relation to reducing all cardiac events such as heart attacks and strokes.

An article in the American Diabetes Association published in 2003 describes a study in which mustard seeds reduced LDL and triglycerides and increased HDL in rats.

Additionally, mustard seeds contain a powerful anticancer agent, isothiocyanate, which protects cells and reduces the growth of existing cancer cells. They are also full of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, fiber, calcium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

Source: http://www.ehow.com/about_5508734_mustard-seeds.html

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Categories: Food, General Knowledge
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