The food we eat along with the oil we choose to cook it in and the herbs and condiments that are added to it, all have an impact on our health and wellbeing. Choosing the correct cooking medium is an essential for a healthy body and mind.
Indian cooking, is an art, which uses ingredients in such a blend so that they complement each other to make the food appetising and nourishing at the same time.
Sarson the essential ingredient from ages
“Sarson” or mustard is at the centre of Indian cuisine. Mustard oil can be seen on the grocery list of all Indian families. It is an essential item for all Indian households and some foods taste better when cooked in mustard oil. It is the 2nd most important oil seed in India after groundnut.
Mustard oil is extracted from the seeds of the mustard plant. The oil is reddish yellow in color with a strong aroma, intense flavor and tangy taste. The tangy or pungent taste of mustard oil, its deep colour, and the strong aroma add a distinctive deliciousness to food. Along with taste, cold-pressed mustard oil also confers many health benefits.
Mustard Oil and its Medicinal Benefits
Glucosinolate, the chemical compound responsible for the pungency of mustard oil, has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-carcinogenic properties. This compound is chiefly responsible for many medicinal benefits of the oil. Mustard oil has proteins (30%), calcium, phytins, phenols, and other natural antioxidants.
Mustard oil is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). It is also a better source of of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are present in the correct ratio as is beneficial for health compared to other seed oils. Mustard oil contains limited amounts of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and does not contain any “harmful-to-health” trans fats.
100 gm of mustard oil has 59 gm monounsaturated fatty acids, 21 gm poly-unsaturated fatty acids and in 12 gm of saturated fatty acids.
As mustard oil is rich in MUFA, it is considered to be healthy for the heart as it helps to lower the blood lipid levels especially those of cholesterol and bad cholesterol that is low-density lipoproteins (LDL). It also helps to raise the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol in blood. The alpha- linolenic acid found in mustard oil reduces the tendency of plaque formation in the blood vessels making it heart friendly.
What makes Mustard Oil Ideal for Indian Cooking?
Cold pressed mustard oil is quite stable at high temperatures making it ideal for cooking and even deep frying. Research indicates that mustard oil is highly protective against cell damage caused by certain chemicals or toxins present in environment.
Cold pressed mustard oil is a good source of fat-soluble essential vitamins, such as vitamin E (tocopherol) and carotenoids. Vitamin E or tocopherol is considered the most important antioxidant, which protects the body from many harmful toxins.
Cold pressed mustard oil also contains sterols, which is more than that is found in refined oils. Plant sterols also known as phytosterol are helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels by limiting the quantity of cholesterol entering the human system, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Mustard oil possesses significant antimicrobial properties and may be helpful in impeding the growth of certain harmful bacteria, fungi and molds. Consuming cold pressed mustard oil may help block the growth of some types of bacteria, fungi and molds harmful for human health.
Mustard oil contain allyl isothiocyanate, which is a chemical compound that is helpful in desensitizing pain receptors and helpful in to treating muscle aches and body pain. Along with this mustard oil also contains alpha linolenic acid (a type of omega -3 fatty acid), which helps in reducing inflammation.
Is there a difference between Yellow Mustard Oil and Black Mustard Oil?
Yes, there is a difference, and that is it's pungency and color. Black Mustard oil is very pungent and gives a distinct flavor to dishes. On the other hand, Yellow Mustard Oil is not pungent like that. We generally use refined oil because we need some neutral flavour oil which does not pass on the flavour of oil to food. Good news is that, you can be benefited by the nutrition of mustard oil and replace your refined oil while using Yellow Mustard Oil and enjoy the goodness of health.
How does regular consumption of Mustard Oil help you?
Regular consumption and topical application of mustard oil may be helpful in relieving pain caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, regular consumption of mustard oil may be helpful in decreasing the inflammations caused by conditions like psoriasis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Cold pressed pure mustard oil is a natural treatment for symptoms of cold, cough and congestion. It can be mixed with camphor and applied directly to chest to relieve symptoms of cough and congestion. Steam inhalation treatment with pure mustard oil mixed with boiling water is also beneficial in helping respiratory conditions.
Cold pressed mustard oil applied topically is helpful in optimizing hair growth, reduce fine lines and lessen wrinkles. It can also help heal cracked heels, when mixed with wax. As mustard oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it is helpful in reducing skin inflammation. Applying mustard oil as a scalp treatment may help to improve hair root health and protect the roots from damage, giving stronger thicker hair. Mustard oil helps to stop germ growth, thereby preventing skin and scalp infections. It is helpful in reducing scalp and skin irritation
As mustard oil is rich in natural fats, it can add moisture to the hair and can be used as hair conditioner or hair mask. Mustard oil can make your hair smoother and shinier. It can help to prevent dry and frizzy hair, split ends, hair damage due to heat or hard water and dry and flaky scalp. Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties it may also be helpful in conditions like dandruff, acne or pimples.
One has to ensure to eat a healthy balanced diet as consuming mustard oil alone will not compensate for a broadly unhealthful diet or a lack of physical activity. One must include a variety of oils to a balanced diet in order to get the right proportion of ally fatty acids required for good health.
Ms Sunita Roy Chowdhury, Senior Nutritionist, Dietician and Nutrition Educator
Healthynudgez and Guiding Stars Open Learning Academy,
Under the banner of SS Guiding Stars Pvt. Ltd.
At Multano we are passionate about helping people make their lives healthier and happier. All information provided in this article is researched and authenticated by qualified experts. We are dedicated to providing reliable and accurate information to our readers. However, please use the information provided here with discretion. Any changes in medication/diet must be done with the approval of your treating medical practitioner/Dietician only.