Friday, June 8, 2012

The Vegetable Of The Week - Mustard Greens

Vegetable History: 
Mustard greens were first cultivated in the Himalayan region of India, and have been grown and consumed for more than 5,000 years. Mustard greens are a notable vegetable in many different cuisines, ranging from Chinese to Southern American. While India, Nepal, China and Japan are among the leading producers of mustard greens, a significant amount of mustard greens are grown in the United States as well.

Peppery mustard greens put the zip and soul in the mixed greens traditionally used for Southern American soul food cooking. Like turnip greens, they became an integral part of Southern cuisine during the times of slavery, serving as a substitute for the greens that were an essential part of Western African foodways. - Dawn Gifford, Farm Table Online

Vegetable Benefits:
Mustards are very low in calories (26 kcal per 100 g raw leaves) and fats, but rich in dietary fiber; recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs. However, its dark green leaves contain very good amount of dietary fiber that helps control cholesterol level and also help protect against hemorrhoids, constipation as well as colon cancer diseases. - Nutrition & You

As an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese, mustard greens give us highest level support for four conventional antioxidant nutrients. But the antioxidant support provided by mustard greens extends far beyond these conventional nutrients and into the realm of phytonutrients. Hydroxycinnamic acid, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol are among the key antioxidant phytonutrients provided by mustard greens. This broad spectrum antioxidant support helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in our cells. Chronic oxidative stress—meaning chronic presence of overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and cumulative damage to our cells by these molecules—is a risk factor for development of most cancer types. By providing us with a diverse array of antioxidant nutrients, mustard greens help lower our cancer risk by helping us avoid chronic and unwanted oxidative stress. - Mustard Greens, Worlds Healthiest Foods

The high vitamin K content of mustard greens has strong anti-inflammatory properties that improve cardiovascular health. Excessive inflammation in the cardiovascular system has been directly linked to heart disease, so the high vitamin K content makes mustard greens a heart-healthy food. - Evan Discoll,

Mustard greens are very valuable in the prevention and cure of the reversible airway obstructive disorder, asthma and certain other immune-related disorders. The vitamin C present in the vegetable is responsible for this. This vitamin neutralizes the free radicals that cause smooth muscle contraction and airway obstruction in asthma. Also, it assists in the breakdown of the inflammatory chemical called histamine, which is overproduced in these conditions. Adding to the beneficial effect of vitamin C in curing asthma is the mineral magnesium, which is also present in the vegetable. It helps the smooth muscle cells lining the walls of the bronchial tubes and lungs stay relaxed and avoid any constriction. This mechanism is very important in the prevention of this condition. One feature for which mustard greens are especially known for is that they are a rich source of three vitamins (E, C, and A) which popular anti-oxidizing agents. These nutrients combine to act against certain free radicals that are produced in the body and thus, help prevent a host of ailments and diseases. This includes the prevention of asthmatic conditions, heart diseases and certain menopausal symptoms. - 

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