Mustard Greens: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Also known as brown mustard, vegetable mustard, Indian mustard, and Chinese mustard, mustard greens are members of the Brassica genus of vegetables. This genus also includes kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cauliflower.
There are several varieties, which are usually green and have a strong bitter, spicy flavor.
To make them more palatable, these leafy greens are typically enjoyed boiled, steamed, stir-fried, or even pickled.
This article provides a complete overview of mustard greens, including their nutrition, benefits, and uses.
Mustard greens are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat, as they're low in calories yet rich in fiber and micronutrients.
One cup (56 grams) of chopped raw mustard greens provides:
- Calories: 15
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 9% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 6% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 44% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 120% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
Additionally, mustard greens contain 4–5% of the DV for calcium, iron, potassium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), magnesium, and thiamine (vitamin B1), as well as small amounts of zinc, selenium, phosphorus, niacin (vitamin B3), and folate.
Compared with raw mustard greens, one cup (140 grams) of cooked mustard greens has much higher levels of vitamin A (96% of the DV), vitamin K (690% of the DV), and copper (22.7% of the DV). Yet, it's lower in vitamins C and E.
Pickled mustard greens, often referred to as takana in Japanese and Chinese cuisines, are similar in calories, carbs, and fiber as raw mustard greens. But they do lose some nutrients during pickling, especially vitamin C.
However, one study found that pickling was an effective method for retaining important plant compounds with antioxidant properties.
Mustard greens are low in calories yet high in fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. In particular, they're an excellent source of vitamins C and K.
Health Benefits of Mustard Greens
There's currently limited research on the specific benefits of eating mustard greens.
Still, the individual nutrients found in mustard greens — and Brassica vegetables in general — have been associated with numerous health benefits
Rich in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Antioxidants are naturally occurring plant compounds that help protect against oxidative stress caused by an excess of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your cells. Research suggests that over time, this damage can lead to serious, chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
While levels of specific antioxidants vary between the different varieties of mustard greens, these leafy greens in general are a rich source of antioxidants like flavonoids, beta carotene, lutein, and vitamins C and E.
Additionally, red varieties are rich in anthocyanins, which are red-purple pigments found in fruits and vegetables that have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Overall, including mustard greens in your diet may help protect against diseases related to oxidative stress.
Excellent Source of Vitamin K
Both raw and cooked mustard greens are a phenomenal source of vitamin K, providing 120% and 690% of the DV per one cup (56 grams and 140 grams), respectively.
Vitamin K is best known for its vital role in helping with blood clotting. It's also been shown to be essential for heart and bone health.
In fact, inadequate vitamin K has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, a condition that results in reduced bone strength and an increased risk of fractures.
Recent studies have also suggested a link between vitamin K deficiency and brain health. Inadequate vitamin K may be associated with an increased risk of impaired brain functioning, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. However, more research is needed.
Could Boost Immunity
Mustard greens may also be good for your immune system.
Just one cup (56 grams raw, 140 grams cooked) provides more than a third of your daily vitamin C needs.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that's essential for a strong immune system. Research shows that not getting enough vitamin C in your diet can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick.
Additionally, vitamin A in mustard greens also supports your immune response. It does this by promoting the growth and distribution of T cells, which are a type of white blood cell needed to help fight off potential infections.
May Benefit Heart Health
Mustard greens may also be good for your heart.
They're loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids and beta carotene, which have been associated with a reduced risk of developing and dying from heart disease.
One review of eight studies found that a high intake of leafy green Brassica vegetables is associated with a significant 15% reduced risk of heart disease.
As with other Brassica vegetables, mustard greens contain compounds that help bind bile acids in your digestive system. This is important, as preventing the reabsorption of bile acids leads to lowered cholesterol levels (24).
According to one test-tube study, steaming mustard greens significantly increases their bile acid binding effect. This suggests that steamed mustard greens may have greater cholesterol-lowering potential, compared with eating them raw.
May Be Good for Eye Health
Among the antioxidants in mustard greens are lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to benefit eye health.
Specifically, these two compounds help protect your retina from oxidative damage, as well as filter out potentially harmful blue light.
As a result, research suggests that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may help protect against age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
May Have Anticancer Effects
In addition to powerful antioxidants, which may have anticancer effects, mustard greens are high in a group of beneficial plant compounds called glucosinolates.
In test-tube studies, glucosinolates have been shown to help protect cells against DNA damage and prevent the growth of cancerous cells. However, these benefits haven't been studied in humans.
Similarly, a test-tube study of mustard leaf extract found protective effects against colon and lung cancers. Still, studies in humans are needed.
As for research in humans, observational studies have shown a link between overall intake of Brassica vegetables — but not mustard greens specifically — and a reduced risk of certain types of cancers, including stomach, colorectal, and ovarian cancers.
Mustard greens are rich in important plant compounds and micronutrients, specifically vitamins A, C, and K. As a result, eating them may have benefits for eye and heart health, as well as anticancer and immune-boosting properties.
How to Prepare and Eat Mustard Greens
There are many ways to enjoy mustard greens.
Raw mustard greens are often added to other mixed greens to provide a peppery, spicy boost of flavor to salads. Some people even enjoy using them in smoothies and green juices.
While cooked mustard greens make for a delicious side dish to serve alongside roasted chicken or baked fish, they also work well in soups, stews, and casseroles.
To help balance out their sharp flavor, these spicy greens are often cooked with a source of fat, such as olive oil or butter, as well as an acidic liquid, such as vinegar or lemon juice.
Mustard greens can also be pickled using a mixture of sugar, salt, vinegar, chilis, and garlic.
Regardless of how you use them, mustard greens are best stored in the fridge and then washed just before using.
Mustard greens are a versatile leafy green that can add a peppery, bitter flavor to raw or cooked dishes.
Although research is limited, mustard greens are generally considered very healthy and safe. However, they may cause adverse reactions in certain individuals.
As mustard greens are high in vitamin K — a vitamin that helps with blood clotting — eating them could interfere with blood-thinning medications.
Therefore, individuals who are on blood thinners, such as warfarin, should consult their doctor before incorporating large amounts of these leafy greens into their diets.
Additionally, mustard greens contain oxalates, which may increase the risk of kidney stones in some individuals if consumed in large amounts. If you're prone to oxalate-type kidney stones, you may want to limit mustard greens in your diet.
Mustard greens are generally very safe to eat. However, as they're high in vitamin K and contain oxalates, large amounts may trigger side effects in individuals who take blood thinners or have a high risk of oxalate-type kidney stones.
The Bottom Line
Mustard greens are the peppery leaves of the mustard plant and are incredibly nutritious.
They're particularly high in vitamin K, vitamin C, and plant compounds that may have antioxidant and anticancer effects. Additionally, incorporating mustard greens into your diet may be beneficial for heart, eye, and immune health.
With their peppery, spicy flavor, mustard greens are a delicious addition to salads, soups, or casseroles. They can also be steamed and tossed with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice for a simple side dish.
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By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.
The Hedonometer measures happiness through analysis of key words on Twitter, which is now used by one in five Americans. This chart covers 18 months from early 2019 to July 2020, showing major dips in 2020. hedonometer.org<p>These same tweets also indicate a potential salve. Before pandemic lockdowns began, doctoral student <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0P0ZYbIAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Aaron Schwartz</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10045" target="_blank">compared tweets before, during, and after visits to 150 parks, playgrounds and plazas</a> in San Francisco. He found that park visits corresponded with a spike in happiness, followed by an afterglow lasting up to four hours.</p><p>Tweets from parks contained fewer negative words such as "no," "not" and "can't," and fewer first-person pronouns like "I" and "me." It seems that nature makes people more positive and less self-obsessed.</p><p>Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. Research has also shown that transmission rates for COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Is-risk-of-coronavirus-transmission-lower-15287602.php" target="_blank">much lower outdoors than inside</a>. As scholars who study <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=yFzb2EUAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">conservation</a> and how nature <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CCnUeN8AAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">contributes to human well-being</a>, we see opening up parks and creating new ones as a straightforward remedy for Americans' current blues.</p>
Park Visits Are Up During the Pandemic<p>According to the Hedonometer, sentiments expressed online started trending lower in mid-March as the impacts of the pandemic became clear. As lockdowns continued, they registered the lowest sentiment scores on record. Then in late May, effects from George Floyd's death in police custody and the following protests and police response once again could be seen on Twitter. May 31, 2020 was the saddest day of the project.</p><p>Recent surveys of park visitors around the University of Vermont have shown people <a href="https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/sd3h6" target="_blank">using green spaces more</a> since COVID-19 lockdowns began. Many people reported that parks were highly important to their well-being during the pandemic.</p>
<div id="4c7e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bc0ac146ab2a94228f32d973fc2ab272"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1289428912879964160" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">#Goldengatepark #sf #quarantinemood https://t.co/9l3ufnbkt6</div> — Suvd (@Suvd)<a href="https://twitter.com/Suvd19486406/statuses/1289428912879964160">1596258783.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The powerful effects of nature are strongest in large parks with more trees, but smaller neighborhood parks also provide a significant boost. Their impact on happiness is real, measurable and lasting.</p><p>Twitter records show that parks increase happiness to a level similar to the bounce at Christmas, which typically is the happiest day of the year. Schwartz has since expanded his <a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.10658.pdf" target="_blank">Twitter study</a> to the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and found this bounce everywhere.</p><p>Parks and public spaces won't cure COVID-19 or stop police brutality, but they are far more than playgrounds. There is growing evidence that parks contribute to mental and physical health in a range of communities.</p><p>In a 2015 study, for example, Stanford researchers sent people out for one of two walks: through a local park or on a busy street. Those who walked in nature showed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005" target="_blank">improved moods and better memory performance</a> compared to the urban group. And a team led by <a href="https://penniur.upenn.edu/people/eugenia-gina-south" target="_blank">Gina South</a> of the University of Pennsylvania showed in a 2018 study that greening and cleaning up blighted vacant lots in Philadelphia <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0298" target="_blank">reduced local residents' feelings of depression, worthlessness and poor mental health</a>.</p>
Creative Strategies<p>It isn't easy to create new parks on the scale of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or the Washington Mall, but smaller projects can expand outdoor space. Options include greening vacant lots, closing streets and investing in existing parks to make them safer, greener and shadier and support wildlife.</p><p>These initiatives don't have to be capital-intensive. In the University of Pennsylvania study, for example, renovating a vacant lot by removing trash, planting grass and trees and installing a low fence cost only about US$1,600.</p><p>Urban green space is most needed in neighborhoods that have lacked funding for parks, especially given <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html" target="_blank">COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx people</a>.</p><p>Cities can also create parklike spaces by <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-fewer-cars-on-us-streets-now-is-the-time-to-reinvent-roadways-and-how-we-use-them-140408" target="_blank">closing streets to cars</a>. Many cities worldwide are currently retooling their transportation systems for the post-COVID-19 world in order to <a href="https://thecityfix.com/blog/bicycles-slower-speeds-livable-city-paris-mayor-anne-hidalgo-plans-ambitious-second-term-dario-hidalgo/" target="_blank">reallocate public space</a>, widen sidewalks and make more space for nature.</p><p>Urban designers, artists, ecologists and other citizens can play a direct role, too, creating pop-up parks and green spaces. Some advocates <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/a-brief-history-of-park-ing-day" target="_blank">transform parking spaces into mini-parks</a> with grass, potted trees and seating for just the time on the meter, to make a larger point about turning so much public space over to cars.</p><p>Or cities can invest a little more. Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Arlington, Virginia, have won <a href="https://www.tpl.org/parkscore" target="_blank">national recognition</a> for their ambitious investments in public park systems. These areas could serve as models for neighborhoods that lack access to parks.</p>
<div id="25fd0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="383f0d2df0237e9359c30dcce6cd6c42"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1276558744835379201" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Looking to safely get outside? Check out the best parks for social distancing in this year's top ten ParkScore citi… https://t.co/HJjEtDsrTD</div> — The Trust for Public Land (@The Trust for Public Land)<a href="https://twitter.com/tpl_org/statuses/1276558744835379201">1593190296.0</a></blockquote></div>
A New Park Deal?<p>The United States has historically driven economic recovery with major infrastructure investments, like the New Deal in the 1930s and the 2009 <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act.asp" target="_blank">American Reinvestment and Recovery Act</a>. Such investments could easily include nature-positive spaces.</p><p>Parks are not panaceas, as evidenced by the widely publicized <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/nyregion/amy-cooper-false-report-charge.html" target="_blank">racist confrontation between a white woman and a Black birder</a> in New York's Central Park in early July. But Hedonometer data add to a <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/7/eaax0903?utm_source=miragenews&utm_medium=miragenews&utm_campaign=news" target="_blank">growing body of evidence</a> that they provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1807504116" target="_blank">clear mental health benefits</a>. Creating and expanding parks also <a href="https://www.nrpa.org/contentassets/f568e0ca499743a08148e3593c860fc5/economic-impact-study-summary.pdf" target="_blank">generates jobs and economic activity</a>, with much of the money spent locally.</p><p>We believe investments in nature are well worth it, offering both short-term solace in difficult times and long-term benefits to health, economies and communities.</p>
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New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.
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