Mustard Greens

mustard greensBrassica juncea, the scientific name of the mustard greens we receive in our shares, is one type of mustard greens; others are Chinese Mustard, Kai Choi, and Indian Mustard. The species originated in the Himalayan region of India and have been consumed and grown there for over 5,000 years. Many different cuisines integrate mustard greens into their dishes, and mustard greens have become extremely popular in southern U.S. cuisine.

Mustard greens are in the cruciferous family of vegetables. They rank number two compared to collard greens and kale in their bile-binding abilities, which lowers the body’s cholesterol levels. FYI, this is when you steam the mustard greens. Mustard greens also have tons of cancer-fighting properties. To achieve the highest vitamin content, it's highly recommended to gently sauté them.

Mustard greens are extremely high in vitamin K. They are also an excellent source of vitamins A,C, E, B6, B2, copper, manganese, calcium, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, B1, folate, and phytonutrients including, but not limited to, hydroxycinnamic acid, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol. These and others help assist in lowering the risk of oxidative stress in our cells. By reducing chronic stress in our cells, we can reduce our cancer risk.

Mustard greens contain glucosinsolates, which provide us with one-of-a-kind health benefits because they can be transformed into isthiocyanates (ITC's) with strong anti-cancer properties. All cruciferous plants contain glucosinsolates, but mustard greens have the highest amounts. Glucosinsolates also assist greatly in detoxification. They are anti-inflammatory and are high in antioxidants, which creates their anti-cancer properties. Mustard greens are extremely heart-healthy as well. If you want to achieve the most optimum health benefits, it is recommended that mustard greens be a part of your diet on a regular basis, consumed at least two or three times a week, with a serving size of one and a half cups. (You should consume 4 to 5 servings a week of various vegetables from the cruciferous family for maximum health.)

Mustard greens also contain oxalates, however, so individuals with untreated gallbladder or kidney problems should steer clear of mustard greens. Oxalates may interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body. However, when oxalates become too concentrated in the body, they crystallize and cause further problems. If you have a healthy digestive tract, are relaxed when you are eating and chew your food well, you will experience the healthful benefits, including the absorption of calcium.

When preparing mustard greens, rinse in cold water and cut into 1/2 inch slices to ensure even cooking. Let them sit for five minutes before cooking to enhance their health promoting benefits.

I didn't realIze how amazing mustard greens are. Hope you enjoy! –Kimberly Alfaro