by Michele Anna Jordan
Photograph by John Wagner
Like most foods with ancient roots, mustard has been heralded as a curative. It stimulates appetite and digestion, and clears the sinuses in much the same way as chiles, which are said to be as effective as commercial decongestants. Mustard increases blood circulation, hence its use as mustard plaster, a dressing used to bring increased blood flow to inflamed areas of the body. Mustard flour sprinkled in your socks is said to save your toes from frostbite, a claim which is also made about cayenne pepper and other spices containing volatile oils.
One of mustard's greatest health benefits is that it provides tremendous flavor for few calories and little fat. A gram of mustard flour contains just 4.3 calories and simple mustard preparations can be eaten with impunity by nearly everyone. Mustard itself contains no cholesterol, only trace amounts of vegetable fat, and is between 25-32% protein, depending on the variety of plant. Leaf mustard contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin B.
Copyright 1996 by Michele Anna Jordan, author of The Good Cook's Book of Mustard. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
Michele Anna Jordan's books, including The Good Cook's Series (on Mustard, Tomatoes and Oil & Vinegar) are available at bookstores nationwide, or they may be ordered from Katz and Company at 800-455-2305; fax 707-254-1846.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
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