Know All About Mustard Oil: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Uses & Side Effects

mustard oil benefits
Written by Dr Prachi Garg
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India is a land of diversity! Every region in our country uses different oils while preparing its cuisine. So, while Kerala is fond of its coconut oil, Andhra and Rajasthan prefer sesame oil and the North likes its delicacies to be cooked in mustard oil also known as Sarson ka Tel.

But with the scare of cholesterol and an upswing in heart diseases, many people have now become wary of the kind and quality of oil that they consume on a daily basis. This has lead to a widespread increase in the sale of healthy oils such as Olive oil, Sunflower oil, Rice Bran oil, and Grapeseed oil, to name a few.

Mustard Oil Nutrition:

Mustard oil has about 60% monounsaturated fatty acids(MUFA)(42% erucic acid and 12% oleic acid); it has about 21% polyunsaturated fats(PUFA) (6% the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid(ALA) and 15% the omega-6 linoleic acid(LA)), and it has about 12% saturated fats.

This optimum ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and low content of saturated fats makes mustard oil more beneficial and preferred over several other oils available in the market.

Mustard oil is reddish-brown or amber in colour and is known for its strong smell and pungent sharp flavour. The pungency of mustard oil is due to the presence of allyl isothiocyanate. This fatty vegetable oil is obtained by pressing mustard seeds.

For now, let’s understand Mustard Oil and its benefits in detail.

Health Benefits of Mustard Oil Are:

  1. Cardioprotective Effects:

Mustard oil is healthy edible oil it is low in Saturated fatty acid (SFA), high in MUFA and PUFA, especially alpha-linolenic acid, and has a good LA:ALA ratio (6:5).

In Myocardial Infarct(MI) patients using mustard oil, there was a reduction in arrhythmias, heart failure, and angina. Thus, mustard oil is considered a healthy choice for patients with cardiovascular disorders.

N6 (linolenic acid) and N3 (alpha-linolenic acid) are essential fatty acids proved to be beneficial for the body. N6 PUFA lowers LDL cholesterol but can also decrease HDL, whereas N3 PUFA may lower triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation, improve vascular function, and sudden death.[1]

  1. Reduces Cough, Colds:

Since ancient times, mustard oil is used to soothe colds, coughs and other respiratory illnesses and allergies.

Inhaling steam containing mustard oil has shown to clear respiratory congestion. Also, a concoction made by heating mustard oil, few cloves of garlic and 1 teaspoon of ajwain, when massaged on our feet and chest provides relief from cold and cough.

Mustard oil may also show positive effects in patients suffering from sinusitis.

  1. Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal & Anti-carcinogenic Properties:

Glucosinolate, available in mustard oil which accounts for antibiotic, fungicidal and cancer prevention qualities, serves as a therapeutic for human health. It thus protects us from colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.[2]

Ally Isothiocyanate serves as an anti-fungal agent, which protects food from fungal growth and reduces the infection.

Also Read: 9 Home Remedies for Fungal Infection

  1. Strengthens Red Blood Cells:

Mustard oil is a major source of all fats required by our body to perform diverse biological functions as components of plasma, cell lipids and cell membrane.

Mustard oil reduces cholesterol and improves membrane structure of red blood cell (RBC). Read more about the simple ways to reduce cholesterol.

  1. Acts as a Stimulant:

Mustard oil is a natural stimulant that is known to stimulate our sweat glands, thereby improving blood circulation throughout the body. It also helps to lower body temperature and remove toxins from the body.

By increasing blood circulation in the entire body, it also relieves and rejuvenates stressed and overworked muscles.

  1. Relief from Joint Pain & Arthritis:

A regular massage with mustard oil helps in relieving aching joints and muscles. Arthritis patients also experience relief and comfort after a massage with mustard oil, thanks to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids that help to ease stiffness and pain caused due to arthritis.[3]

Read More: Food For Arthritis to Eat & Avoid

  1. Immunity Booster:

The composition of mustard oil is based on our body requirement. This oil having <7% saturated fat, high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids ranges from 3.6-32.2%. It also contains a considerable amount of linoleic (18:2) and linolenic acids (18:3).

The optimum range of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E provides required nutritive value and boosts our immune system.[4]

  1. Reduces Diabetic Hazards:

The amount of vitamin E in the alpha-tocopherol present in mustard oil has beneficial effects to control diabetic hazards. [5]

Trans fat is the major cause of insulin failure and high oxidation of fat.[6] The absence of trans fat in mustard oil thus helps maintain insulin levels, which in turn regulates our blood sugar levels.

Other Uses Of Mustard Oil:

  • Effective Massage Oil:

Massage in infancy with mustard oil improves growth and post-massage sleep.

Massage with mustard oil improved the weight, length, and midarm and midleg circumferences as compared to infants without massage.[7].

  • Promotes Oral Health:

Mustard oil helps strengthen your gums and makes it easier to remove the plaque. Plaque is generally formed due to bacteria that is surrounded by fatty membranes. Swishing mustard oil in our mouth can help loosen the fat-soluble bacteria and further avoid gum bleeding.

  • Amazing Hair:

Mustard oil contains alpha fatty acids that keep our hair hydrated, lively and help them to grow faster. Mustard oil is also a rich source of antioxidants, minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium, and vitamins like A, D, E and K, all of which are important for hair growth.

Anti-fungal properties of mustard oil also prevent the development of fungus and dandruff in our scalp. Read more about home remedies for dandruff.

  • Good for Our Skin:

Mustard oil is rich in vitamin B complex, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. This reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps to remove tan from the skin. Mustard oil also works wonders if you have chapped lips.

The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of this oil prevent the development of acne and keep our skin clean and glowy.

Read More: 7 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin

  • Used as a Mosquito Repellent :

The pungent and strong smell of mustard oil makes it a natural mosquito repellent. Rub few drops mustard oil on the skin and drive mosquitoes away.

How to use mustard oil for various benefits?

  1. Mustard oil can be used for cooking food and frying. In this way, it boosts immunity and is good for our heart and diabetics.
  2. It acts as a preservative when added to pickles and chutneys.
  3. To clear our respiratory system from congestion, inhale steam containing mustard oil.
  4. Massage our feet and chest with a mixture of mustard oil, garlic and ajwain to get relief from cold and cough.
  5. Consuming a teaspoon of mustard oil and honey helps in various respiratory problems.
  6. Using mustard oil for oil pulling kills bacteria and prevents bleeding of gums.
  7. Rubbing a paste of mustard oil, turmeric and salt on our teeth and gums; makes them healthy.
  8. A mixture of mustard oil and coconut oil can be used to massage our entire body.

Side Effects of Using Mustard Oil:

  • Mustard oil contains Erucic acid. As per research in the United States, Erucic acid has toxic effects on the heart at high enough doses. Consumption of mustard oil is thereby banned in the US.
  • Long-term topical application of mustard oil can have harmful effects on the skin. It can even cause minor to major skin blisters.
  • Excessive consumption of mustard oil can cause rhinitis in which the mucous membrane tends to get inflamed.
  • Pregnant women should avoid consumption of mustard oil as it contains a few chemical compounds that are harmful to them as well as the growing foetus.

Mustard oil is commonly known by a variety of names like:

  • Sarson ka tel in Hindi
  • Sarsay tel in Bengali
  • Kadugu  Ennai in Tamil
  • Avanune in Telugu
  • Rainu tel in Gujarati
  • Mohariche tel in Marathi
  • Kadugenna in Malyalam
  • Sorisha tela in Oriya

Also Read: 15 Amazing Health Benefits of Ghee

About the author

Dr Prachi Garg

A Gold Medallist Physiotherapist from the Maharashtra University
of Health Sciences (MUHS), and also a qualified Dietician who later
went on to establish the “Mera Health Genie Wellness, India” in 2009
with a vision to offer the best remedies possible through the medium
of alternative medicines.
Effectively used Physiotherapy, Diet and Nutrition, Yoga, and
Acupressure to help numerous people recover from an injury or
manage a long term problem, achieving fitness goals, managing
weight and well being.

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