The term mustard oil is used for two different oils that are made from mustard seeds:
- A fatty vegetable oil resulting from pressing the seeds,
- An essential oil resulting from grinding the seeds, mixing them with water, and extracting the resulting volatile oil by distillation.
The pungency of mustard oil is due to the presence of allyl isothiocyanate, an activator of the TRPA1 channel.
This oil has a distinctive pungent taste, characteristic of all plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family (for example, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, radish, horseradish or wasabi). It is often used for cooking in North India, Eastern India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Nepal, it is the traditionally preferred oil for cooking. The oil makes up about 30% of the mustard seeds. It can be produced from black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white mustard (B. hirta).
The characteristic pungent flavour of mustard oil is due to allyl isothiocyanate. Mustard oil has about 60% monounsaturated fatty acids (42% erucic acid and 12% oleic acid); it has about 21% polyunsaturated fats (6% the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and 15% the omega-6 linoleic acid), and it has about 12% saturated fats.
Mustard Oil Nutrition
Mustard seed from India is the source of most mustard oil as the seed variety is more pungent and hotter than Mediterranean mustard seeds. Use mustard oil as a flavourful addition to your cooked dishes by heating it first. Once the oil reaches its smoke point, it develops a subtle, mellow flavour. Like any other oil, mustard oil adds calories while enhancing your favourite recipes.
The standard serving size for oils is 1 tablespoon. When you cook with oil, you may likely use more oil in the pan, but cooking quickly reduces the amount of oil that your food absorbs. If you plan to use this oil for salad dressing or sauces, the standard serving is 2 tablespoons.
Calories and Fat
Mustard oil contains 124 calories per tablespoon. It contains 14g of fat, which contributes to all of its calories. The fat in mustard oil, which equals 8.3g per tablespoon, is mostly monounsaturated. The polyunsaturated fat content in 1 tablespoon. equals 2.9g, while the saturated fat content equals 1.6g. In comparison to other popular cooking oils, mustard oil has a lower monounsaturated fat content than olive, flax-seed, grape seed and peanut oil.
A tablespoon. of mustard oil has no carbohydrates, fibre or protein. It does not contain any vitamins or minerals. Like other vegetable sources, Mustard oil contains alpha- linolenic acid or ALA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. This acid in the oil’s polyunsaturated content is one that your body cannot make. You must get it from food. Omega-3 fatty acids act as antioxidants, which help your body fight off diseases, protect heart health and possibly keep brain cells healthy. One tablespoon. of mustard oil contains 0.8g of omega-3 fatty acid, compared to a tablespoon. of soybean oil, which has 0.9g. Canola oil has 1.3g and flaxseed oil has 7.3g.
Substitute for Mustard Oil
If you don’t have mustard seed oil you can substitute 2 tablespoon vegetable oil + 1 teaspoon dry mustard such as Colman’s, per 2 tablespoons needed.
Mustard oil has been used for centuries as a food additive, miracle cure-all and even an aphrodisiac. And even though its prodigious claims may not have held up, mustard oil remains a common diet staple in India and Bangladesh. The oil is made from crushed or pressed mustard seeds, and can be purchased at almost any Indian grocery store. Mustard oil has had a tumultuous history — at one point even being thought of as toxic to humans — but it’s beginning to enter the mainstream as an accepted health food.
Incorporating mustard oil into your diet may help protect against heart disease, according to a study in the April 2004 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” The oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, both of which help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Improving your cholesterol balance will also help lower triglycerides, or blood fat levels, which can in turn prevent obesity, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism, in addition to improving heart health.
Mustard oil is thought to work as an antibacterial agent when taken both internally and externally, and as an anti-fungal when used externally. Internally, it can fight bacteria infections in the colon, intestines, and other parts of the digestive tract. Externally, it can treat both bacterial and fungal infections when applied directly to the skin. In fact, researchers from the Armed Forces Institute, reporting in the October 2004 issue of the “Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons” state that a 1 to 1 mixture of honey and mustard oil is effective at killing dental bacteria and may be useful in root canal treatments.
Mustard oil is often applied externally, especially during massages. The oil has high levels of vitamin E, which helps improve skin health. It can help protect the skin against free radicals from ultraviolet light and pollution, and can even help reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, when rubbed into the skin, the vitamin E in the oil can help promote circulation and immunity. A study in the June 2007 issue of the “Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition” reports that even though mustard oil is routinely used in India as a massage oil for newborns, it has the potential to be toxic to the skin. Use caution when you use it for the first time to see if your skin reacts with a rash or swelling.