Mustard oil nutrition: glycemic index, calories and diets
Complete nutrition and health benefits analysis for Mustard oil
Mustard oil is derived from the seeds of the mustard plant. The term can be used to refer to both, the vegetable oil and the essential oil, however the two are produced through different methods and have separate qualities and uses. The mustard vegetable oil is produced by pressing the seeds, whereas to attain the mustard essential oil, the seeds have to be grinded, merged with water and later distilled by steaming. Vegetable oil is usually used in cooking to satué or stir-fry vegetables. Mustard oils are cold pressed and unrefined. Essential oils, on the other hand, are more often used in traditional or alternative medicine to relieve stress as a massage oil, to improve skin conditions as a skin serum, to aid digestion and in many more ways. However essential oils could also be used for cooking.
Mustard oil is commonly used in South East Asian cultures, especially in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It has been banned for edible consumption in the USA, the UK and Canada, due to the fact that it contains a compound called erucic acid, which is believed to have negative health impacts, such as nutritional deficiencies and cardiac lesions (1). However research has not found compelling evidence to prove this. The essential oil of mustard, otherwise known as volatile mustard oil, is approved to use in food or as a flavouring.
Some summary information is displayed on our Mustard oil nutrition infographic
Mustard oil nutrition infographic
Vegetable oils are the fats that have been extracted from the seed or the plant, so naturally, much like other oils, mustard oil is monotonous in its nutritional composition.
Macronutrients and Calories
The macronutrient composition of mustard oil is fairly simple. It fully consists of fats. Mustard oil contains no carbohydrates and no protein. This oil also has no trans fats and as a plant based product contains no cholesterol.
Mustard oil contains more fats than 99% of other foods. A 100g of mustard oil has 884 calories, responsible for a 154% of your daily value of the average caloric intake. However the serving size of this oil is only one tablespoon, equalling 14g.
The most interesting thing about the nutrition of mustard oil is its fat composition. It is very rich in monounsaturated fats, which make up for 64,3% of its nutrition. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are in second place with 21g, leaving saturated fats in the last place.
What gives the mustard oil its powerful smell is a fat molecule called allyl isothiocyanate. It is the same compound that gives mustard, horseradish and wasabi their specific tastes and scents.
Mustard oil contains no vitamins, except for vitamin E in the form of α-tocopherols (10).
Mustard oil contains minerals in insignificant amounts.
The health impact of mustard oil is an interesting topic, due to the fact that it is used in traditional medicine in one part of the world and banned for its supposed negative effects in the other.
Mustard allergies often manifest in people who are allergic to it right after consuming any product that is derived from mustard plants, such as mustard oil, mustard seeds, mustard or cress and others. The general symptoms follow the food allergy pattern with rashes, a feeling of itching, tingling or swelling in the mouth, as part of the oral allergy syndrome, nausea and vomiting. More serious symptoms can be difficulty of breathing, severe asthma and anaphylaxis. Symptoms tend to occur anywhere between a few minutes to two hours after eating.
The major allergen found in mustard seeds is a heat resistant protein that is also resistant to degradation by proteolytic enzymes, therefore processing and cooking the seeds does not get rid of the allergen (2).
According to European Union laws, mustard is one of the 14 major allergens that has to be listed on a pre packaged product that contains it, even if it appears in small quantities. The reason for that is the prevalence of mustard allergies in some European countries, such as France and Spain. However it appears to occur much more rarely in the UK (3). Mustard is also considered a priority food allergen by Health Canada (4).
People suffering from a mustard allergy are much more likely to be sensitized to other allergens. Some researchers believe that mustard sensitivity should be routinely tested in patients with idiopathic anaphylaxis (5).
Mustard allergens were proven to have cross-reactivity between mugwort pollen, one of the main sources of hay fever and allergic asthma, nuts, legumes, corn and fruits of Rosaceae family, which includes apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries and some berries (6).
Mustard plant belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also include cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and canola. People with a mustard allergy should also be wary of those foods, since they can contain proteins that are very similar to the proteins in mustard seeds.
Canola oils tend to be refined to the point of containing almost no proteins, so highly refined canola oil poses no threat to people with a mustard allergy. However cold pressed canola oil, being less refined can contain residual protein and should be avoided. Rapeseed oil can also be cold pressed and potentially pose a risk (7).
Mustard allergy is diagnosed by a skin prick test or through antibodies in a blood test. People with a mustard allergy are advised to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them, if they are going to eat anything.
A study about the effects of edible oils in type 2 diabetes mellitus concluded that mustard oil was second in place based on its benefits, after sesame oil. Mustard oil increased the levels of high density lipoprotein, which is called the “good” cholesterol. It absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver to later remove from the body. It was not found to have a significant role in decreasing low density lipoprotein, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Mustard oil also had some effects in decreasing very low density lipoprotein (8).
Proper use of traditional cooking oils, such as mustard could reduce the risk of dyslipidemia, atherosclerotic heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Mustard oil is said to enhance the activity of pancreatic beta cells and increase insulin secretion. It also contains elaidic acid, as well as vitamin E, which are said to have protective qualities in diabetic conditions (9).
Some research has indicated that trans fats are a major cause of insulin failure and high oxidation of fat. The absence of trans fats in mustard oil can be beneficial in insulin control in the body (10).
Mustard oil contains phytonutrients such as glucosinolate, which has antibiotic, fungicidal and anticarcinogenic effects. This phytonutrient is also said to protect against colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers (10).
Glucosinolates are also called mustard oil glycosides, from which mustard oils are enzymatically hydrolyzed. It also has strong antioxidant qualities, which protect the cell DNA from damage, therefore it inhibits mutations and potential oncogenesis. In particular, a glycoside called sulforaphane, which can also be found in high amounts in other plants of the Brassicaceae family broccoli and its sprouts, has been studied to target the most malignant cancer stem cells, which are normally not affected by conventional cancer treatments (11).
Mustard oil can also be effective in protecting against and preventing colon cancer due to its high concentration of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (12).
Another compound that mustard oil is rich in is the allyl isothiocyanate organosulfur. It has expressed a broad spectrum of anticancer qualities in both culture cancer cell lines and in animal tumor models, as well as inhibiting the growth of various human cancer cell lines, such as colorectal carcinoma, lung cancer, leukemia, breast adenocarcinoma, bladder cancer, neuroblastoma, hepatoma and prostate cancer cells. These effects most probably involve mechanisms like DNA damage, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Allyl isothiocyanate has a potential use in cancer treatment (13).
However one study found that consuming high amounts of mustard oil can lead to a greater risk of gallbladder cancer. Therefore, reduced consumption of mustard oil might have a preventative effect on gallbladder cancer (14).
One research has concluded that using mustard oil instead of sunflower oil when frying, can lead to a decreased risk of developing ischemic heart disease, due to the concentration of α-linoleic acid contained in mustard oil. α-Linoleic acid reduces the adhesion and aggregation qualities of blood platelets, therefore decreasing the risk of thrombosis and myocardial infarction (15).
Mustard oil can also be one of the healthiest choices among edible oils, due to its favourable linoleic acid to α-linoleic acid ratio, low saturated fatty acids, high monounsaturated fatty acid content, along with its relative stability during cooking. Epidemiologic studies among Indians suggest that consumption of mustard oil can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (16).
However another study showed a positive correlation between coronary heart disease and an increased consumption of mustard oil. This may be due to the high oleic and erucic acid content. The study suggests that the total consumption of mustard oil per month should be less than 1.75-2.06L (17). The use of ghee, an Indian clarified butter, in the kitchen may be favourable over mustard oil use for the blood lipid profile (18).
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial, compared mustard oil and fish oil to placebo treatment in individuals with suspected acute myocardial infarction. After one year, the groups using mustard and fish oils expressed significantly less total cardiac events. The mustard oil and fish oil groups also showed significant reduction in the numbers of nonfatal infarctions, total cardiac arrhythmias, left ventricular enlargement and angina pectoris. These effects may be due to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids and reduced oxidative stress (19).
One study found the use of mustard oil alone to have ambivalent results in blood lipid levels. However a mixture of mustard and sunflower oil showed a favourable result, decreasing the levels of total cholesterol, low density cholesterol, very low density cholesterol and increasing the level of high density cholesterols (20).
Mustard oil has also been suggested to have digestion stimulating, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiallergic, anti inflammatory, pain relieving and other effects (10), as well as abilities to reduce body temperature, protect eyes and throat irritation, protect children from asthma, allergic cold and asthmatic eczema (21).
Erucic Acid Concerns
Mustard oil is banned in several countries, the USA, the UK and Canada, due to its high concentration of erucic acid. Nevertheless, the negative impact of erucic acid on human health has not been proven yet.
Erucic acid is a long-chain monounsaturated fatty acid. It constitutes around 30-60% of the total fatty acids of a mustard seed (22).
There have been early reports that erucic acid causes transient myocardial lipolysis in rats, characterized by accumulation of fat droplets in myocardial fibers, followed by focal myocardial necrosis and fibrosis (23). However, there’s a possibility that rats are not an appropriate model for these studies, since they are potentially incapable of physiologically metabolising such high concentrations of oil in a diet. There is also some evidence that the fatty acid metabolism of rats is different from the metabolism of pigs and primates, making rats much more susceptible to myocardial lipidosis (22).
It has been suggested that the erucic acid content in mustard oil may counterbalance its positive effect of linoleic acid on cardiovascular health, by increasing the levels of triglycerides and low density cholesterols. However other studies suggest that the overall effect of mustard oil on cardiovascular health is beneficial (15).
The oil of rapeseed, another flowering member of the mustard family, also contains very high levels of erucic acid. Although the rapeseed grown India has a higher erucic acid content, when compared to rapeseed plants grown in Europe and North America (24).
The available studies indicate that accumulation of erucic acid can be found in the myocardium of individuals consuming significant amounts of mustard and rapeseed oil. However it has not been associated with any observed heart damage in humans. The available evidence does not indicate a relation between myocardial lesions or significant myocardial lipidosis and the consumption of foods high in erucic acid (22).
Mustard oil contains no carbohydrates, therefore has a glycemic index of 0.
The acidity of mustard oil based on the Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) is equal to 0.
The serving size of mustard oil is one tablespoon, which is equivalent to 14g.
Mustard oil has a high smoke point of 480°F (250°C), because of this it is considered a good cooking oil. Mustard oil can also be used as flavouring.
Storing, Keeping & Conservation
It is best to store mustard oil in the refrigerator, otherwise it will go rancid (25). Mustard oil should not be exposed to heat and light. It should be kept in the refrigerator for only six months to a year (26).
Mustard oil blends can be kept for up to 12 months in the correct conditions and can be stored at room temperature (27).
Mustard Oil in Diets
Mustard oil can be a good choice for an edible oil in a keto diet, since it completely consists of fats and contains no carbohydrates (28).
Although mustard oil contains no minerals, including sodium, no trans fats and no cholesterol, studies about mustard oil and cardiovascular health can be contradictory. However The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found negative correlation between mustard oil use and ischemic heart disease (15).
The DASH diet recommends vegetable oils over other oil (29). This can include mustard oil.
Consuming fats is an essential part of the Atkins diet. You are allowed to have 3 tablespoons of pure vegetable oil a day (30). That is equal to 3 serving sizes of mustard oil.
The use of olive oil in a Mediterranean diet is much more common, however you can increase your intake of monounsaturated fatty acids by also adding mustard oil to your diet (31).
Vegetable oils, including mustard oil, suit the paleo diet.
Vegan/ Vegetarian/ Pescatarian
Mustard oil is derived from mustard plants and can be included in these diets.
A big part of the Dukan diet is lowering your fat intake, so you cannot use mustard oil, or any other oil, freely at any point in this diet. You can only use a couple drops of it for frying in the Attack phase. Starting from the Cruise phase you can use only one teaspoon of mustard oil a day (32).
You can use mustard oil during the eating periods, but not during the fasting periods.
Low Fat & Low Calorie
Mustard oil consists completely of fats and one tablespoon of it contains about 125 calories. It is better to avoid mustard oil, as most oils, in a low fat and low calorie diet.
Containing no carbohydrates, mustard oil fits this diet.
The essential oil of mustard has been traditionally used as a pain reliever and an anti inflammatory agent. Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as allyl isothiocyanate, which mustard oil is rich in, have been studied to have anti inflammatory effects (33, 34). However there is not enough research to say whether mustard oil can be useful in an anti inflammatory diet.
You can include moderate amounts of vegetable oil in a BRAT diet, however fried food and raw vegetables are to be avoided (35).
Consumption and Production
Consumption of mustard oil has grown about 5 percent per year for the past 40 years and currently stands at approximately 2.3 million metric tons of production annually (36).
The use of mustard oil in cooking is banned in the USA, the UK and Canada and can only be used for external use or as a flavoring agent.
Consumption and production of mustard oil is common in South East Asian countries, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Mustard oil is the third consumed oil in India, after palm and soybean oil (36).
Important nutritional characteristics for Mustard oil
Mustard oil Glycemic index (GI)
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NEW NUTRITION FACTS LABEL
Serving Size ______________
Vitamin chart - relative view
Fat type information
All nutrients for Mustard oil per 100g
|Nutrient||DV%||In TOP % of foods||Value||Comparison|
|Fats||154%||1%||100g||3 times more than Cheese|
|Calories||34%||1%||884kcal||18.8 times more than Orange|
|Folic acid (B9)||0%||100%||0µg||N/A|
|Saturated Fat||58%||10%||11.58g||2 times more than Beef|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0%||8%||59.19g||6 times more than Avocado|
|Polyunsaturated fat||0%||9%||21.23g||2.2 times less than Walnut|