Mustard oil nutrition: glycemic index, calories and diets
Mustard oil is derived from the seeds of the mustard plant. The term can be used to refer to both vegetable oil and essential oil; however, the two are produced through different methods and have separate qualities and uses.
Table of contents
The mustard vegetable oil is produced by pressing the seeds, whereas to attain the mustard essential oil, the seeds have to be ground, 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 Southeast Asian cultures, especially in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It has been banned for edible consumption in the USA, the UK, and Canada, because 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 for use in food or as a flavoring.
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. Mustard oil contains no carbohydrates and no protein. It consists entirely of fats.
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.
Mustard oil 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.
This oil also has no trans fats and, as a plant-based product, contains no cholesterol.
What gives the mustard oil its powerful smell is a fat molecule called allyl isothiocyanate. This same compound gives mustard, horseradish, and wasabi their specific tastes and scents.
Fat type information
Mustard oil contains no vitamins, except for vitamin E in the form of α-tocopherols (10).
Mustard oil contains minerals in insignificant amounts.
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.
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 harmful effects in the other.
Mustard allergies often manifest in people allergic to it right after consuming any product 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 severe symptoms can include difficulty 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 do not eliminate the allergen (2).
According to European Union laws, mustard is one of the 14 major food allergens that has to be listed on a prepackaged 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 primary sources of hay fever and allergic asthma, nuts, legumes, corn, and fruits of the Rosaceae family, including apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, and some berries (6).
The mustard plant belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and canola. People with a mustard allergy should be wary of those foods since they can contain very similar proteins as 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, being less refined, cold-pressed canola oil can contain residual protein and should be avoided. Rapeseed oil can also be cold-pressed and potentially pose a health 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 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 increases the levels of high-density lipoprotein, which is called the “good” cholesterol. It absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver to be later removed from the body. It was not found to significantly decrease low-density lipoprotein, 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 and vitamin E, which have protective qualities in diabetic conditions (9).
Some research has indicated that trans fats are a major cause of insulin failure and high fat oxidation. 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 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 typically not affected by conventional cancer treatments (11).
Mustard oil can also effectively protect against and prevent colon cancer due to its high concentration of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (12).
Another compound that mustard oil is rich in is allyl isothiocyanate organosulfur. It has expressed a broad spectrum of anticancer qualities in both culture cancer cell lines and animal tumor models. It has also inhibited 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 probably involve mechanisms like DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. Allyl isothiocyanate has 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 favorable linoleic acid to α-linoleic acid ratio, low saturated fat, high monounsaturated fat 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 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).
In the kitchen, the use of ghee, an Indian clarified butter, may be favorable over mustard oil 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 fewer total cardiac events. The mustard oil and fish oil groups also showed significantly reduced 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 favorable result, decreasing the levels of total cholesterol, low-density cholesterol, very low-density cholesterol, and increasing high-density cholesterols levels (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 from eye 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 metabolizing such high concentrations of oil. 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 the 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 in 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 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 flavoring.
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 stored at room temperature (27).
Mustard Oil in Diets
|Keto||Mustard oil can be a good choice for 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 a 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.
|Atkins||Consuming fats is an essential part of the Atkins diet. You can have 3 tablespoons of pure vegetable oil a day (30). That is equal to 3 serving sizes of mustard oil.|
|Mediterranean||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).|
|Paleo||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.|
|Dukan||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 of 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).|
|Intermittent Fasting||You can use mustard oil during eating periods but not during fasting.|
|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, like most oils, in a low-fat and low-calorie diet.|
|Low Carb||As mustard oil contains no carbohydrates, it fits this diet.|
|Anti Inflammatory||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.|
|BRAT||You can include moderate amounts of vegetable oil in a BRAT diet; however, fried food and raw vegetables should 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 are common in Southeast 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)
All nutrients for Mustard oil per 100g
|Nutrient||Value||DV%||In TOP % of foods||Comparison|
|Calories||884kcal||44%||1%||18.8 times more than Orange|
|Fats||100g||154%||1%||3 times more than Cheese|
|Vitamin A RAE||0µg||0%||100%|
|Saturated Fat||11.58g||58%||10%||2 times more than Beef|
|Monounsaturated Fat||59.19g||N/A||8%||6 times more than Avocado|
|Polyunsaturated fat||21.23g||N/A||9%||2.2 times less than Walnut|
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NUTRITION FACTS LABEL
Serving Size ______________
Mustard oil nutrition infographic
The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article and glycemic index text the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.