Mustard Oil: The Composition

The nutritional significance of Mustard Oil has the unique distinction of having been discovered at a time when our much revered scriptures, the Vedas, were being documented. Of course, there has been no looking back since then! Even the curious American phrase 'to cut the mustard' could not have been more aptly used to mean the accomplishment of something in an expert manner. It also refers to something that is genuine and not watered down. 


The many unique and superlative qualities of mustard are based on its nourishing power. 100 gm of mustard seed, when pounded or crushed, yield 35 gm of pure oil, which is a tremendous powerhouse of energy and vital micronutrients, as the data given below indicates.

Energy 541 k. cal
Moisture 8.5 g
Fat (saturated and unsaturated) 9.7 g
Carbohydrate 23.8 g
Protein 20 g
Minerals 4.2 g
Fibre 1.8 g

Mustard Oil, according to the American Heart Association, which lays down that saturated fat intake in our diets should be a bare minimum conforming to strict standards. In fact, Dr. S.C Manchanda, a world renowned cardiologist, claims that Mustard Oil's oxidative stability is unmatched. No other edible oil is more stable than that of Mustard Oil's intrinsic potential to remain unaffected by storage conditions, the processing environment and the concept of shelf life.

The fatty acid composition of common oil seed crops
M.S.O. has the highest quality of naturally available Linolenic acid, a mono unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) with heart-healthy properties. This fatty acid cannot be sourced externally from other foods.

The intense interest in the N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids has encouraged investigators to rethink the conventional wisdom on saturated and N-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. After rigorous research in the 1990s, there are now confirmed reports about mono unsaturated fatty acids being as effective or rather more effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Mustard oil is the richest source of MUFA and is, therefore, responsible for the low incidence of atherosclerosis in India as compared to the population of USA consuming a high proportion of dietary fats. It has also been suggested by the Heart Research Laboratory, Medical Hospital & Research Centre, Moradabad, that fish oil, possibly due to the presence of N-3 fatty acids, may provide rapid protective effects in patients with acute myocardial infarction.

Chemistry of Mustard
White Mustard contains an enzyme myrosin and a glucoside sinalbin, which yields upon hydrolysis, acrinyl isothiocynate, a pungent tasting but almost odourless oil. Sinalbin mustard oil is only slightly volatile with steam, and causes blisters on the skin. Seeds contain 7.2% moisture, 27.6% protein, 29.7% crude fat, 20.8% N-free extract, 10.3% fibre, and 4.5% ash (C.S.I.R. 1948-1976). Asian analyses suggest that the seed contains per 100g: 469 calories, 5.0% moisture, 26.4% protein, 36.3% fat, 28.2% total carbohydrate, 5.2% fibre, 4.1% ash, 410 mg Calcium, 613 mg Phosphorus, 20.9 mg Iron, 630 mg beta carotene equivalent, 0.40 mg thiamine, 0.31 mg riboflavin, 7.3 mg niacin, and 0 ascorbic acid.

Toxicity of Mustard
Seeds have a cathartic acid due to liberation of Hydrogen sulphide on contact with water. Large doses may produce sulphide poisoning, with cyanosis, etc. Troxler (1981) reports fatalities in 19 of 48 heifers fed white mustard.