Is mustard healthy? The most important questions and answers

Ist Senf gesund? Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

In any case, mustard is healthy. This is because it is an important spice with healing abilities. There are many reasons for this: In particular, mustard can be helpful in preventing certain types of cancer. In addition, mustard also has an antibacterial effect and can be used as a natural remedy against bacteria and viruses.

The saying that mustard should make you stupid comes from a confusion with the similarly named cyanogenic mustard oils. These contain toxic hydrogen cyanide substances that can damage the brain in the long term. When producing mustard oil, however, no toxic hydrogen cyanide substances are usually produced. So you don't have to worry about that when buying a mustard product. These substances are often found in bitter almonds or bamboo shoots.

the essentials in brief

  • Ingredients in mustard can have a preventive effect against cancer and, for example, neutralize the toxic substances when eating roasted meat. Also, if you have bladder cancer, eating mustard may help reduce the spread of tumors.
  • There are also healthy mustard masks for the skin. This mask can also be used as a natural home remedy for acne or wrinkles. But be careful: face masks containing mustard can also cause skin redness.
  • Additionally, it can be a healthy way to help build muscle and burn fat. Mustard has healthy benefits that you can use for your well-being.

Mustard and health: what you should know

Mustard can be really useful for your health. The hot spice has a variety of benefits for the skin, digestion and much more. We would then like to explain to you what makes mustard so healthy and what you should consider before eating it.

Why is mustard healthy and where does it come from?

In Germany, the healthy mustard plant first became native in the 10th century. But thousands of years earlier, the Egyptians and Romans used the plant as a spice and preservative. It originally comes from the Mediterranean region.

mustard plants

Mustard plants can grow up to 1.30 meters high and flower annually. There are many uses for the coveted mustard seeds. These are in an elongated pod. (Image source: unsplash/ toinane )

Mustard plants can grow up to 1.30 meters tall. They grow straight and have yellow flowers. The small seeds that are used to make mustard are in a long pod on the side. Depending on the plant species, there are white, black and yellow grains. In addition, the mustard plant belongs to the botanical family of cruciferous plants. These include rocket, horseradish and cress. As a side note, mustard seeds are also part of the Ayurvedic diet .

Mustard is healthy because on the one hand it has an antibacterial effect and can therefore help against bacteria and viruses. On the other hand, it can stimulate the intestines and digestion. Furthermore, regular consumption of mustard is said to prevent cancer in the stomach, intestines and abdomen.

Is Mustard a Healthy Condiment for Preventing Cancer?

Carcinogenic substances can be neutralized by consuming hot mustard. These are ingested through food. For example, when roasting / grilling meat, carcinogenic substances are produced which can damage the genetic material through the effect of the resulting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. However, the ingredients in the mustard can render the toxins harmless.(1) For this reason, a mustard sauce should definitely not be missing from your barbecue evenings.

Mustard is healthy to counteract carcinogens and prevent certain types of cancer.(3)

In addition, another study found that mustard can also effectively protect against bladder cancer. The growth of the tumors could be reduced by up to 34.4%. In the muscle tissue of the bladder, it was even possible to prevent cancer growth altogether. The anti-cancer effect is attributed to the so-called isothiocyanites, which have the special ability to break down toxic substances in the body.(2)

It has been clearly established that hot mustard is generally more effective against carcinogenic substances than mild versions.(1) Mustard oil extract can also reduce tumor growth, especially in the large intestine. A Japanese study was able to prove: Intestinal polyps, which are considered precursors to colon cancer, could be reduced by 50%.(4)

Can I lose weight healthily with mustard?

Mustard stimulates the metabolism and can therefore help you to burn fat easily and healthily. Who knew mustard could actually help you lose weight? Just a teaspoon of mustard powder with your meal can help increase fat burning by up to 25%. Nevertheless, a bit of sport should not be missing when losing weight. Additional physical activity in the form of jogging or workouts is particularly suitable for this.

In addition, mustard is relatively low in calories and has only 12 kilocalories per 100 kilograms. The sharp taste of the mustard increases your body temperature and you burn more fat. Many delicious sauces can be made with mustard. The combination of hot mustard and sweet honey is especially good.

Can mustard have a positive effect on the skin?

Mustard also offers some benefits for the skin. First, you can treat acne with mustard. Secondly, you can also use it to smooth out your wrinkles. Accordingly, mustard is healthy and can be used as a natural home remedy in the form of a face mask.

mustard mask

A mustard skin mask can do wonders for your skin. It is said that mustard is said to work against both acne and wrinkles. But first you should test an allergic reaction to the hot mustard. (Image source: unsplash/ Fleur Kaan )

Mustard also contains vitamin A, which is good for the skin. As a result, mustard also has a pore-cleansing effect and conjures up a fresh complexion for your skin.

Is mustard good for digestion?

By adding some mustard to your food, you can easily stimulate your digestion. Mustard is a healthy way to boost digestive juices. This activates the production of gastric, bile and salivary juices. This means that greasy food can be digested better. In addition, there is also the benefit that you should not get heartburn from greasy food.(5)

It is important to mention that mustard kills the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium is responsible for cancers that develop in the stomach.(5) So consuming mustard is highly recommended for gastrointestinal health. In this article you can read in general how to maintain a healthy intestinal flora .

Can you promote muscle building with mustard in a healthier way?

Of course, mustard can't work miracles and just conjure up muscles. Therefore sport is also indispensable. A protein-rich diet is also very helpful for building muscle. Nevertheless, mustard can definitely help to promote muscle growth. One study has shown that the mustard plant helps muscles to grow naturally.(6)

Additionally, mustard can also aid in muscle multiplication.

The North Carolina University study, however, refers to the reaction of test rats. The rats were given the steroid contained in the mustard plant for a period of 24 days. For the researchers, the results in the rats were already very promising. In this way, the researchers hope to find a long-term solution to muscle weakness.(6)

How is mustard used to promote health in folk medicine?

In folk medicine, mustard is a tried and tested medicinal plant that can promote health. There are many different uses of mustard. These include: mustard ointments, mustard wraps and mustard baths. All variants have a circulation-promoting effect.

symptoms Application
Cold and flu: Mustard oils also have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory effects. This allows the paranasal sinuses and airways to be freed from excess mucus. In addition, the Justus Liebig University has proven that mustard oils are effective against the spread of influenza viruses.(7)
Headache: You can also use mustard wraps for headaches. Oddly enough, these are wrapped around the soles of the feet.
Joint diseases (osteoarthritis): Applying mustard to the painful joint area can warm it up. As a result, the resulting heat conduction leads to pain relief. At least it means that fewer pain impulses reach the brain.

All mustard varieties contain mustard oil glycosides, which irritate the skin and thereby promote blood circulation. In this way, inflammation / pain can be counteracted. According to another study by the University of Heidelberg, mustard can also act as a natural antibiotic for certain diseases of the mouth and throat.(8)

Is mustard a healthy tool to fight bacteria?

In 2014, researchers at the University of Manitoba found that mustard is effective against the well-known EHEC bacteria. These occur, for example, in sausage. In rare cases, they cause life-threatening diarrhea. But there is an enzyme in mustard called myrosinase. This enzyme is useful for reducing the EHEC bacteria in the sausage.(9)

mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are beneficial to health for many reasons. This also includes the fact that they work against certain bacteria called EHEC bacteria. These bacteria are found in meat and can cause severe diarrhea. (Image source: unsplash/ Nisuda Nirmantha )

Unfortunately, EHEC bacteria are found in meat again and again. These enter the food chain when the animals are slaughtered/milked. A little mustard with your food is a healthy way to fight bacteria.

What side effects can too much mustard consumption have on health?

In the form of mustard masks, you should test in advance whether the mixture does not trigger an allergic reaction in you. This is mainly because mustard can be very irritating to the skin. Therefore, redness may occur during use.

In the worst case even skin burns. So test the mask on your hand beforehand and wait a few minutes to see if your skin reacts. Even if the mustard mask does not trigger an allergic reaction, you should not always use face masks of this type.

Be sure to check mustard preparations for allergic skin reactions before using them externally.

In general, it is not recommended to use black mustard externally in children under the age of 6, in the case of existing kidney diseases or in the case of varicose veins. The application of mustard should also be avoided on sensitive parts of the body, such as mucous membranes or the face. The strength of the active ingredient can also lead to nerve damage.(10) The fumes produced by mustard baths can also cause severe irritation of the eyes and bronchi.

Even if mustard should actually help against heartburn, you first have to get to the bottom of the cause of the heartburn. Is it because of the greasy food or does it have other causes? For other causes of heartburn, mustard can also make heartburn worse. So first find out the reason for your heartburn.

What alternatives are there to healthy table mustard?

Mustard is not just mustard: You can obtain various raw materials from the mustard plant. These are usually made from mustard seeds. The grains can be yellow, white or black.

According to the German Society for Nutrition, mustard seeds promote blood circulation, also stimulate digestion and also have an anti-inflammatory effect. These can be easily absorbed through digestion. The mustard seeds also have an antioxidant effect.(11) They also have different forms and areas of application, which we would like to introduce to you in more detail.

kind effect and use
mustard flour: Can be used as a remedy in the form of mustard baths, mustard wraps or compresses. The healthy mustard flour is effective against arthrosis, colds, headaches and bronchitis. Often made from yellow mustard seeds
mustard oil: Unlike the other types, mustard oil is not particularly hot. It works primarily against muscle tension, warms the skin and promotes blood circulation. Mustard oil can stimulate digestion in a healthy way.

All mustard variants have their own advantages, which you can choose freely depending on your consumption preferences. Some may prefer to use oil preparations instead of mustard flour. We will then briefly introduce you to the advantages and disadvantages of mustard oil and mustard flour.

mustard oil

The pungent essential oils of mustard oil distinguish this as a useful healing oil. Caution: The effect can only unfold in combination with water. So the mustard oil only gets its pungent taste when it is mixed with water.

Mustard oil can relieve muscle tension, promotes blood circulation and has an analgesic effect. Mustard oil poultices can also help with colds because they work against bacteria and viruses and strengthen the immune system. They also free the bronchi from mucus.

  • antibacterial (good against cold)
  • good for muscle tension
  • frees bronchi from mucus
  • Mustard oil with erucic acid outside only
  • in some mustard oils erucic acid (risk of heart disease)
  • Mustard oil contains both omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids. But the fatty acid erucic acid can also occur. According to the European Food Safety Authority, however, this fatty acid is suspected of being associated with heart disease.(12) Cultivated mustard plants are considered harmless in this regard. Therefore, before buying, make sure that the product has been approved in the EU. Mustard oil with a lot of erucic acid is only used for external use.

    mustard flour

    Before using mustard flour, you should make sure that the mustard flour does not cause an allergic skin reaction. It can cause skin burns and severe redness during use.

    In this case, you should stop the treatment, as in the worst case it can lead to skin burns. You can use mustard powder compresses against bronchitis by making a chest compress. As neck compresses, they also work against sinus infections.

    • good for bronchitis
    • good for sinus infections
  • Skin burning and redness
  • Not suitable for certain pre-existing conditions/small children
  • It must be mentioned that they are unsuitable for children under 6 years of age, people with kidney diseases, varicose veins and neurodermatitis. In addition, you should not use mustard flour if you suffer from circulatory disorders or heart disease. In addition, you should avoid using mustard powder wraps even if you have a high fever. The use of mustard flour should therefore be carefully considered beforehand and discussed with your doctor.


    Mustard has many benefits that can have a positive impact on health. This also applies to the skin: mustard masks can have a rejuvenating and cleansing effect. However, it is also clear that the spiciness of the mustard can lead to skin reactions, especially when used externally. So you should first check in the crook of your arm how you react to the mustard mixture.

    Mustard is definitely healthy and has been a natural remedy since ancient times. The ingredients can counteract carcinogenic substances. These carcinogenic substances are produced, for example, when roasting / grilling meat. Mustard can also help counteract the growth of some tumors. Studies show this effect especially in colon and bladder cancer. Mustard also has a healthy effect on digestion and stimulates fat burning.


    1. Mersch-Sundermann (2012): The sharper, the better. Mustard consumption to prevent cancer. Newspaper of the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. Source
    2. Bhattacharya, Arup. Li, Yun. Wade, Kristina L. Wade et al. (2010) : Allyl isothiocynate. rich mustard seed powder inhibits bladder cancer growth and muscle invasion. DOI: 10.1093/carcin/bgq202 Source
    3. Friedland, Lina Putri-Ayu (2010): Possibilities of cancer prevention through glucosinolates in the diet. Hamburg University of Applied Science Diploma thesis. Source
    4. Dwivedi, Chandradhar. A. Muller, Laurie. et al (2003): Chemopreventive effects of dietary mustard oil on colon tumor development. Source
    5. Al Naqib, Inas Mariam (2019): Natural remedies versus conventional medicine. Norderstedt Books on Demand. DOI: 10.1016/s0304-3835(03)00211-8. Source
    6. Daily Mail Reporter (2011): Fitness fanatics should reach for the mustard and not spinach if they want to look like Popeye. Daily Mail Online Source
    7. Pleschka, Stefan (2010): Influenza viruses. Current studies on the antiviral effect of mustard oils from nasturtium and horseradish. Institute for Medical Virology, Justus Liebig University Gießen. Source
    8. Acorn, Vanessa. Biehler, Klaus (2020): Antimicrobial effects of mustard oil-containing plants against oral pathogens: an in vitro study. University of Heidelberg. DOI: 10.1186/s12906-020-02953-0. Source
    9. Nadarajah, D.; Han, JH et al (2005) Use of mustard flour to inactivate Escherchia coli 0157:H7 in gorund beef under nitrogen flushed packaging. International journal of food microbiology. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2004.08.018. Source
    10. Olberts, Leonard (2018): Black Mustard. Source
    11. DGE (2012): Secondary plant substances and their effects on health. Source
    12. European Food Safety Authority (2016): Erucic acid potential health risk for heavily exposed children. Source
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