Mustard Oil – the Immunity Builder

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New Delhi: In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, a slew of Indian manufacturers have been advertising food products ranging from muesli and breakfast cereal to fortified bread, biscuits, flavoured beverages, honey and chyawanprash – not to mention certain Ayurvedic formulations – that rather brazenly offer immunity. Experts in the field have cautioned consumers against these claims, saying such shortcuts for boosting the bodys defences “solely out of bottles” is not an ideal solution.

Speaking on this issue Simran Saini, a prominent Delhi-based Nutritionist and Weight-loss Consultant, said: “During the Coronavirus pandemic, many companies are highlighting their products as immunity boosters. This can be a dangerous trend especially because consumers, fearing infection from this virus, are grasping at anything that promises immunity boosting.” Manisha Chopra, another Nutritionist, Dietician and fitness expert, fully concurred, saying: “Boost your immunity by all means but let it not be at the cost of common sense!”

“We all know prevention is better than cure! No doubt, the idea that you can avoid the dreaded Coronavirus by boosting your immunity is appealing. But, till the world gets a well-tested and well-researched grip on how to stop Coronavirus, we are all shooting in the dark,” Chopra said.

These nutritionists were, however, in agreement on the use of mustard oil as an immunity builder, both as a cooking medium and for non-edible purposes.

“Mustard oil is an ancient oil full of health benefits for our body outside and inside,” Simran Saini said, adding: “Starting with the powerful properties this oil has, it is loaded with Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) that are essential for maintaining a healthy cholesterol balance in our body. Also being rich in Alpha Linoleic Acid it is a protector of our cardiac functions. Using mustard oil in Indian cooking is an old tradition and offers a wide range of health benefits.”

Umesh Verma, the General Manager of Puri Oil Mills, makers of P Mark Mustard Oil said “Mustard oil’s Allyl Isothiocyanates (AITC) content has widely been studied as an antimicrobial agent. That’s why it is used as a remedy to treat colds, boost immunity; encourage hair growth, provide nourishment to the skin and numerous references to these attributes can even be found in Ayurveda.”

 “Mustard oil also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and helps in protecting our digestive tract from harmful infections,” Saini said.

She continued: “It also has a pungent property that makes it useful in clearing congestion and blocked sinuses. There are also various time-tested home remedies that are particularly useful in the current situation. For instance, if mustard oil is heated along with garlic cloves and the mixture is rubbed on the soles of the feet and on the chest during colds, coughs and congestion, it can provide significant relief.

Pragya Gupta, Assistant Director of the Delhi-based Mustard Research & Promotion Consortium (MRPC) has some interesting developments to share in this connection: “Earlier this year, there was a pilot study on the use of Mustard Seed Footbaths as a treatment for Respiratory Tract Infections.

Conducted by the Institute of Family Medicine, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, the study provided insights into the possibility of tackling Respiratory Tract Infections by leveraging the infection fighting attributes of mustard. It, therefore, seems possible that the same properties and treatments could be applied to preventing Covid-19 which is also known to attack and infect the respiratory tract.”

Here’s the bottom-line: if you are searching for trusted and reliable immunity boosters in these worrisome times brought on by the rapid spread of Coronavirus, there’s at least one product that is known to have powerful immunity building and decongestion properties — and that’s cold-pressed mustard oil.