Do you ever find yourself asking, why do I crave mustard? If so, why do you think that is?
In this blog post, we will answer this question and more about why people crave this uniquely flavorful and sometimes spicy food.
There’s no doubt that mustard is a popular item to crave, most notably because of its taste.
Mustard also provides a variety of flavors (“flavor” is combination of taste, odor and chemical sensations), which is a less common reason most people don’t consider.
However if the body lacks calcium (or thiamine, manganese or selenium) then it might also be craving mustard as a result.
We will also discuss the benefits of mustard and what happens if you eat too much mustard!
1 – Delectable Taste
There are a few main reasons why people crave mustard. The most common reason is taste.
We all know that mustard provides the best of savory and spiciness flavor in a single bite! There’s just something zesty and delicious about mustard!
I personally think mustard is one of the best condiments to add flavor to a relatively bland tasting meal.
Usually during lunch my go-to meal is a simple one of whole wheat toast, beans, eggs, spinach, and salsa.
But I find that without mustard, it feels like I am missing something. While the eggs, beans and salsa go well together … there’s something missing without the mustard!
2 – Variety of Flavors
A lot of people get food cravings for mustard due to mustard’s variety of flavors.
There are so many types of mustard out there. These different flavors allow people to always have something new to try and spice up their meal!
If I had to estimate, I would surmise that I try a new brand of mustard about once a month. I really like switching things up and trying new flavors! And with mustard there’s endless variety.
Here are just a few brands I’ve sampled and can name off the top of my head:
- Lazy Day Dijon Mustard
- Grey Poupon Country Style Mustard (my favorite)
- Maille Extra Hot Brown Mustard Sauce
- Roland Grand Cru Classic Yellow Label
Your Tongue Craves Variety
Most people don’t consider their tongue’s desire for variety.
Instead most people think about cravings in terms of sugar, hunger, emotional eating, etc …
But variety is also an important factor!
See, we humans evolved to have a diverse diet. If an ancient tribe of humans depended on one primary food source which disappeared then this tribe of humans would die out.
We evolved to crave a variety of foods. Because eating different types of foods gave us the ability to adapt when a crop failed. Or when an animal herd failed to appear.
Basically, if you are eating the same foods every day then these foods will become BORING.
Even if you have the most perfect diet in the world with every vitamin checked off. Even if you eat totally healthy, you will get bored and will get cravings for new flavors.
This is what I mean by variety. Often this is what’s driving your craving for mustard! Your tongue wants to taste something exciting and new!
3 – Vitamin Mineral Deficiency
If you are having a really powerful thirst for mustard …
The most likely reason is you’re deficient in at least one of the vitamins and minerals found in mustard.
Of course you could also be deficient in all these nutrients too! This would help explain the powerfulness behind your mustard cravings.
- Calcium is an important mineral that plays a key role in making sure your bones and teeth are healthy.
- Thiamine is an essential nutrient that helps prevent complications in your nervous system. It also plays a role in regulating electrolyte levels and cell membrane permeability rates which are important for muscle contraction and nerve impulses. You can also read what is the cell membrane here.
- Manganese is critical for energy production as well as maintaining strong bones.
- Selenium is an important antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and maintain a healthy inflammatory response. Selenium also boosts thyroid activity in the body which supports immune function.
- Potassium is good for the heart, and it helps to regulate blood pressure.
Generally speaking, people crave things they lack. It’s one of the reasons why lacking magnesium might contribute to a chocolate craving! Because chocolate is a good source of magnesium!
Same thing with mustard and the nutrients listed above (especially calcium).
How Ancient Civilization Harnessed The Benefits of Mustard
One thing I find fascinating about mustard is how ancient civilizations used mustard for its medicinal purposes. For instance:
- Ancient Chinese texts and Sanskrit scripts recorded the use of mustard to cure stings and toothaches.
- The ancient Greeks partook in the consumption of mustard to curb pain and fatigue.
- Mustard-like substances are also used in ancient Egypt in hieroglyphs, represented by the plant as a symbol for emotional well-being.
- Romans recognized mustard seeds for their medicinal properties and used them as a remedy.
Historically, people have utilized mustard seeds (or plants that are like those from the mustard family) as traditional medicines.
Isn’t that crazy! That yellow sauce you’ve been putting on your hotdog is also an ancient remedy to many ailments!
For a fascinating article on the history of mustard uses in ancient civilizations, read G.S. Dunn’s piece here. Other food and body trends began long ago too, including the fat acceptance movement!
What Happens If I Eat Too Much Mustard?
Mustard is generally very safe for consumption in moderate doses.
Obviously our ancestors consumed mustard and they lived to tell the tale so mustard can’t be that bad!
But! Eating too much mustard can lead to problems like diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. But usually these symptoms only result if you’re not used to eating it on a regular basis (or at all).
If you’re new to mustard you can avoid these symptoms by only using small amounts of fresh ground mustard. Typically just enough so your meal doesn’t taste bland.
Final Thoughts About “Why Do I Crave Mustard?”
If you’re wondering why do I crave mustard, or if you’ve ever been tempted by the idea of eating a whole jar of mustard in one sitting, we have good news for you.
Yes, too much mustard can cause stomach upset and vomiting – but there are several other reasons that make it worth adding some to your diet!
For example, did you know that our brains crave variety? Variety is a surprising reason for odd desires, including cravings for hot sauce!
It turns out that this craving for variety is hardwired into us as humans. So when we experience something new like spicy mustard or sweet honey-mustard dressing, our brain releases dopamine which creates pleasurable feelings and makes us want more.
Our ancestors enjoyed mustard, and you can too! It’s a good addition to your diet!