Why Am I Craving Mustard? 11 Reasons Why

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A joyful man tasting mustard from a spoon, with an open jar of mustard visible in his hand. (Why Am I Craving Mustard?)

The reason you’re craving mustard is… drumroll… unknown. I’m sorry to say, but the truth is, nobody can pinpoint exactly why you’re craving mustard.

Cravings for specific foods don’t usually come from just one cause. Even as a nutritionist, I can’t point to one reason and confidently say, “Yep, that’s why.”

Your craving might be influenced by a variety of factors, like what tastes good to you, how hungry you are, your mood, your habits, memories you have, etc.

However, craving mustard isn’t necessarily something to worry about. It’s perfectly fine as long as you enjoy it in moderation and keep the rest of your diet healthy.

But, there are several possible reasons why you might be craving mustard. In this article, I’ll explore each of these reasons. Let’s dive in and see if you can identify with one or more of the potential causes behind your mustard cravings.

1. You just like how it tastes

This is the most straightforward reason you might be craving mustard: you simply find its taste enjoyable. Mustard has a distinctive flavor that brings together savory and spicy notes in one go.

For instance, ground mustard is known for its strong aroma and a taste that’s sharp, hot, and a bit bitter.

Essentially, you might crave mustard because it just makes your food taste better and satisfies your taste buds.

2. You have a memory attached to it

This reason taps into the psychological aspect, where the environment plays a role in our food preferences and behaviors.

Eating food in a specific context, like at a certain place or time, creates a link between the food and that experience in your brain. When you find yourself in a similar situation later, your brain might trigger a craving for that food.

For example, if your tradition is to eat mustard with hot dogs at a baseball game, you might start craving mustard the next time you’re watching a game.

Or, if you’re used to having mustard with your meals while watching Netflix, the next time you sit down to watch something, you might find yourself craving yellow mustard again.

3. You are curious about its taste

This reason might resonate more with those who haven’t had mustard much or at all but find themselves suddenly craving it.

Perhaps you’ve seen mustard featured on TV, in a magazine, or in food-centric series like “The Bear” or movies like “Chef,” which often showcase the ins and outs of restaurant kitchens or food in general.

It could even be from watching a Gordon Ramsay series like “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Exposure to mustard in these contexts could spark curiosity about how different types of mustard taste and how they can enhance various dishes, leading to your craving.

This curiosity might drive you to explore and try new and exotic mustards from different culinary traditions, such as French, German, Indian, or Chinese mustard, as you seek to expand your palate and explore new flavors.

4. You are craving something sweet

It might not seem logical at first, but hear me out. Many of us link mustard with sweetness, often because it’s mixed with ingredients like honey.

Personally, I love a sweet honey mustard dressing on my salad. So, whenever I think of mustard, I also think of honey and its sweetness.

If you’re like me and enjoy combining mustard with ketchup, honey, maple syrup, mayonnaise, or anything else that creates a perfect flavor explosion, you might find yourself craving mustard for this reason. Our brains have been conditioned to associate mustard with these sweet mix-ins.

So, if you’re a fan of mixing, this could be why you’re craving mustard, especially if you love to experiment with flavors.

5. You are hungry

When hunger strikes, your body isn’t picky—it just wants something tasty to satisfy the craving, be it chocolate, potato chips, or ice cream.

If you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal in the past, like a burger with mustard, your body might start craving it again.

It’s not necessarily the mustard itself you’re craving but the overall enjoyable experience of that meal, enhanced by the mustard. This association might lead your body to crave that specific combination again.

6. You are used to having it

This reason is more about habit and familiarity. If you’re someone who includes mustard in almost every meal, it might be hard to enjoy food without it.

Perhaps you grew up with mustard as a staple in your diet, or you’ve simply developed a preference for it over time. You might have a favorite brand or a specific type of mustard you always use.

Craving sweet and spicy mustard could be your way of sticking to what’s familiar and comfortable, avoiding changes in your routine.

It could be as simple as craving the quick lunches or breakfasts you’re accustomed to, where mustard is a key topping.

7. You are craving it for no particular reason

Often, food cravings defy logic and reason. For instance, one morning I woke up with an intense craving for cornflakes for breakfast, despite not liking or usually eating cornflakes. Yet, there I was, wanting them.

Similarly, your craving for mustard might have no clear reason – it’s one of those mysteries only the universe understands.

You might experience a sudden or random desire to eat it, without any obvious cause or motivation. You might not even be a fan of mustard, but find yourself wanting to indulge in it.

8. You are lacking some nutrients

I must admit, I’m not entirely convinced by this reason, as the evidence supporting it is quite thin.

However, in theory, it’s possible you’re craving mustard because your body lacks certain nutrients that mustard seeds can provide.

Mustard seeds are rich in several key nutrients, including calcium, thiamine, manganese, and selenium.

The idea behind the “nutrient deficiency” theory suggests that people who don’t get enough of certain nutrients might start craving foods that contain those nutrients.

But, it’s important to note that the evidence supporting this theory isn’t strong.

Take pregnancy as an example. During pregnancy, the nutritional needs for certain nutrients can double to support the baby’s development.

According to the “nutrient deficiency” theory, you’d expect pregnant women to crave foods that are rich in nutrients, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy when the need for these nutrients is greatest.

However, studies shows that pregnant women often crave foods that are high in carbs and fat, like fast food, rather than foods that are rich in nutrients.

9. You are craving it because of your gender

Research suggests that a person’s food cravings and how often they occur might be influenced by their gender. For instance, women are up to twice as likely as men to experience food cravings.

Typically, women tend to crave sweet foods, like chocolate, while men might lean more toward savory items, such as meat or cheese.

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you’re a man, you’ll only crave savory foods, or if you’re a woman, you’ll only want something sweet.

That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just highlighting what the science suggests, which could explain why you might be craving something like mustard.

These differences could be related to the impact of hormones like estrogen and progesterone on women’s appetite and reward systems, particularly during the menstrual cycle.

Men, meanwhile, might have higher levels of testosterone, which could make them more inclined to prefer foods that are high in protein and fat.

So, your yellow mustard craving might be because it offers a spicy and savory flavor that aligns with these gender-related taste preferences.

10. You suppressed thoughts about it

Let’s say you really like the spicy and savory taste of mustard, and you just can’t get enough of it.

But, for some reason, maybe you need to manage a health condition, you’re told you should avoid mustard. Now, every time you think about adding mustard to your meals, you have to push that thought away.

This situation is a good example of what’s called the paradoxical effect of thought suppression.

It means when you try not to think about something, like a certain food, you might end up thinking about it even more and wanting it even more.

This happens because trying not to think about something takes a lot of effort. You have to keep checking in with yourself to make sure you’re not thinking about it, which actually ends up making you think about it more.

So, if you try not to think about mustard, you might notice it more or want it more because you’re putting so much effort into not thinking about it.

11. You might just be in the mood for it.

I know how it sounds. Being in the mood for eating mustard? Really? But let me explain. This is about how your emotions can influence your food choices and cravings.

Food can significantly impact your mood because it can trigger the release of certain brain chemicals and hormones that influence how you feel.

Some foods, especially those high in fat, sugar, or salt, are often called “comfort foods.” That’s because they can provide a temporary escape from negative feelings like stress, sadness, or boredom.

So, if you’re feeling low, you might find yourself craving foods that go well with mustard as a way to boost your mood or distract you from what’s bothering you.


So there you have it. The next time you suddenly crave yellow mustard, I want you to remember this article and see if you can connect with any of the reasons we’ve talked about.

And if the craving is really strong, just go ahead and enjoy some mustard on what you’re eating (hopefully something healthy), but make sure to do it in moderation.

The mustard plant from which the yellow mustard is made has lots of health benefits, but it’s still important to consume it in moderation.


Why eat a spoonful of mustard?

To relieve muscle cramps, enhance flavor, or for its potential health benefits such as lowering blood pressure.

What are the benefits of mustard?

Mustard can aid digestion, has anti-inflammatory properties, and contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Why is mustard addictive?

Its unique flavor and the endorphins released from the spiciness can make it crave-worthy, though it’s not addictive in a clinical sense.

Can I eat as much mustard as I want?

While mustard is generally safe in moderation, eating too much mustard might lead to digestive discomfort or interfere with nutrient absorption.

What does it mean when you crave yellow food?

Craving yellow food could be psychological, a need for certain nutrients, or simply a preference for its bright, appealing color.

What does mustard do for your stomach?

Mustard can stimulate digestion by increasing saliva and gastric juices, helping break down food more efficiently.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Rahul is a professional nutritionist certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and a personal trainer certified through the American Council of Exercise (ACE). He has a special interest in the science of nutrition and how it can impact the body.

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