It’s brown, vegetarian and made from yeast extract! If you’re British or a New Zealander, it is most probably an essential part of your diet. Discovered by German scientist, Justus Leibig, in 1902, Marmite began to gain popularity when vitamins were uncovered and their benefits were told to the public. Owing to its high nutritional significance, it was not only parts of the First World War soldiers’ ration packs but also in the 1930’s, Lucy Wills, an English scientist found that the folic acid in Marmite could be used to treat anemia.
Even in the 21st century, Marmite still retains its popularity. In 2011, when Sanitarium, Marmite’s core manufacturer in New Zealand, shut down due to Christchurch quake, the prime minister had to appear on television urging the public to stay calm. New Zealanders had been unable to stock up on local made Marmite and in such desperate times used internet auction sites to acquire it. They even named this period of crisis ‘marmageddon’.
Now, scientists have labelled it the latest “superfood” because of its nutritional value. Marmite contains a few simple ingredients: yeast extract, salt, vegetable extract, spices, and vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B9, B12). Marmite is gluten free, high in vitamins, vegetarian and low in calories, providing nearly 50% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid per serving. It is popular to eat it spread paper thin on toast or to eat it paired with cheese or butter.
Marmite is well known for evoking a love or hate reaction amongst people. Here are ten astonishing benefits of Marmite that will turn your hatred into love.
1. It is healthy
It is gluten-free, vegetarian and low in calories. One serving can easily contain up to 36 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B3, it also provides 50 percent of your folic acid and 17 per cent of your thiamin – a substance that helps to protect your nervous system. It also contains iodine which helps to speed up the absorption of iron.
2. It can replace B vitamin supplements
B vitamins are essential for good liver and kidney function, and they help protect the nervous system. Marmite is an easy and cheap way of taking these B vitamins and if consumed daily can easily replace supplements.
3. It is Eco friendly
Marmite itself is a by-product of yeast, thus, its effect on the environment on a broader scale is not dangerous. The containers can easily be washed and used for other purposes in the household.
4. It is more economical than other spreads
Since Marmite has a concentrated flavor, it is best to consume it in very small amounts, some people spread it thinly on toast while some prefer to mix it with butter to dilute its taste.
5. Its bottles can be creatively used
Marmite containers are a glass or plastic replica of the original Marmite pots that were used to sell Marmite in the early 1900’s. The Marmite jars can be washed and put to use in several ways: they can be used to put in loose change and tea or can be decorated so they can be given as gifts.
6. It might help keep mosquitoes away
This may sound shocking, but according to the Guardian, the Sun, BBC and the Daily Telegraph, that yeast goodness can help in the defense against mosquito.
7. It is local
Marmite, unlike other spreads, uses local ingredients wherever it may be produced. In UK, it makes use of brewer’s yeast – a by-product of the brewing industry – which is made from dried malt barley.
8. It can be consumed different ways
Marmite does not have to be limited to be eaten as a spread. It can be drunk, mixed in stews and soups, used as a seasoning for food and even used in sweet dishes. There are so many possibilities with Marmite that it has inspired a cookbook for itself.
9. It is a good hangover cure
Popular in Sri Lanka, mix Marmite in hot water. Add lime juice and fried sliced onion to complete this recipe.
10. It isn’t only a spread
Other products in the range are Marmite Mini Cheddar Bites, Marmite crisps, Marmite jumbo rice cakes and Marmite flavored oven-baked cashew nuts.
BY TAYYAB BABAR