As the jingle goes, ‘We’re happy little Vegemite’s’ and science is here to support that claim. New research is suggesting that the quintessential way for Australian’s to start their day may also reduce anxiety.
Australian based research conducted by The University of Victoria has found some interesting data. Their study saw those who eat vegemite (or other yeast-based spreads) on a regular basis feel less anxious and stressed.
According to lead researcher, Prof Apostolopoulos, the high levels of vitamin B are likely to be the cause of this finding. Vitamin B deficiency has been linked to a range of conditions, such as depression. The University claimed investigating whether a dietary supplement can improve symptoms was a key reason behind the research.
“We know that [yeast] extracts contain some of the world’s richest sources of B vitamins, which are essential in keeping our bodies energized and regulating the nervous system,” Prof Apostolopoulos said.
“What we want to find out is whether consuming these vitamins through yeast-based supplements in an everyday diet improves depression, anxiety, and stress scores.”
Not just any yeast-based spread will do, particularly those high in vitamin B12 were most effective. This includes our beloved Vegemite and Marmite as well.
“Those who ate spreads that contained B12 (which includes Marmite and the new Vegemite with the orange lid) were even less stressed and anxious than those who ate the other brands,” said the professor.
The study involved 500 participants across Australia and New Zealand. These participants completed surveys about their consumption of spreads and their moods were monitored.
The history of Vegemite
Vegemite has been a staple in Australian households for a long time, 95 years in fact! In 1922 a young chemist and cheese maker joined forces to produce a yeast-based savoury spread.
Today more than 22 million jars of Vegemite are sold and over 6 million kilograms of the delicious spread are produced each year – that’s a lot of toast!
Benefits of Vegemite
Apart from the delicious taste and recently discovered mood boosting effect, there are a number of other health benefits:
1. Low calorie
A single serving has about 9 calories which is less than 1% of the total daily intake for the average adult.
2. Rich in vitamins and minerals
Vegemite is a rich source of B vitamins. Particularly thiamin and folate with one teaspoon providing half the recommended intake. It is also rich in minerals such as iron, potassium, zinc and selenium.
3. No added sugar
Vegemite is low in energy and contains no fat or added sugar – bonus!
This truly Australian spread has many wonderful properties. However, it’s high in salt which should be a consideration for those with or at risk of heart disease.