Marmite Hailed by Experts as Miracle Spread for Reducing Stress and Anxiety
The salty, yeasty, strange-looking paste that is so fondly used as spread for breakfast toast in Britain, has some serious health benefits, according to experts. Besides acting like an anti-stress therapy, it may also reduce the risk of birth defects and dementia. It is beginning to make sense why the English people have such strong feelings about this foul-smelling paste.
History of Marmite
Marmite has been around for more than a century and it is considered one of those controversial foods that you either love or hate; there are people who can’t stand the strong, yeasty smell of this spread whereas for others, breakfast is not complete without it.
This sticky paste gets its distinct taste and flavor from pure yeast extract and was an accidental invention by a German scientist named Justus Liebig who discovered that when the byproduct of brewed beer was concentrated into a gel-like consistency, it actually tasted delicious on a piece of toast. This vitamin B-rich spread was considered an essential component of soldiers’ diets in the First World War.
Genetics Play a Part in Determining Whether You Love or Hate Marmite
Now, studies are discovering some interesting facts about Marmite that is evoking everyone’s curiosity about this strange paste that is ever so popular in Britain. Recently, a genetic company called DNA Fit revealed that our genetic composition decides whether we love or hate marmite. This love-hate relationship was also used as a marketing tactic by the manufacturers who advertised their product with a slogan ‘love it or hate it’.
In DNA Fit’s research, 260 adults took part to determine why people had such opposing sentiments about Marmite. The study concluded that the 15 single genetic markers in our body called nucleotide polymorphisms which can develop different taste preferences in individuals, are the reason why people have varying opinions about Marmite. However, several environmental factors can also contribute to our liking or disliking of the spread, just like with all other foods.
Use of Marmite Linked to Lower Stress and Anxiety Levels
More studies are now finding links between anxiety and the consumption of various yeast pastes like Marmite, Vegemite or MightyMite. Experts are saying that Marmite (or any of the other mites) could be more than just a breakfast staple, and using one spread of this yeast product a day can keep the stress and anxiety away.
Researchers from Victoria University surveyed more than 500 people in Australia, UK and New Zealand to find out what effect the consumption of these vitamin B-rich spreads had on their mood. In the survey people had to answer questions about the brand of spread they used, how often they ate it in a day and for how long they had been consuming it. In addition, they were also asked questions about their diet, lifestyle, activity levels and general mood.
The results showed that those who ate at least one spread of Marmite or Vegemite daily were less prone to stress and anxiety than those who didn’t eat any. Researchers are speculating that out of all the B vitamins in these spreads, B12 is most likely to be the cause of reduced stress and anxiety levels. Since Marmite and Vegemite have higher amounts of vitamin B12, people who used these brands experienced less anxiety than those who used other brands like MightyMite.
Vitamin B12: The main Anti-stress Ingredient in Marmite
The yeast-based pastes are some of the best sources of vitamin B which is crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system and fight depression and anxiety. Furthermore, vitamins B6, B9 and B12 may also lower your risk of cancers, heart and other chronic diseases.
Some scientists are skeptical about the findings of the research saying that the survey is inadequate in proving a link between marmite consumption and lower stress levels. There are several other factors that need to be taken into account when studying the subjects’ mental and emotional state. It could simply be a coincidence that those who experienced less stress happened to love this sticky spread.
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