Love it or loathe it, Marmite is considered one of the healthiest things you can spread on your toast. Packed with vital vitamins and minerals, this store cupboard staple can help with everything from boosting heart health to beating insomnia. So if you’re not already a fan, here’s why you should be…
It’s packed with vitamins
According to Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK, Marmite is packed with B vitamins, including, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine, as well as magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and selenium, all of which are essential for good health. These work to boost kidney and liver function, help to protect the nervous system and increase energy levels.
Dr Sally Norton, NHS Consultant and Weight Loss Specialist at VavistaLife adds: “Whilst it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals, Marmite is also very high in salt. A spoonful on your toast is unlikely to be a problem – but be careful not to eat excessive quantities if you’re watching your salt intake.”
It can help you sleep
A recent study revealed magnesium can help us achieve a restful night’s sleep, and the good news is it’s abundant in Marmite. Scientists claim it relaxes the body’s muscles and calms the nerves, to help you drift off much quicker. Though you would need to eat a lot of Marmite (roughly two jars) to get your recommended daily intake of 375mgs, if you spread it on your toast in the morning, you’re one step closer to reaching that target.
It keeps your heart healthy
Marmite’s high Vitamin B1 levels suggest it could help to prevent heart disease. A study at the University of Bristol found that supplementing mice with a chemical similar to Vitamin B1 called benfotiamine improved their recovery after a heart attack and lowered their risk of cardiovascular conditions. Further studies are required to see if the same theory can be applied to humans but it seems as good a reason as any to up your Marmite intake.
It can cure a hangover
Drinking alcohol depletes your body of B vitamins, which can leave you feeling anxious, low and generally under the weather. A teaspoon of Marmite on toast will help to boost your levels in a flash. Sri Lankan’s swear by this natural hangover cure: dissolve Marmite in hot water, then add lime juice and fried onion – although we’re not sure we could stomach that after a night of prosecco.
It can fight superbugs
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests the vitamin niacin – which can be found in Marmite – can help the body fight off antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, so tucking in can help to keep your body fighting fit. A further study at York University this year also found that Marmite’s high B12 content helps to boost red blood cells, which in turn protect the nervous system.
It boosts brain power
The York University study also found the high concentration of Vitamin B12 in Marmite could help to improve brain function and even potentially protect against neurological disorders, preventing illnesses like dementia from developing later in life.
It’s good during pregnancy
As Shona Wilkinson explains, “Marmite is also high in folic acid, providing nearly 50% of the recommended daily allowance per serving. Folic acid works to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, increase the chance of conception and prevent birth defects.”
It’s low in calories
In each recommended 8g portion of Marmite, there's only 22 calories and less than 0.5g of fat, which as toast-toppers go, is actually quite virtuous. And theoretically, because the flavour is so strong, you'll only use it sparingly. It's also vegetarian and can be used to add punch to any veggie dish. Add to chilli, tofu and veggie burgers – even lasagne tastes great with a spoonful of the black stuff and is a great way to mask the taste whilst reaping the benefits.