Australia is home to many things — beautiful beaches, Campos coffee, Margot Robbie, kangaroos in our backyard (apparently) and… VEGEMITE.
Ah, Vegemite. A breakfast staple that has been dividing the nation (and freaking out the rest of the world) for decades. A breakfast staple that goes hand-in-hand with bread and butter, a breakfast staple that has to be spread just right or else… (it’s all about the ratio, people!).
You see — love it or hate it, Vegemite has come a long way over the years. We now eat it in our cheese scrolls, with our smashed avo on toast (don’t knock it ’til you try it) and it’s also found a place in stocks, stews and soups.
Not that long ago, we saw it being turned into ice blocks and brownies (we’re yet to get on board with that) and supermarkets have even released Vegemite, cheese and lamb sausages (again, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).
Either way, there’s no denying that this humble little dark-coloured spread is an Aussie household staple, and in celebration of Australia Day, we’ve rounded up some fun facts that you probably didn’t know about our beloved Vegemite:
1. It’s actually good for you
Vegemite is a great source of vitamin Bs: folate, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. Not only are B vitamins important for energy production and metabolism, they also play a role in calming the nervous system and can assist in the management of stress and anxiety.
Now we know what you are thinking; isn’t Vegemite full of salt?
The short answer is yes. However, research shows that the average person only has half a teaspoon (or 3g) of Vegemite in a serve which equates to roughly 104mg of sodium — well under the general guidelines recommending 2300mg per day.
Vegemite has also released a reduced salt option which contains 25% less salt than its original counterpart (you can recognise it by its orange lid). Plus, Vegemite contains potassium which in a way counteracts the effects of sodium (can you tell we’re big fans?). Case in point: You can enjoy Vegemite in moderation.
2. It’s great for hangovers
Told you one would be particularly helpful! “As Vegemite is made from yeast and is high in B vitamins and folic acid, this makes it the perfect choice after you’ve partied too hard as drinking alcohol not only depletes your vitamin B stores, but also decreases your ability to absorb them,” says Emma Cronin, Amodrn resident nutritionist.
“As B vitamins are really important for energy production, metabolism and blood sugar control, if you don’t top them up you might find yourself moving even slower than you need to the next day.” So, Vegemite toast for brekkie it is then.
3. It can help with mouth ulcers
Dabbing Vegemite on a mouth ulcer sounds pretty counter-intuitive, but the little black book of ‘old wives’ tales’ says that both the yeast and salt content works a treat. In fact, as ulcers can be a sign of health deficiencies (such as lack of B vitamins) it is suggested that eating Vegemite can even help prevent ulcers developing in the first place.
Although there are numerous testimonials from people who claim Vegemite is the answer (you gotta love online forums) there is no scientific or medical evidence that supports this claim, so just keep that in mind before you go lathering the inside of your mouth. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Okay, so for those who are into DIY cleaning agents (vinegar, baking soda, we’re looking at you), Vegemite is just another one you can add to your list. Vegemite is said to have naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties, which means you can use it to disinfect and clean anything and everything from kitchen benches and cutting boards to pots and pans.
Simply mix one part Vegemite and one part water into a spray bottle, shake it up, give it a little elbow grease… and then, um yeah, report back!