Nutritional Yeast – What is it and Why is it Good for You?

May 23, 2019

Nutritional Yeast – What is it and Why is it Good for You?

Nutritional yeast is a popular condiment and health food product and a valuable protein and vitamin supplement. It’s vegan-friendly and free of dairy, gluten, sugar, salt, additives and preservatives.

But what exactly is nutritional yeast and why is it so good for you? Well, let’s find out.

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast usually from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain – the same type of yeast that’s used to bake bread and brew beer.

It’s a popular condiment, health food product and vegan-friendly supplement.It’s yellow in colour and comes in flakes, granules and powder.Nutritional yeast in Australia is widely available, most commonly through health food stores and organic stores.

It has a savoury nutty and cheesy flavour and offers a wide variety of nutritional benefits (which we’ll get to in a moment).

Nutritional yeast is produced by culturing the yeast strain in a sugar rich medium, usually sugarcane or beet molasses. Once fermentation is complete the yeast is deactivated with heat, then harvested, washed, dried and packaged.

Nutritional yeast is available in two different varieties: fortified and unfortified.

  • Unfortified yeast contains only the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in the yeast.
  • Fortified yeast contains a range of additional micronutrients added during manufacturing. Fortified yeast is most commonly used as a nutritional supplement.

Why is it Good for You?

Both the fortified and unfortified products are extremely nutritious. Nutritional yeast is a valuable source of protein, B vitamins and trace minerals.

While both types of yeast are great sources of protein, fortified yeast is a much richer source of B vitamins and trace minerals. So, if you’re looking at nutritional yeast as a dietary supplement, the type you select will depend on the nutrients you’re after.

  • Protein:
    Proteins are the main building blocks of your body and required for nearly all metabolic processes. The body doesn’t manufacture or store protein, so it must be taken in through your diet.

    Nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids making it one of the only complete protein sources that isn’t animal based.

  • B Vitamins:
    B vitamins are generally not stored in the body.So, like protein, they must be taken in through your diet. B vitamins are essential for a range of bodily functions including extracting energy from nutrients, cell growth, triggering crucial chemical reactions, and red and white blood cell production.

    One tablespoon of nutritional yeast can contain more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of B vitamins. Fortified yeast is particularly rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12.

  • Trace minerals:
    Nutritional yeast contains a range of valuable trace minerals including zinc, selenium, manganese and molybdenum. These minerals are important for various bodily functions including gene regulation, metabolism, growth and immunity. Fortified yeast is a much richer source of trace minerals than unfortified.

  • Antioxidants:
    These substances help to fight cell damage caused by free radicals. Research suggests that antioxidants can help to defend against chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration. Nutritional yeast contains the powerful antioxidants glutathione and selenomethionine.

Besides the above benefits, research suggests that nutritional yeast can also help to boost immunity, protect against infection and lower cholesterol.

How to Use it

Because of its cheesy, nutty flavour, nutritional yeast is a popular condiment and vegan-friendly substitute for parmesan cheese.

Here are just some of the ways it can be used:

  • Sprinkled over pasta or risotto dishes
  • Sprinkled over popcorn
  • Stirred into soups
  • As a cheese flavour in vegan or dairy-free sauces
  • A healthy thickener in soups and sources

Nutritional yeast should be stored in a dark, cool place and kept tightly sealed to keep the moisture out. Properly stored, it can last for up to two years.

Precautions

Nutritional yeast is extremely healthy. It’s free from sugar, lactose, gluten, additives and preservatives and is completely vegan-friendly. For most people any side-effects or risks are minimal. However, people with a yeast allergy should avoid nutritional yeast (which makes sense).

If you have trouble metabolising folic acid (synthetic vitamin B9) you might want to use unfortified yeast.

If you have any other questions regarding nutritional yeast and its benefits or risks, contact the friendly team at Natural Organic Store.

If you’re looking for nutritional yeast in Australia, visit your local health food or organic store, or browse Natural Organic Store online today.


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