What is Nutritional Yeast and Is it something I should be eating?
The first time I really learned about nutritional yeast was a couple years ago when reading a food label. What is this funny thing and isn’t yeast supposed to be in bread? I thought yeasty things were bad for my health not something I want in my food! Then I went to nutrition school and again this “food” called nutritional yeast was discussed. This time I learned the many benefits and why we should consider adding it to our menu.
What is nutritional yeast? Scientifically it’s known as saccharomyces cerevisiae, it’s sometimes referred to as “nooch” as well as savory yeast and it’s a sugar eating member of the fungi family. This makes it neither plant nor animal and more like a mushroom. It therefore can be added to any kind of diet from ketogenic to vegan without worry. It’s an inactive yeast typically cultured and grown on sugar cane or molasses. Its inactive nature means it can’t be used for baking and differentiates it from brewers yeast.
Nutritionally, this yeast is a powerhouse! In just 2 tablespoons it delivers 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber along with 17 vitamins and 14 minerals. One of the most important nutrients it delivers is the B-vitamins as a group which are sometimes difficult for vegans and vegetarians to get without eating animal products. A couple minerals that nutritional yeast delivers are magnesium which helps the body relax and unwind in times of stress and is important for the body in the process of making energy as well as chromium which helps with blood sugar balance and weight loss! Nutritional yeast also contains important food factors like SOD (superoxide dismutase) and glutathione which are both strong antioxidants. Amino acids, lipoic acid, trace minerals, polysaccharides, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and more than 40 proteolytic enzymes.
Another fun fact about nutritional yeast is that is has antiviral and antibacterial properties. This inactive yeast can help rid the body of candida and other parasites. It improves digestion and has been known to help those who suffer lactose intolerance. There have been studies that show that nutritional yeast is a great source of folate for pregnant women to help prevent birth defects and because of the high content of B-vitamins like biotin and B5 it’s great for healthy hair and nails.
With a nutty, cheesy flavor nutritional yeast is often added to recipes and spice blends to boost the senses. It can be sprinkled on popcorn, on roasted veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, on salads and on top of pasta. Add it to soups, curries and stews to help thicken and add flavor. As with any new food, start slowly adding it to meals and see how it feels for you. I have even heard of some people adding it to their mashed potatoes and smoothies.
Do you want to get even healthier? Want help figuring out how to add the foods that will feed your body like nutritional yeast? Curious about how health coaching can help you on your journey to optimal health? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. I work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!