Let's take a look at some of these benefits and whether or not it's worth adding nutritional yeast to your regular diet. When you hear the word "yeast," what comes to mind? For many, that word conjures up images of a white substance that smells like bread or cheese.
There are even some who may associate the word with something unpleasant and strange. But, you might be surprised to learn that this little microorganism is extremely important in your everyday diet. Why is it important? You see, nutritional yeast contains more than just vitamin B12 and folic acid. It also has some amazing health benefits. This article will discuss nutritional yeast, its health benefits, and how you can add it to your diet today.
Nutritional Profile of Nutritional Yeast
A 2-tablespoon serving of nutritional yeast contains:
- Calories: 50
- Protein: 8 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 5 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Nutritional yeast is a good source of:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Vitamin B12, iron, zinc, selenium, and thiamine are just a few of the minerals that nutritional yeast makes up for.
Those with food sensitivities will appreciate that it is gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free. Although its nutrient content is useful for any diet. Even though nutritional yeast already contains a lot of healthy stuff, most brands on the market have added vitamins and minerals to make it even more nutritious. It's widely available in both health food shops and supermarkets. Nutritional yeast, which has a cheesy, nutty taste, may be added to almost anything to boost the amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Flavor and the Feel
- Its flavor is often described as having a cheese-like quality, and its high B vitamin content is widely recognized as one of the most significant positive aspects of its nutritional profile.
- The taste of nutritional yeast may be described as cheesy and nutty. After being rehydrated with water, the dry flakes take on a creamy consistency that is similar to but not quite the same as cheese.
- It has a powerful flavor that is often hot, and as a result, not everyone appreciates it on their own.
- It is true that some people believe the taste does not exactly have the same characteristics as cheese. To get a taste and consistency similar to that of dairy products, combine nooch with other plant-based components, such as cashews or almonds that have been soaked and then pureed.
- This taste, when added to a mac and cheese dish with only a trace quantity of sweet potato, brings out the dish's full potential.
Difference Between Nutritional Yeast and Brewer's Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a kind of yeast that is often sold in flakes or powdered form. Not only is it a welcome addition to the diets of vegans and vegetarians, but it also has many additional potential health benefits.
Brewer's yeast is likewise a byproduct of beer production; it has the same appearance and is similarly generated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Pasteurization and inactivation processes are used on it as well
Niacin, folic acid, zinc, selenium, and thiamine are all abundant in nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is often fortified with vitamin B-12 by the manufacturers. Because B-12 is often exclusively available in animal-derived goods, this is a crucial complement for vegans, who are at risk of B-12 insufficiency.
Brewer's yeast contains chromium, a trace mineral that controls blood sugar levels, in addition to the B-complex vitamins, selenium, and protein it provides. Vitamin B-12 is absent from both brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast, while chromium is absent from neither.
To get a similar flavor to that of Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast may be sprinkled directly over food like popcorn or pasta. If you're searching for a vegan alternative to cheese in dishes like macaroni and cheese or nacho cheese dip, nutritional yeast is your best bet. Look for debited types if the flavor of brewer's yeast is off-putting despite your determination to use it.
Some people's taste buds don't like brewer's yeast because of its bitter flavor. Possible beer-like aftertaste indicates its likely brewing process. Unlike brewer's yeast, which has a bitter flavor, nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor. Either yeast may be blended into a smoothie, added to a sauce, or stirred into a soup.
Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is comparable to proteins obtained from animals in that it has all nine essential amino acids. Consuming complete proteins is related to several advantages, some of which include the repair of tissues and the absorption of nutrients. These are just two instances of the many benefits. In addition to this, there is some evidence that they prevent the atrophy of muscle. Among the various added benefits of nutritional yeast to one's health are the following:
- Foods that include yeast are an excellent source of the proteins and B vitamins that the human body needs.
- The beneficial effects of yeast may be attributed to its ability to keep the digestive system in a state of equilibrium.
- The health of your immune system may be improved by ensuring that you have a sufficient quantity in your body.
- Yeast is an advantageous microbe that ought to be present in a microbiome that is healthy and balanced in the gut.
- The ability to digest food more efficiently may be beneficial for the avoidance of sickness as well as the absorption of nutrients.
- The yeast that is included in nutritional supplements has a high concentration of protein as well as fiber.
- In only two teaspoons, you may find around 20% of the daily value for that particular nutrient. However, fast increases in fiber consumption could cause discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract.
- To assist your body in processing it, start with a smaller portion-size rink with lots of water before, during, and after eating it.
Enhancing Immune System
- It has also been hypothesized that consuming beta-glucans may assist in maintaining a healthy immune system.
- According to the findings of a recent study, those who consumed nutritional yeast daily had a risk of acquiring a cold that was twenty-five percent lower than those who did not.
- Those individuals who did get unwell reported fewer and less severe symptoms, as well as fewer nights of sleep that was disrupted.
- Antioxidants are abundant in nutritional yeast, which has been related to possible anti-cancer properties as well as improved immunological responses.
- If your immune system is already compromised, yeast may cause it to overgrow. Infants, the elderly, and those with specific diseases and conditions such as diabetes and HIV are more likely to have compromised immune systems.
- Immune system suppression is a side effect of both chemotherapy treatment for cancer and the usage of steroids.
Boosting Energy Levels
- Because not all brands of nutritional yeast have been supplemented with vitamin B-12, it is essential to examine the labels before purchasing nutritional yeast.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency has been related to feelings of weakness and fatigue; as a result, taking a supplement containing this vitamin can be beneficial.
- Because vitamin B-12 is often present in goods derived from animals, nutritional yeast that has had additional vitamin B-12 added to it may be of great benefit to vegetarians and vegans who do not consume meat.
- Adults need a daily intake of around 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 since this nutrient is critical to their health and must be taken in a quantity of this amount. Just a quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast provides more than seven times as much as the amount offered by the other two sources combined.
Supporting Heart Health
- The dietary fiber beta-glucans, which may be found in nutritional yeast, have been associated with a lower overall cholesterol level.
- Nutritional yeast is an example of a food that falls into this category since it is low on the glycemic index and also has a high concentration of the mineral chromium, which has been shown to assist in the management of blood sugar levels.
- Careful control of one's blood sugar and cholesterol levels is one of the best ways to reduce one's risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Supporting Skin, hair, and nail Health
- Even if you aren't vegan or vegetarian and aren't trying to find a cheese substitute or increase your daily protein intake, you should still consider eating nutritional yeast because it is loaded with B vitamins.
- B vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails and can be found in nutritional yeast.
- The look of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, along with skin suppleness and discoloration, are all factors that contribute to the appearance of aged skin. Dietary yeast has been demonstrated to enhance the appearance of all of these skin flaws.
- Niacin, which may be found in nutritional yeast, is thought to have the potential to lessen the visibility of acne scars and other skin discolorations.
Lower the Cholesterol.
- The two primary kinds of carbohydrates that are found in nutritional yeast are named alpha-mannan and beta-glucans, respectively. Recent research has demonstrated that beta-glucans have the potential to help lower cholesterol levels.
- According to one piece of study, men's total cholesterol levels reduced by 6% when they had 15 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of nutritional yeast daily. This amount is roughly equivalent to one tablespoon. In a study conducted on animals in 2009, yeast beta-glucans were given to mice for a little over a week. The mice's cholesterol levels dropped dramatically after this period.
- The eating of oats has been linked to a reduction in cholesterol levels, which is supported by the fact that oats contain beta-glucans that is analogous to that which can be found in nutritional yeast.
- If you want to discover if nutritional yeast has the same protective capabilities as oats, you will have to wait for more research to be conducted.
Protect Against Cancer
- Free radicals are chemicals that constantly bombard your cells, causing damage and eventually killing off the healthy ones. Antioxidants are substances that, once entering the body, may bind to free radicals and neutralizes them. The yeast used in nutritional supplements is a great source of antioxidants.
- As an example of a powerful antioxidant, selenium may be found in abundance in nutritional yeast.
- According to one research, males who don't get enough selenium may be at a higher risk of developing cancer.
- Selenium is an antioxidant that is depleted in the body, but plant foods like nutritional yeast and whole grains are high in selenium and may help fight free radicals and slow the growth of cancer cells.
Supports a Healthy Pregnancy
- Fortified nutritional yeast often contains folic acid, a B vitamin. For women, folic acid is particularly crucial because of the possibility of pregnancy. Pregnant women who take this vitamin have a lower risk of having babies born with neural tube abnormalities like spina bifida.
- Daily intake of at least 400 micrograms is suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for women of childbearing age.
- Most packages of nutritional yeast provide more than enough for one day. Tell your doctor if you're taking nutritional yeast to increase your folic acid levels.
- Folate and folic acid are essential for cell creation and DNA repair even if you are not pregnant and have no plans to get pregnant.
Supporting Cognitive Function
- Yeast extract fortified with nutrients contains a lot of folates, a B vitamin associated with improved mental health and normal brain development in children.
- Depression, cognitive decline, and dementia are just some of the neurological conditions that may be exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies.
- Vitamins B6 and B12, both of which are abundant in nutritional yeast, play critical roles in maintaining healthy brain function and enhancing memory.
- The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine released research in 2009 by Drs. Shawn and Julie Talbot that revealed athletes who consumed only one tablespoon of nutritional yeast per day reported substantial increases in "vigor," as well as decreased tension, exhaustion, confusion, and anger.
Improving Glucose Sensitivity
- Although there is no concrete evidence to support this claim, some people with type 2 diabetes consume nutritional yeast in the hopes that it would make them more sensitive to glucose. However, this hypothesis has not been verified by scientific research.
- In an animal model, researchers found that chromium-fortified brewer's yeast was able to lower levels of fasting blood glucose and cholesterol.
How to Use Nutritional Yeast
For your convenience, nutritional yeast is available in both flake and powder form. Whether savory, nutty, or cheesy, the taste is satisfying. It is a flavorful addition to many foods, including pasta, veggies, and salads. Nutritional yeast may be used in a variety of ways, such as:
- Substitute for butter and salt while making popcorn
- Use it in place of parmesan cheese while making risotto.
- Using it as an ingredient in a vegan mac and cheese meal, like this one, tossing it into creamy soups for additional nutrition,
- Adding it to scrambled eggs or a tofu scramble,
- Combining it into a nut roast, or stuffing it with mushrooms are all great ways to use this vegan alternative to a cheese sauce.
- As a flavor enhancer in food such as popcorn, spaghetti, salad,
- As a source of umami in foods like stews and chili
- As an alternative to dairy in cheesy vegan sauces
- A food thickening for use in broths and gravies
- Smoothies as an ingredient
- For use in animal nourishment
Nutritional yeast serving amounts vary by recipe but are commonly between 2 and 4 teaspoons (5–10 grams).
Possible Side Effects
Gastrointestinal Adverse Effects
- It's conceivable that unpleasant digestive side effects might be caused by introducing it to the body at too quick of a pace. Despite having a relatively low number of calories, yeast is an excellent source of fiber.
- In point of fact, eating only 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes will provide you with dietary fiber. There been consumed around twenty percent of the daily value.
- After making the move to a high-fiber diet, it is advisable to gradually increase the fiber you consume so that you may give your body time to adjust. This will give you the greatest possible outcomes.
- If someone isn't accustomed to eating a definer in fiber and then all of a sudden consumes a lot of meals that are in fiber, they may feel digestive problems.
- Because nutritional yeast has a high peerage of fiber, it is advised that you gradually increase the quantity that you take while your body adapts to the change in diet.
- Increasing the amount of fiber you consume demands you to drink more water to maintain proper digestion.
Set Off Headaches or Migraines
- Even though nutritional yeast is loaded with necessary nutrients such as vitamin B-12 and zinc, there is a possibility that some yeast products, owing to the presence of compounds such as tyramine, might trigger an episode of migraine in those who are predisposed to developing the condition.
Tyramine is a compound that is generated from the amino acid tyrosine, and it may be found in nutritional yeast as well as other concentrated yeast products such as Vegemite. However, research suggests that tyramine can make certain people more susceptible to developing migraines.
A migraine is a neurological condition that may produce repeated headaches that range in severity from mild to severe discomfort. There is currently no explanation for why tyramine causes migraines in humans that has been accepted by the scientific community. On the other hand, it seems that tyramine has effects on the brain and the spinal cord. As a consequence, the release of several hormones takes place, and certain of those hormones are associated with increased blood pressure and headaches.
Induce Reddening of the Face
- Over 38 milligrams of niacin could be found in only 11 grams (one tablespoon) of nutritional yeast flakes. That's much above the recommended daily allowance for both sexes combined.
- Vitamin B3, or niacin, plays an important role in several physiological processes.
- Niacin may produce face flushing, but only at high doses, within 10-20 minutes of taking large amounts of niacin, the skin may get red and feel warm, and the person may also have a burning and itchy feeling.
- Flushing of the face is unpleasant, but it's usually harmless and goes away within an hour or two.
- In addition, 500 mg or more of niacin, which is often only attained by supplements, is required to cause facial flushing.
- While a little redness in the face isn't something to worry about, taking too much niacin may lead to more serious problems including liver failure. While this does happen sometimes, it is very uncommon.
- If you merely eat a little amount of nutritional yeast, you won't experience any flushing. This usually occurs when very high amounts are consumed.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- A sensitivity to nutritional yeast is a somewhat rare condition, although it does occur.
- Those who suffer from inflammatory bowel illnesses (IBDs) like Crohn's disease seem to have a greater likelihood of developing this condition.
- Yeast has the potential to elicit an immune response in some individuals who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. According to the findings of several studies, it may have unfavorable effects on patients.
- However, the role that yeast in the diet plays in the development of inflammatory bowel disease is still a topic of contention. There is not enough evidence to support the hypothesis that it is the factor that led to the disorder.
- Nutritional yeast is often praised for the positive effects it has on one's health, but recent studies have shown that those who suffer from autoimmune illnesses should avoid consuming it because of the immune system stimulation it causes.
- There is a correlation between having a more active immune system and a higher chance of developing autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamins, minerals, and other elements are concentrated in nutritional yeast, which is a kind of yeast that has been deactivated. It has a delicious, cheesy taste and goes well with many other foods. Most people may safely consume nutritional yeast without any ill effects, however others may be allergic to it. Due to its high fibre and niacin content, it may produce gastrointestinal distress or flushing of the face when consumed in big quantities. In addition, tyramine, which is included in nutritional yeast, has been linked to an increase in migraines in some people. To reduce the risk of adverse effects, nutritional yeast should be added to the diet gradually, and supplement dosages should be kept low. Yeast is often considered a superfood due to its high protein content, low fat content, and high nutritional density.
The advantages of nutritional yeast need to be confirmed by further study. However, it seems to assist increase energy, keep vitamin B-12 levels stable, and maybe even aid the immune system, skin health, and pregnancy. The flavor of this healthy dish is likewise highly regarded by many. Because of its adaptability, nutritional yeast may be used in many different ways to enhance the nutritional value of meals.