Nutritional Yeast: Discover the Benefits

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Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that’s grown specifically for its nutritional value. It’s used in a variety of dishes, from soups to salads, and even in some cheeses. It’s also a popular vegan substitute for parmesan cheese.

So, let’s look at what it is and how it’s used.

What is nutritional yeast

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Understanding Nutritional Yeast: A Versatile and Nutrient-Packed Condiment

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that is commonly found in the grocery aisle, specifically in the natural or health food section. It is a deactivated or inactivated yeast, meaning it is dead and cannot be used for leavening or brewing. Nutritional yeast is produced by growing and processing a specific strain of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This strain is specifically chosen for its nutrient profile and is grown on a synthetic medium to produce a final product that is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Is Nutritional Yeast Safe to Eat?

Nutritional yeast is generally considered safe to eat, but there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Sodium content: Nutritional yeast can be high in sodium, so it is important to check the label and use it in moderation.
  • Processing: Some nutritional yeast products may be fortified with synthetic nutrients, so it is important to read the label and choose a product that is minimally processed.
  • Allergies: Nutritional yeast is a common allergen for some people, so it is important to be aware of any potential allergies before trying it.

Nutrients and Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Value of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that is extra rich in proteins and nutrients. It can assist in various bodily functions such as tissue repair, prevent muscle loss, and aid in muscle growth. Two teaspoons of nutritional yeast contain about 9 grams of protein, making it a great source of plant-based protein.

How to Incorporate Nutritional Yeast into Your Diet

Nutritional yeast has a nutty and cheesy flavor and can be played a role in human diets for thousands of years. If you’re concerned about the optimal way to incorporate nutritional yeast into your diet, here are some ideas:

  • Sprinkle it on popcorn or roasted vegetables
  • Add it to soups, stews, and sauces
  • Use it as a seasoning for pasta dishes
  • Make a vegan cheese sauce with nutritional yeast

Always check with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Nutritional Information

What are the Nutrients Found in Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, providing all the amino acids that the human body needs. It is also classified as a dietary supplement due to its high vitamin content. A 1/4 cup serving of nutritional yeast provides:

  • 60 calories
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of dietary fiber
  • 0 grams of sugar
  • 0.5 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of saturated and trans fat
  • 0 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 5 milligrams of sodium
  • 320 milligrams of potassium
  • 9 milligrams of iron
  • 60 milligrams of magnesium
  • 30 milligrams of calcium
  • 0.5 micrograms of vitamin D
  • 1.4 milligrams of vitamin B6
  • 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12
  • 0.5 milligrams of thiamin
  • 0.1 milligrams of riboflavin
  • 4.5 milligrams of niacin
  • 0.1 milligrams of folate
  • 0.1 milligrams of pantothenic acid

What to Look for When Buying Nutritional Yeast?

When buying nutritional yeast, it is important to check the ingredients list to ensure that it is unfortified or fortified with the recommended vitamins. The nutritional values may vary depending on the brand and size of the serving. Some brands may sell nutritional yeast separately as fortified or unfortified. A tablespoon of nutritional yeast provides about 20 calories and 2 grams of protein.

How to Incorporate Nutritional Yeast into Your Vegan Diet

1. As a Topping

Nutritional yeast is loved by vegans and non-vegans alike for its nutty and cheesy flavor. It’s an easy and highly nutritious addition to any dish. Here are some ways to use it as a topping:

  • Sprinkle it on top of soups, salads, and roasted vegetables for an extra boost of nutrition and flavor.
  • Use it as a substitute for grated cheese on pasta dishes, nachos, and artisan crackers.
  • Top baked potatoes with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a creamy and savory kick.

2. In Savory Dishes

Nutritional yeast creates a cheddar-like flavor when added to savory dishes. Here are some ways to use it in your cooking:

  • Add it to scrambled tofu or eggs for a cheesy flavor without any dairy.
  • Make a vegan hollandaise sauce by blending nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Use it in a creamy risotto or chickpea stew for added nutrition and flavor.

3. In Baked Goods

Nutritional yeast can also be used in baked goods to impart a savory and nutty flavor. Here are some ways to use it in your baking:

  • Add it to biscuit or bread batter for a cheesy flavor.
  • Use it in pesto for an extra boost of nutrition.
  • Sprinkle it on top of popcorn or toss it with popped popcorn and vegan butter for a savory snack.

4. In Golden Dressings and Sauces

Nutritional yeast can be used to add a golden color and savory flavor to dressings and sauces. Here are some ways to use it:

  • Add it to a garlic dressing for a savory kick.
  • Use it in a turmeric dressing for added nutrition and a golden color.
  • Add it to a creamy sauce for pasta or vegetables for a cheesy flavor without any dairy.

5. As a Substitute

Nutritional yeast can be used as a substitute for many ingredients in vegan cooking. Here are some ways to use it as a substitute:

  • Use it as a substitute for cheese in vegan mac and cheese recipes.
  • Substitute nutritional yeast for torula yeast in any recipe that calls for it.
  • Use it as a substitute for chicken or beef broth in soups and stews.

In short, nutritional yeast is a versatile and natural ingredient that offers a lot of potential for adding nutrition and flavor to your vegan diet. Whether you want to add a cheesy flavor to your favorite dishes or simply want to impart a little extra nutrition, nutritional yeast can deliver the results you need. So, order a particular yellow powder and experiment with all sorts of ways to use it in your cooking!

Side Effects and Safety

Possible Negative Reactions

Nutritional yeast is generally considered safe for consumption, but some people may experience minor discomfort or facial flushing due to the high concentration of niacin, also known as vitamin B3. This is actually desirable for some people as niacin helps with digestion and has an umami flavor. However, for those who have trouble with natural and concentrated sources of niacin, it may cause some problems.

Enzyme Deficiencies

Some traditional diets like GAPS and Paleo consider nutritional yeast a helpful source of enzymes for gut healing and digestion. However, some people may lack complete enzymes to break down the glutamic acid in nutritional yeast, which can cause compromised digestion and trigger problems.

Allergic Reactions

While published cases of allergic reactions to nutritional yeast are rare, they do exist. Some people may experience hives, asthma, or other allergic symptoms after consuming nutritional yeast. In a small pilot study, a boy suffering from asthma ate pizza and bread with nutritional yeast, and his elevated antibody forms adversely affected his health.

Avoiding Problems

To minimize the formation of negative reactions, it’s important to consider the source and quality of nutritional yeast. Brewers yeast products are far lower in glutamic acid than nutritional yeast products, which may be important to some people. If you wish to avoid nutritional yeast altogether, you can supplement with other sources of B vitamins or extract them from other foods. It’s also important to avoid exposure to high temperatures when making nutritional yeast, as this can cause the formation of harmful byproducts.

Conclusion

So there you have it, everything you need to know about nutritional yeast. It’s a versatile nutrient-packed condiment that can be used in a variety of dishes. It’s a great way to get some extra vitamins and minerals into your diet. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try! I hope you’ve found this guide useful.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.