Nutritional yeast is a type of deactivated yeast made by combining active yeast with sugar. Once the yeast have feasted on the sugar for a period of seven days, the resulting product is cleaned and dried. Nutritional yeast is safe to use if you have or are prone to infections with Candida albicans, a fungus that causes most vaginal and intestinal yeast infections, according to an article by Elizabeth Brown that appeared in the April 25, 2009, edition of the “Santa Monica Daily Press.”
One of nutritional yeast’s claims to fame is its extraordinarily high levels of B vitamins, providing the highest levels of vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3 and B-6 of any food source. A serving of 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast provides 60 calories, 4 g of fiber, 9 g of protein and contains a form of soluble fiber called beta glucan, which improves immune function and lowers cholesterol. Nutritional yeast also provides ample amounts of the nutrient minerals selenium and potassium and is high in protein, containing 50 percent to 60 percent protein and high levels of the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which vegetarian diets are typically low in. Antioxidant enzymes glutathione and superoxide dismutase, which your liver uses in its detoxification pathways, are also present in nutritional yeast. Additionally, genetic material from the yeast cells can be broken down and its component nucleic acids used for production of your own DNA and RNA.
FORMS AND USES
Nutritional yeast is available in powder or flake form, usually in bulk sections of a grocery or health food store. It’s cheesy flavor is used as a dairy-free addition to sauces, eggs and other recipes. It also provides a thickening effect that adds body to sauces and soups.
Nutritional yeast is considered by some to be a superfood, a food with health benefits beyond the value of its nutritional content, according to Christopher Hobbs and Dr. Elson Haas, co-authors of the book “Vitamins For Dummies.” Its high levels of B vitamins and amino acids make nutritional yeast a mood- and energy-boosting food. It also contains chlorophyll, which is thought to help build healthy blood. Add powdered nutritional yeast to your protein shakes for a convenient way to help build lean muscle and assist with weight loss.
- “Vegan Brunch”; Isa Chandra Moskowitz; 2009
- “Vitamins For Dummies”; Christopher Hobbs, Elson Haas; 2011
- “The Nutrient-dense Eating Plan: A Lifetime Eating Guide to Exceptional Foods …”; Douglas L. Margel; 2005
- “Santa Monica Daily Press”; Singing the Praises of Nutritional Yeast; Elizabeth Brown; April 25, 2009