Nutritional yeast is a type of inactive yeast obtained from the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, which is the same used to prepare bread and beer, but in this case the yeast is active and alive. Nutritional yeast is used as a food and can be easily found in the supermarket in the form of flakes, granules or powder. Nutritional yeast not only gives taste to recipes, it also brings important nutrients. Let's try to understand better on the basis of scientific studies.
Nutritional yeast, properties
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein, 45 grams for 100 grams of product, but also fiber, including beta glucans, useful to support the immune system and to keep blood sugar and cholesterol under control, and carbohydrates (FDA Database - Khoury et al, J Nutr Metab, 2012). This food also provides vitamins, especially from group B. In fact, it is a powerful source of vitamin B12 and therefore it can be considered in case of a pure vegetarian diet. In this case, in fact, a deficiency of vitamin B12 can be observed. Vitamin B12 is concentrated in animal tissues and therefore is mainly found in foods of animal origin, such as liver, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, milk and dairy products, with the exception of some foods such as tempeh, nori seaweed or the nutritional yeast (O'Leary et al, Nutrients, 2010). This vitamin of group B is very important for our health, in fact it is essential for the synthesis of DNA and for the production of energy, not only that, it is also associated with the health of the hair and its deficiency could cause hair loss. A study was able to observe that including nutritional yeast as a source of vitamin B12 in the diet of people who had a deficiency of this vitamin restored adequate levels of vitamin B12 and at the same time reduced the levels of methylmalonic acid in the urine, an indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency (Donaldson et al, Ann Nutr Metab, 2000). Nutritional yeast is also a valuable source of zinc, an essential mineral that plays a key role in supporting the immune system, the neurological function, the reproduction but also improves the process related to wound healing (Rogerson et al, J Int Soc Sports Nutr. , 2017). In addition to this, zinc is also antioxidant, thus helping to protect the skin from damage caused by UV rays, and anti-inflammatory, useful to fight acne and eczema (Gupta et al, Dermatol Res Pract, 2014). Finally, nutritional yeast also provides folate, important for the synthesis and repair of DNA and for the formation of red blood cells and proteins (Hever et al, Perm J, 2016).
Nutritional yeast, some ideas to bring it to the table
You can add two teaspoons of yeast to salads, but also to flavor vegan sauces or cheeses. For example, in the Video Blog section you can find how to make a tasty vegan ricotta at home by using also nutritional yeast!