The famous food item nutritional yeast, often known as “nooch,” finds frequent use in vegan cookery. Its name comes from the variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that it has, including protein. According to studies, it has a number of possible health advantages, including decreased cholesterol and defense against cellular deterioration that causes disease. This article defines nutritional yeast, examines its health advantages, and offers unique applications for it. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also referred to as “nooch,” is the species used to make nutritional yeast, which is also used to make bread and beer (1). But because it is an inactivated variety, using it to produce bread or beer wouldn’t turn out well and would probably be too bitter to be enjoyable.
Compared to other yeasts
Yeast derived from S. cerevisiae often falls into one of three categories:
- Baking yeast. Baker’s yeast leavens bread and cooking kills it, but it still leaves a yeasty, earthy flavor.
- Yeast used in beer. Beer is made with brewer’s yeast. Although they taste quite bitter, the dead cells that are left over after brewing can be consumed as a nutritious supplement.
- Dietary yeast. This kind has been grown with food consumption in mind. This yeast is rendered inactive during production by the killing of the cells. It provides a savory or umami flavor and is used in cooking or as a spice.
Nutritious yeast varieties
- Cerevisiae cells are cultured for a number of days on a medium high in sugar, such as molasses, to create nutritional yeast. After being heated to deactivate the yeast, it is then harvested, cleaned, dried, crushed, and packaged for sale. Nutritional yeast comes in two varieties: unfortified and fortified.
- Unfortified. There are no additional vitamins or minerals in this kind. It only includes the vitamins and minerals that yeast cells naturally create as they expand.
- Fortified. To increase the amount of nutrients, this variety has synthetic vitamins added during the manufacturing process. The ingredient list includes any additional vitamins.
The most popular variety and one with the most advantages is fortified nutritional yeast. It is offered for sale as powder, granules, or tiny flakes. It can be found in the bulk bins of health food stores or in the spice or condiment department of the majority of supermarkets. It has a light-yellow color, and packaging options include plastic containers, shakers, and bags. Almost every eating plan or style can use this item. It is naturally low in sodium and calories, free of fat, sugar, gluten, and animal products.
Nutritional yeast nutrition facts
Yeast is a good source of B vitamins, trace minerals, and plant-based protein. As additional amounts are added during production, fortified nutritional yeast has more B vitamins than unfortified kinds. Two teaspoons (five grams) of fortified nutritional yeast has the following:
- 20 calories
- 3 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
- Grain: 2 grams
- 0 grams sugar
- 4% of your daily value is fiber (DV)
- Vitamin B2 riboflavin: 246% of the DV
- Vitamin B3 niacin: 109% of the DV
- 212% of the DV for vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9 folate: 59% of the DV
- 313% of the DV for vitamin B12
- 2% of the DV for iron
- 2% of the DV for potassium
Important nutrients in nutritional yeast
- Protein. All nine of the essential amino acids, which must be obtained from diet, are present in nutritional yeast. Additionally, it provides a good amount of plant protein (2).
- Vitamins B. Nutritional yeast that has been fortified is particularly high in B vitamins including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), B6 and B12 (2).
- Trace mineral. These minerals include zinc, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum, which are essential for immunity, development, and metabolism (2, 3, 4).
Read labels carefully to identify the variety that best suits your needs because specific nutritional contents differ between brands.
To reap the greatest health advantages, purchase fortified varieties, especially if you’re using nooch to supplement your diet with additional vitamins and minerals. You might not care as much if nutritional yeast is fortified if you’re using it only for the flavor.
Nutritional yeast is abundant in vitamin B12
Getting adequate vitamin B12 is one of the main nutritional problems for people who adopt a vegan diet, which forbids the use of any animal products. Your blood and nerve cells depend on this vitamin to remain healthy. Additionally, it aids in DNA synthesis and the prevention of megaloblastic anemia, a blood disorder that causes weakness and exhaustion (5, 6). Supplements are the most constant and dependable source of vitamin B12 when following a vegan diet. However, consuming this vitamin-fortified foods like nutritional yeast may also be beneficial. Notably, 2 teaspoons of it provide an incredible 313% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin B12 (2).
Possesses strong antioxidants
Consuming antioxidants can help to reduce your risk of disease by scavenging unstable molecules called free radicals (7, 8). Studies show that the potent antioxidants glutathione and selenomethionine are present in nutritional yeast (9, 10). These substances may help shield your cells from oxidative stress brought on by free radicals and heavy metals, as well as aid in the body’s removal of pollutants from the environment (11, 12).
May improve immunological function
Alpha mannan and beta glucan are the two primary carbohydrates found in nutritional yeast. These carbohydrates may help protect your body from infections, according to animal studies that suggest they have antibacterial and antifungal properties (14, 15, 16, 17). In particular, beta glucan may enhance immunity and general health by stimulating immune cells and concentrating on the gut flora (18, 19). However, human research is still required.
May also reduce cholesterol levels
Additionally, nutritional yeast’s beta glucan may reduce cholesterol. Men with high cholesterol who took 15 grams of yeast-derived beta glucan daily for eight weeks saw a 6% reduction in total cholesterol (20). Oats and barley are two additional foods that contain beta glucan. Numerous studies demonstrate that oat beta glucan can dramatically lower cholesterol levels, which are a risk factor for heart disease due to their high levels (21, 22, 23, 24). Although the beta glucan in oats and yeast have slightly different chemical structures, prior research suggests they have similar cholesterol-lowering effects (25).
Using nutritional yeast
To preserve its vitamin content, nutritional yeast should be stored in a cool, dark environment. Additionally, securely shut the container to prevent moisture from entering. It can endure for up to two years when stored properly. A few applications for nooch include:
- An umami flavor in soups, stews, or chili
- A savory, cheesy flavor in vegan sauces
- A thickening for soups and sauces
- An ingredient in smoothies
- A pet food additive.
Depending on the recipe, nutritional yeast serving amounts range from 2-4 tablespoons (5–10 grams).
Safety and negative effects
It is acceptable to consume up to several tablespoons (10–30 grams) of nutritional yeast per day in moderation. To consume more of it than the acceptable upper intake levels (UL) for the numerous vitamins and minerals it contains, quite large amounts would be needed. However, you should obviously avoid it is you are allergic, as with anything (26, 27). People who have a hard time metabolizing folic acid, such as those with the MTHFR gene mutation, should carefully study labels and may prefer to buy nutritional yeast that isn’t fortified (28).
Conclusions regarding nutritional yeast
High in nutrients and vegan, nutritional yeast has a number of possible health advantages. You may quickly increase the amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in meals with it. It’s frequently used as a vegan cheese sauce flavor and as a salad and soup topping. More study is required, although studies have shown that it may support immunity and decrease cholesterol.