Also known as noochnutritional yeast has become very popular with vegetarians and vegans among vegetarians and vegans, given its high content of B vitaminsIts high content of B vitamins, minerals and amino acids make it an extraordinary supplement to enhance all kinds of dishes.
It is a supplement that comes from a fungus and has a salty flavor reminiscent of nuts and is commonly used to emulate the taste of cheese in vegan dishes. It is a complement that can enrich many savory foods, providing not only extra nutrition but also more intense flavors to the dishes. more intense flavors to dishes..
Being such a versatile food, it can be included in smoothies, salads, soups, creams and stews or even to gratinate dishes. In today’s article we will explain what is this interesting superfood and what are its properties and benefits.
What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a product whose main value lies in its nutritional and flavor properties, as it is a food rich in amino acids, minerals and B vitamins.. It has a golden color and can be found on the market in the form of flakes or powder, and its flavor and texture are reminiscent of cheese. You will find it in most natural food stores, although you can also find it in some supermarkets.
It comes from the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiaea unicellular organism that feeds basically on sugars. Like any living being, it needs vitamins and amino acids to grow, elements that it itself produces through biochemical reactions. The result is a yeast with a 70% protein content and a low level of carbohydrates and fats. low carbohydrate and fat content.
It is produced by fermenting cane or beet sugar molasses for one week. It is then washed and subjected to a pasteurization and drying process that renders it inactive. The drying process is carried out below 50-60°C so as not to destroy the vitamins and heat-sensitive enzymes.
What is the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast?
Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are very similar in appearance and in some of their nutritional characteristics. In fact, they come from the same fungus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
However, brewer’s yeast is derived from the fermentation of cereals such as barley or wheat and is a by-product of the brewing industry. For this reason, brewer’s yeast tends to have a bitter taste, although many undergo a final process to remove the original bitter taste. Nutritional yeast, on the other hand, is made specifically from molasses, so it does not have the bitterness characteristic of brewer’s yeast and has a pleasant cheesy flavor..
Although it is common to find on the web a number of cons for preferring nutritional yeast over brewer’s yeast, it seems to be a marketing exercise: there is no scientific backing to address all the claims about contamination coming from another industrial process (brewing). It seems that the only thing that differentiates them is taste.
The flavor of nutritional yeast is slightly salty and reminiscent of aged cheese and nuts. For this reason, it has become one of the essential ingredients in vegan cooking. vegan cuisine.
- To learn more: “Brewer’s yeast: properties and benefits of this supplement”.
Properties of nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is highly appreciated for being very rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, in addition to providing proteins of high biological value and being a very good alternative to cheese for those who are intolerant to dairy products or those who follow a vegan diet. These people usually use it in flakes as a replacement for grated cheese. replacement of grated cheese.
It is very rich in vegetable protein since half of its weight is made up of protein and provides us with 16 different amino acids, including all the essential ones, those that the human body cannot produce and therefore must come from food. It also provides glutathione, a peptide that is key for liver detoxification.
It is a great source of vitamins, especially those of the B group, an essential complex for the optimal functioning of the body. For example, it has 34 times more B1 than oats and nuts and is also rich in B2, B4, B5.
However, this fungus is not able to produce cobalamin, the famous vitamin B12, so important for the formation of red blood cells. Even so, there are nutritional yeast preparations fortified with this vitamin, ideal for vegetarians or vegans. When vitamin B12 is addedis added, nutritional yeast can meet between 40% and 100% of your daily requirement.
In terms of mineral content, nutritional yeast provides significant levels of magnesium, chromium, copper, calcium, zinc, iron and selenium. Since it is not a food and is consumed at the level of a few grams per day, yeast can provide the necessary amount of trace elements, which are lacking in refined and processed foods. In particular, chromium deficiency may be related to diabetes.
Finally, it also provides beta-glucans, a type of soluble and very beneficial fiber that also performs other functions, prevents constipation and benefits the bacteria that make up the intestinal microbiota, among other benefits.
A plate of spaghetti with nutritional yeast. There are many recipes that can be prepared with this supplement.
What are the benefits of nutritional yeast?
Now that we know more about its properties, let’s see what benefits the intake of this superfood can bring.
1. Add more flavor to your meals
Nutritional yeast is a great option if you want to increase the flavor of your dishes, as well as to give a thicker texture to soups, salads and desserts. In the same way, it also allows you to elaborate vegan cheeses.
2. Great complement for athletes
As we have already mentioned, nutritional yeast contains a lot of protein, so it can be used as a supplement for high-performance athletes, as it helps to improve the recovery after intense exercise, especially for vegan athletesespecially for vegan or vegetarian athletes.
3. Strengthens the immune system
Thanks to the fact that it is an excellent source of B vitamins, as well as selenium and zinc. In addition, it also contains beta-glucans which act as immunomodulators and can stimulate immune system cells.
4. Improves digestion
Beta-glucans stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeasts in the colon and may prevent constipation. prevent constipation.
5. Helps reduce cholesterol
Beta-glucans in nutritional yeast decrease the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and therefore contribute to lowering blood cholesterol levels. On the other hand, some B vitamins also help regulate cholesterol levels and prevent hardening of the arteries.
6. Helps control blood sugar levels
And if the benefits of beta-glucans were not few, here is the last one: it has been seen that they can help to mitigate the oscillations in the sugar levels after meals, helping that after eating we do not have high peaks of glucose in blood.
In addition, and as mentioned above, nutritional yeast also contains chromium. This mineral helps to enhance the action of insulin and consequently assists in regulating blood sugar levels.
7. Helps prevent premature aging
Because it is rich in antioxidants such as glutathione, it can protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals and prevent premature aging.
8. Helps maintain proper brain function
Being rich in thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), vitamin B6 and folates, it acts as a vitamin complex that provides energy and helps maintain proper brain function. In addition, it helps to regulate the sleep cycle.
9. It takes care of skin, nails and hair.
Regular consumption of this supplement would help to strengthen nails, hair and skin. However, its niacin (B3) content could trigger skin reddening.
It is important to know that food supplements such as nutritional yeast should not be taken as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. should not be taken as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.. It is necessary to know if our eating habits are meeting all our needs or if we have any deficiencies. There are no superfoods. Only good supplements.
For this reason, contacting a nutritionist or a doctor to help us change our eating habits can be of great help. In addition, nutritional yeast should be used under the guidance of a specialist, especially in the case of pregnant or lactating women.
Despite its benefits, the recommended doses for adults should not exceed 2 to 3 tablespoons and these vary according to the type of diet that each person has. On the other hand, it is necessary to avoid it in:
People with high uric acid.Yeast is high in purines, so it is not recommended in case of gout, arthritis or other conditions related to high uric acid levels.
People with hypertension and depressionYeast is high in tyramine, which can increase blood pressure. Similarly, it may also interact with certain treatments for depression and cause an increase in blood pressure.
People with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel diseasePeople with Crohn’s disease: Yeast may cause a flare-up of the disease or intestinal transit disorders.