Everything you wanted to know about nutritional yeast

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast, like all yeasts, is a member of the fungi family. Nutritional yeast is a form of deactivated yeast, usually a strain of the single-celled fungus Saccharomyces Cerevisae. They are created by culturing in a nutrient medium for several days; the main ingredient is glucose, which is obtained from sugar cane or beet molasses. When the yeast is ready, it is harvested, washed and then deactivated using a thorough heat treatment. Fortified yeast has additional vitamins and nutrients added to it during this process. Nutritional yeast is then packaged as flakes, granules, or powder.

Dried nutritional yeast is very different from bread and brewer’s yeast. Unlike them, nutritional yeast does not ferment, but gives the food a special intense taste, similar to the taste of hard cheese.

Two types of nutritional yeast

Unfortified yeast does not contain any additional vitamins or minerals. Only those that are naturally produced by yeast cells during growth.

Fortified nutritional yeast contains vitamins that have been added to enhance the nutritional value of the yeast. Of course, it’s nice to think you’re getting extra vitamins, but it’s important to carefully study the composition of fortified nutritional yeast to make sure it’s right for you. 

Nutritional Benefits

Nutritional yeast is low-calorie, sodium-enriched, fat-free, and gluten-free. This is an easy way to give a dish an original taste. Both fortified and non-fortified yeast are rich in B vitamins, but only fortified nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is produced by microorganisms and is not normally found in plants. B12 is a key element of any vegetarian diet – it is necessary for the proper formation of red blood cells and DNA synthesis, while its deficiency can cause anemia and damage to the nervous system. The average recommended daily intake of B12 for adults is 2,4 mg. A typical serving of fortified nutritional yeast contains 2,2 mg of B12, which is almost all of your daily value. 

Nutritional yeast contains all nine amino acids that make up the proteins in our body that are needed to support our mental health, metabolism, and blood glucose levels. They also contain the natural polysaccharide beta-glucan 1-3. It has been found that beta-glucans stimulate the immune system and strengthen it in the fight against bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.

How to Use Nutritional Yeast

With its punchy nutty and cheesy notes, nutritional yeast makes a great addition to many dishes. Not only do they increase the nutrient levels in a dish, but they also provide extra flavor. Sprinkle yeast over vegan cheese, popcorn, or use it to flavor vegetable chips. Nutritional yeast is a great addition to sauces, especially pasta sauces, and is also a great flavor for vegan cheese buns. Most importantly, don’t forget the difference between nutritional yeast and active yeast. Nutritional yeast won’t help your homemade bread rise.

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