In recent years, many people have started consuming a specific type of yeast called nutritional yeast. It is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is sold commercially as a food product. Due to its nutritional content, yeast in this form may increase a person's energy, support their immune system, and offer additional health benefits. Now we will take a look at five benefits of this nutritional yeast and different ways to use it.
1. Boosting energy
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein. One-quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast contains 17.60 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12.
It can be particularly helpful for vegetarians and vegans if it has added vitamin B-12, as this vitamin mostly occurs in animal products. Adults need about 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 per day. Just one-quarter of a cup of nutritional yeast provides more than seven times this amount.
2. Supporting the immune system
Some studies have shown that S. cerevisiae, the strain of yeast in nutritional yeast, can help the immune system and reduce inflammation resulting from bacterial infection. It may also help treat diarrhea.
3. Promoting skin, hair, and nail health
Some research suggests that nutritional yeast can combat brittle nails and hair loss. It may also help reduce acne and improve other common skin problems, particularly in adolescence.
4. Improving glucose sensitivity
People believe that nutritional yeast improves glucose sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. However, it hasn't been proved yet. Some research on the chromium-enriched enzyme, which is usually brewer's yeast, found that this type of yeast could lower fasting blood glucose levels and cholesterol in an animal model.
5. Supporting a healthy pregnancy
It is recommended that all women who are planning a pregnancy take 400–800 mcg of folic acid a day to prevent congenital abnormalities and support the growth of the fetus. Manufacturers frequently fortify nutritional yeast with folic acid, which can make it a useful supplement for pregnant women. Some brands of nutritional yeast may contain more than a standard serving of folic acid though, so individuals should consult a doctor before using it as a supplement.
Despite all of these benefits of the nutritional yeast, it is not suitable for everyone. Researchers have recommended that individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), glaucoma, and hypertension avoid using nutritional yeast because it could make their symptoms worse. People with a yeast sensitivity or allergy, and people with a higher risk of gout should avoid nutritional yeast.
How to use nutritional yeast?
It comes in the form of flakes or as a powder. The flavor is savory, nutty, or cheesy. You can add it as a savory seasoning to different dishes, like pasta or salads.
Other ways to use nutritional yeast include sprinkling it on popcorn instead of butter or salt; mixing it into risotto instead of Parmesan cheese; or making a vegan alternative to a cheese sauce, such as the one in this recipe. Also as an ingredient in a vegan macaroni and cheese dish, such as this one; stirring it into creamy soups for added nutrients; adding it to scrambled eggs or tofu scramble; mixing it into a nut roast or stuffing.
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