Nutritional Yeast

What is it?

First off, let me be frank, it is ugly and it smells funny but, nutritional yeast flakes may be one of your best finds to date. Seriously. It’s that good in terms of nutrition and taste. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor and provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals and protein that almost anyone can enjoy.

Make sure you don’t confuse nutritional yeast with baker’s yeast, which is still active and could grow inside your stomach, depriving you of nutrients, or with brewer’s yeast, which is inactive but distinctly bitter. You can find nutritional yeast at almost any health food store, usually in bulk. I like Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning!

What do I do with it?

I add nutritional yeast raw to smoothies or salads, or sprinkle it over popcorn (one of my faves), stir into soup or toss into pasta. Nutritional yeast is used to create vegan “cheese” dishes such as nacho dip and mac ‘n’ cheese. I have a vegan gravy recipe I’ll share with you soon that passes for Grandma’s gravy. For real. I’ve used it at Thanksgiving and no one knew the difference. They actually commented on how good it was. Love that.

How does it help me?

Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, meaning that among the 18 amino acids it has are the nine essential ones that your body cannot produce. Nutritional yeast also provides the compounds beta-1,3 glucan, trehalose, mannan and glutathione, which are associated with enhanced immunity, reduced cholesterol levels and cancer prevention. You get a significant dose of the minerals iron, selenium and zinc when you consume nutritional yeast. One serving of nutritional yeast provides about 4 grams of fiber, too.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to try it, check this out:

  • source of B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, B-6 and niacin. Just 1/2 tablespoon of some brands will provide you with a day’s worth of B vitamins
  • dairy free
  • soy free
  • lacks Candida albicans, the type of yeast that aggravates the fungal infection known as candidiasis
  • low salt
  • gluten-free

Pop some popcorn tonight and sprinkle your new ‘cheese’ on it! Enjoy.

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