Nutritional yeast may not have the prettiest name, but this amazing supplement is so good it doesn’t need one. While it is well known among vegetarians and vegans for its high protein content and savory flavor, nutritional yeast is just now making its appearance on the mainstream health scene.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is actually made from Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, a single-celled organism that grows on molasses. After the yeast is harvested, it is washed and heated, which effectively kills and deactivates the organism. While this may sound strange, keep in mind that this organism is a fungus, so you can compare its life cycle to that of a mushroom’s. It’s also important to note that nutritional yeast is different from brewer’s yeast, which is made to brew beer, and baker’s yeast, used for baking.
Nutritional Yeast Nutritional Facts
The Huffington Post says nutritional yeast is rich in B Vitamins, amino acids, and protein. It is also fortified with folic acid, zinc, and selenium. Some brands like Red Star yeast are also fortified with B12, an important nutrient that is impossible to otherwise find in vegetarian sources except for supplements. It is also gluten free.
Nutritional Yeast Uses
Nutritional yeast can be used as a delicious topping on everything from snack recipes to roasted vegetables and in mashed potatoes, pasta, and bean recipes. It has a nutty, almost cheese-like flavor that is savory and satisfying without a lot of fat or calories. Vegans and non-dairy vegetarians often use nutritional yeast to make “cheesy” sauces, and it can be stirred into soups and gravies to boost flavor or substituted in traditionally rich or cheesy foods like macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, and other casseroles. Do remember that though it is a low calorie food, nutritional yeast is not calorie free. If weight loss is a goal, it may be necessary to exercise restraint.
Everyone can benefit from this food’s versatility and nutrient-boost. For vegetarians and vegans, nutritional yeast is a way to enjoy “cheesy” foods again, while omnivores can use nutritional yeast as a health-boosting supplement.
- “Nutritional Yeast: The Surprisingly Tasty Health Food”, Huffington Post
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