Nutritional yeast looks like wheat germ and tastes like a nutty, flaky, grated cheddar cheese. It is made from a single celled organism sporting the impressive name: Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed and dried with heat to kill or ‘deactivate’ it. Because it is inactive, it doesn’t froth or grow like baking yeast. Don’t confuse it with Brewar’s Yeast as it has nothing in common AND, it will not give you a yeast infection (as many misguided people believe!).
Nutritional yeast does not let down its name. Indeed it is packed with nutrition, particularly B vitamins, folic acid ( a form of vitamin B9 – the human body needs folate to synthesize DNA, repair DNA, and methylate DNA as well as to act as a cofactor in certain biological reactions), selenium (the antioxidant property of selenium helps the body from the damaging effects of free radicals and thus build immunity), zinc ( a deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system and increased inflammation, a known trigger of aging and chronic illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) and protein (they are essential to the production of healthy body cells and tissues and, all enzymes, which are the flames that ignite chemical reactions in the body, are made from proteins)- all of which power cell growth and repair and regeneration and help good hormones.
Nutritional yeast low in fat, gluten free and contains no added sugar or preservatives. Because vitamin B-12 is absent from plant foods unless it’s added as a supplement, you need to specifically buy nutritional yeast that contains B-12 like Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula.
What do the B vitamins do for you in general? The B vitamins play essential roles in the complex biochemical machinery that breaks glucose into ATP, releasing energy from the food we eat. In that way, B vitamins make it possible for your body to use energy — but they don’t contain energy. In short, they are critical for the metabolic processes which power the body.
An additional benefit of nutritional yeast is that you will notice stronger, longer nails! You can buy nutritional yeast in health or organic stores although not in a regular grocery store.
But how can you use it?
- Blend into mashed potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower
- Add to soup
- Mix in a little water and you have a cheesy polenta
- Add to pancakes
- Add to bean recipes
- Add to pasta
- Add to popcorn
- Add to breadcrumbs if you are roasting fish or meat
- Add to marinades for roasting vegetables (I add to roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower)
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