Nutritional yeast…unless you are a dedicated vegan or die-hard foodie, this food item may be completely foreign to you. Let’s get to know this cheesy alternative with nutrition Expert Emily Holdorf!
You may have heard others talking about nutritional yeast, but you’re still unsure what it actually is. This little known superfood is a “cheesy”, savory delight that is becoming more and more popular on your supermarket shelves.
Many affectionately call it nature’s “Cheeto” powder!
Nutritional yeast is an inactive, pasteurized version of the same strain of yeast used to make bread rise. Due to its growing process, it is packed with nutrients, resembles a cheesy flavor without being a dairy product, and is sold in either a powdered or flaked form.
This nutrition powerhouse packs a punch, and there’s no question why ‘nutritional’ is in the name!
Just 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast provides you with:
- 160% daily value of Riboflavin
- 140% daily value of B6
- 40% daily value of B12
- 180% daily value of Thiamin
- 70% daily value of Niacin
- 40% daily value of Folic Acid
- 30% daily value of Pantothenic Acid
- 20 calories
- 3 grams of protein
- Fiber & probiotics
As a great option for flavoring meals, this savory seasoning is naturally sodium- and fat-free. My favorite part about nutritional yeast is that people who are vegan or cannot consume dairy products can still enjoy the cheesy goodness in their dishes!
Let’s find out just how much nutritional yeast benefits our health:
Due to its fiber and probiotics, nutritional yeast lends a helping hand to prevent or lessen digestive issues. Plus, nutritional yeast provides a cheesy flavor without being a dairy product. That means people who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can still get that yummy flavor without the bloat and digestive discomfort!
Complete Protein Source
Nutritional yeast is a complete protein source, and contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies don’t make naturally. This means nutritional yeast can be a little extra protein boost for vegan and vegetarian diets.
A Natural Multi-vitamin
Due to its rich nutrient profile, nutritional yeast can help lessen your risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Nutritional yeast provides adequate amounts of nearly all critical B-vitamins that may be lacking in vegan and vegetarian lifestyles.
Thiamin, B6, and B12 all have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Since nutritional yeast is high in these three B-vitamins, it is a great way to combat the effects of inflammation in the body.
So the next time you find yourself at the grocery store, pick up a jar of nutritional yeast and use it in your cooking, just as you would grated cheese!
Emily Holdorf, RDN is a Scranton, PA-based private practice dietitian on a mission to empower others to live a healthier, happier life. By emphasizing a non-diet approach to eating, Emily helps individuals form a better relationship with food by focusing on why there’s room for every food in moderation. Find out more about about Emily at EmPowered Nutrition.