Fortify Your Diet With Nutritional Yeast

Add More Nutrients to Your Diet

   Sprinkle Nutritional Yeast on Your Foods
Credit: Renee Comet Photostream

Healthy Food From the Bottom of the Food Chain

What Are the Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast?

 Nutritional yeast is a cholesterol-free, high nutrient food that helps many vegans, vegetarians  and  other health-conscious dieters to fortify their diets.  Nutritional yeast is an edible fungus  that can provide a strong nutritional support for good health.  This gluten-free, simple food is highly regarded for the quality and quantity of its protein, vitamins, trace minerals, and dietary fibers.


  Yeast is not an animal or a plant.  It is a fungus, an organism that is  found at the bottom of our food chain.  Nutritional yeast is grown commercially in a molasses-based medium.  After the yeast is harvested, it is typically heated to deactivate the yeast enzymes. This deactivated yeast may also be fortified with vitamin B12.   Consequently, nutritional  yeast for the consumers is not alive, and it lacks enzymatic activity.  The nutrients, however, are intact.

 Nutritional Profile 

 Yeast has similar qualities and nutritional profiles as the mushroom, another edible fungus.  Like the mushroom, nutritional yeast is rich in dietary fibers, protein, vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. Additionally, these fungi have some healthy nutritional qualities that are missing in plant and animal-based foods.  Nutritional yeast and mushrooms are rich in  dietary fibers, a quality that is missing in animal based-sources of foods. They also have complete protein and vitamin B12,  qualities that are marginal or non-existent in most plant-based foods. 

  A summary of the nutrients in nutritional yeast is shown below. The nutrient values are based on a typical serving of two heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast (16 grams). 

u  Protein,   7 grams

u  Dietary fiber,  4 grams 

u  Carbohydrates,  5 grams

u  Thiamine (vitamin B1),  670 % DV (percent of daily value)

u  Riboflavin (vitamin B2),  590 % DV

u  Niacin (vitamin B3),  280 % DV

u  Vitamin B6,  560 % DV

u  Vitamin B12,  400 % DV

u  Selenium,  30 % DV

 Quality Protein 

 Quality protein or complete protein is a protein that has all of the nine essential amino acids.   Essential amino acids are the amino acids that your body can not produce.  You must obtain them from outside sources to maintain normal vital functions.  Your body breaks down ingested protein and uses its amino acids  to build human protein molecules (like the enzymes) and structures (like the muscles).  Your body can not synthesize a protein in the absence of any essential amino acid that is needed in the protein chain.

 The presence of every essential amino acid in the nutritional yeast is important and unique because quality protein is rarely found in non-animal sources,   The few non-animal sources of quality protein are mushrooms, soy beans, quinoa and yeast.

  The quality protein of the nutritional yeast  is one factor that makes this fungus a welcomed addition in the menu of the vegans, vegetarians and  other health-conscious dieters.  Typically,  a vegan and people on animal-free diet  must eat a variety of foods from non-animal sources to assure adequate amounts of essential amino acids in their diet.  By including nutritional yeast in the diet, a person can reduce the number of different non-animal sources of foods needed to maintain adequate amount of essential amino acids in the body.

 Dietary Fibers 

 Nutritional yeast is rich in dietary fibers.  It has a dietary fiber content of 25 %.  Dietary fiber is sometimes called the “foundation of a healthy diet”  because of the critical role that it plays in promoting good health. It is a mistake to see dietary fibers as  valueless non-nutritive elements in the food.

 One of the most important beneficial health  effects of dietary fibers is that ithey help to control the rate of nutrient absorption from the small intestine so that excessive amounts of nutrients are not quickly introduced into the blood stream.  This effect is particularly important in the utilization of sugars (eg,. glucose).  If high energy nutrients like glucose is rapidly introduced into the blood stream, insulin surge can occur.  If this surge is frequent or sustained, then your body can become  ineffective in managing the energy nutrients.  This would set the stage for a decrease in insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance,  obesity, diabetes and numerous  other chronic  diseases.

 Another important function of  dietary fibers is that they help to maintain  healthy digestive systems.  By stimulating proper movement of the  gastrointestinal smooth muscles (peristaltic action), dietary fiber help  to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.   Dietary fibers are also credited for preventing various gastrointestinal cancers.


 Like the mushroom,  nutritional yeast is a vitamin-rich food.   Nutritional yeast is particularly noted for its B vitamins.  The B vitamins are important for energy production and for boosting your energy.  Some B vitamins (B6 and B12) are also helpful for  improving memory and mental alertness.    

 The presence of vitamin B 12 in nutritional yeast is another key factor that makes this fungus an attractive food for the vegans and vegetarians.  Plant sources of foods provide very little or no vitamin B12.  Animal sources of food are the primary sources of vitamin B 12.  Therefore, vegans and vegetarians are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency. Consumption of nutritional yeast helps you  to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, a very common health problem. 

 Trace Minerals

 Some trace minerals are essential for life.  Among these trace minerals are iron, zinc and selenium.  Nutritional yeast is rich in both macro minerals and trace minerals. The  macro minerals include potassium and magnesium.  Magnesium and potassium are helpful for lowering blood pressure and  maintaining cardiovascular health. 

 The trace minerals in  nutritional yeast that promote good health include selenium, chromium, zinc and iron.  Selenium, chromium  and zinc  are important metabolism-boosting minerals. Selenium and zinc act indirectly to boost metabolism mainly by improving the function of the thyroid gland.  Chromium has a more direct effect on metabolism and and your body's management of high energy foods.    Chromium increase insulin sensitivity so that normal metabolic activity can proceed without insulin spikes. The absence of insulin spikes lowers  the risks of obesity and diabetes.

 Some trace minerals can also help to prevent some chronic diseases.  Selenium and  zinc have strong antioxidant properties.  This makes them very helpful for  protecting you against various types of cancers and numerous other diseases.  Zinc and iron (another trace mineral) can also support mental alertness and other cognitive functions.

 Using Nutritional Yeast 

 Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on your favorite foods to improve the levels of  vital nutrients. in your diet.   Some examples of foods that can be fortified with nutritional yeast are  fruit juices, soups, cold cereals, salad dressing, oat meal, pizza, spaghetti, pop corn,  yogurt and protein drinks. 

 Although nutritional yeast attracts interest  because of its nutritional value, some people add it to their food for flavor enhancement.  Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor. Consequently, you can enhance the cheese flavor of your foods without the high caloric value of cheese.

 Nutritional Yeast Vs, Brewer's Yeast 

 People are sometimes confused about  the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast.  The major functional difference between them is that brewer's yeast has active yeast enzymes.  The enzymes in the nutritional yeast are deactivated with heat, and the yeast is dead.  Consequently, nutritional yeast can not cause fermentation,  a process that requires active yeast enzymes. You can not make beer or wine with nutritional yeast.   Brewer's yeast is used for making wine and beer; whereas, you can use  nutritional yeast  to fortify the nutrients in your foods. 

 Yeast Infection

 Some people are reluctant to use nutritional yeast because of concerns about yeast infections.  This concern is not warranted because nutritional yeast (Sacchaaromyces  Cerevosoae) is not the variety of yeast that causes yeast infection.  Yeast infection is caused by a yeast variety called Candida Albiancans.  Another reason why nutritional yeast does not cause infection is that this yeast is  inactivated  (killed with heat) before it is made available for consumption.  Only live Candida Albiancans  can cause yeast infections. 

 Nutritionally Sound Body 

 Nutritional yeast helps you to build a nutritionally sound body.  This is important because a nutritionally sound body is a body that works properly.  Numerous health benefits go hand in hand with a a nutritionally sound body.  For example, a nutritionally sound body can maintain proper body weight and body fat distribution.   Additionally, it is less prone to infection  because of the  immune system which has been strengthened by good nutrition. 

Meet Your Dietary Objectives with Nutritional Yeast

Lose Weight With Nutritional Yeast

  Build Muscles With Nutritional Yeast
Credit: Stu-Spivac

Improve Your Health With Nutritional Yeast

Fortify Your Body With Antioxidant Trace Minerals

   Boost Your Energy With The  B Vitamins
Credit: ThomasLife on flickr