Nutritional yeast is a highly nutritious vegan food product, with various potential health benefits. It can be used to add extra protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to meals and is shelf-stable for up to two years. Typically added to many foods for a nutty, cheesy or savoury flavour as well as adding extra vitamins and minerals.
Fortified nutritional yeast is a vegan-friendly source of complete protein, B vitamins and trace minerals required for optimal health. One of the key benefits of working with nutritional yeast is that it contains many B vitamins:
One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 30–180% of the RDI for B vitamins. When fortified, it is especially rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. One tablespoon also contains 2 grams of protein, making it an easy way for vegans to add high-quality protein to meals.
B12 is needed for a healthy nervous system, DNA production, energy metabolism and the creation of red blood cells, although it is only found naturally in animal products, so vegans are able to supplement their diet to avoid becoming deficient by introducing nutritional yeast to their meals.
Nutritional yeast also contains two main carbohydrates — alpha-mannan and beta-glucan! Beta-glucan (also found in other foods, such as oats and seaweed) in nutritional yeast may help lower cholesterol levels. All those healthy components, along with the rich flavour, can jazz up your healthy meals!
Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled over popcorn or pasta, stirred into soups for added flavour, used as a “cheese” flavouring in vegan sauces or as a thickener for soups and sauces. Nutritional yeast can even be added to pet food for extra nutrients!