What is Nutritional Yeast?

Huntsville, AL – Whenever we hear about the process of making bread, yeast often comes into the picture. It is an interesting fungus that changes the property of sugar into alcohol. The presence or lack thereof is often a requirement in various religious texts and it is one of the biggest achievements in human civilization. So, what makes yeast nutritional in the first place? Is there a difference between both good and bad yeast? And why is it so important to people both past and present?  That is what we are going to find out.

What is Yeast?

Yeast is a species of fungus that scientists call Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a Latinized Greek term that means “sugar fungus” or “sugar mold”. They appear in nature on ripe fruits, such as grapes. It is not airborne like other types of fungus or mold, and often requires direct contact from either neighboring fruit or social wasps that act as pollinators.

The main uses for this type of yeast are for winemaking, baking and providing carbon dioxide for aquatic plants.

The fermentation of grapes and grains for wine and beer is something that predates writing. Most archaeologists and anthropologists believed that it was an attempt to preserve the sweetness of natural wild berries around the time people stopped being nomadic and started to cultivate their own farms.

Nutritional Yeast

But that is a different type of yeast when you compare it to the nutritional yeast that is in production today.  While it is still the same type of yeast, the process of making it into a food product.

Nutritional yeast is a  “dairy-free savory food seasoning especially favored by vegans for its cheese-like flavor.”

Cheese, much like any other preserved food, goes through a process not unlike fermentation, only it also has milkfat involved.  An excess of lipids that come from milkfat, as well as ethics regarding vegetarianism,  are often the reason why most people are looking for substitutes for cheese or any sort of savory byproducts.

Hence, the creation of nooch or nutritional yeast.

Yeast

How Do You Make Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a dead form of yeast. It goes through a baking process to prevent the dangers of it getting active.  According to Bon Appetit,

“It’s the same strain of yeast bakers use to leaven bread, except it’s been pasteurized to dry out the yeast in order to extract its nutritional benefits.

This yeast is grown in vats of molasses, nutrients, and water. Once the yeast is mature, it gets poured out onto a conveyor belt and goes through a drying process that breaks it down into little flakes. The nutritional yeast you can buy at the store has a bright yellow hue and is most commonly sold powdered or in flakes.”

But just because something is trendy in whole food stores, doesn’t mean that it is nutritional in nature.  So, what type of nutrition does it have?

The Nutrition in Nutritional Yeast

For starters, one tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains all 9 essential amino acids that humans need to get from other foods. This means that the yeast has a lot of protein. Nutritional yeast also has a lot of vitamin B, which can decrease high blood sugar levels.

And that is without the addition of extra vitamins and minerals. Some brands of nutritional yeast are fortified with more vitamins and minerals to make it a decent nutritional supplement.

All of these things, fortified or not, can support the immune system. It can also promote skin, hair, and nail health, as well as support a healthy pregnancy.

That sounds like that it lives up to its namesake.

How Do People Use the Yeast?

Typically, it is a substitute for cheese, so it would take the place where shredded cheese would normally go. It is often on popcorn toppings, mixed in with several types of salads, or anywhere else where a condiment might go.

If you think that it is a good idea to incorporate it into your diet, or at least try it once or twice, you can most likely find it in a health food store.

nutritional yeast