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What is Nutritional Yeast?: Fun, Facts, and Flavours

Those on a plant based diet have no doubt heard of nutritional yeast, often affectionately called ‘nooch’. This flaky add-in is packed with essential vitamins and adds a rich, cheesy taste to meat and dairy free foods to help vegans beat their cravings for animal products.

Not only does it have a great taste, but it can be an important way to get B vitamins that non-meat eaters might be missing out on. Even if you eat meat or dairy, nutritional yeast can be a great way to add flavour to your healthy dishes and keep you from snacking on calorie-packed cravings later. If you’ve seen nutritional yeast in the health foods aisle of your local shop and are curious what the hype is all about, read on to learn more about its health benefits and learn some easy, tasty recipe tricks.

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Nutritional yeast, also known as deactivated yeast, is a yellowish flaked powder that can be mixed in, or sprinkled over all your favourite healthy foods. It has a salty, almost cheesy taste and is frequently used to replace cheese on popcorn, pasta, or baked vegetables. Nutritional yeast won’t make a loaf of bread rise, but it is still full of gut-friendly health benefits. Some brands of nutritional yeast come fortified with iron and vitamin B12, a critical supplement for vegans who cannot get B12 from their diets.

Also, one tablespoon of nutritional yeast on average has only 30 calories, where a tablespoon of oil or cheese used instead could have five times that. There is also nearly five grams of complete protein in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, which can help vegetarians and vegans feel more satiated and help them reach their macronutrient needs for the day. Nutritional yeast also contains free glutamic acid, which is a result of the protein walls in the yeast breaking down into their amino acid components. Glutamic acid is a flavourful compound, and acts like a naturally occurring, harmless form of monosodium glutamate, with none of the potential health risks.

If you’re curious about making changes to your diet and how they can help you manage your overall health, it is always a good idea to speak to a doctor or nutritionist. If you can’t access a nutritionist through your GP easily, there are plenty of low cost health insurance plans that give you easy access to consultants and experts in a variety of medical fields. This kind of protection for your health is something you should consider to boost your wellness generally. If you want to make major changes to your diet and exercise regime, especially if you’re managing an existing medical condition, it is especially important that you speak with a doctor before making any big changes.

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