Nutritional Yeast is this odd flake-like substance that you hear about and see in recipes a lot (especially dairy free & vegan ones) and sure, it definitely does the trick on making a meal have an amazing cheesy flavor and texture. It’s inexpensive, takes very little to use in a recipe effectively, but also has some truly wild nutritional stats. I mean, it is called “nutritional” yeast after all.

What is nutritional yeast?? It’s actually a single-cell organism that is grown on molasses and harvested, washed, dried and heated up to “deactivate” it. It’s not like regular yeast which is active, meaning it has the ability to grow in baked goods, it’s what makes bread rise! Often nicknamed “nooch”, nutritional yeast is the answer to many problems in a vegan diet, such as a lack of b12, iron or perhaps even protein.  In some countries, nutritional yeast is called “savory yeast flakes” but they are all the same, and you will definitely be wanting to add it to more meals after you read this list of benefits.

If you’re seeking ways to use nutritional yeast (or “nooch”) in your diet more, check out THIS article for recipes you can create with it!

1. It’s High In Protein

When you think of protein, you’d rarely imagine that you can get so much from so little, unless you’re having a concentrated amount of it, like with a protein powder. However, nutritional yeast has a shockingly large amount of protein in it, up to 8 grams of protein actually…in just 2 tablespoons. Not to mention, for only 60 calories.

Add this to your meals and you’ll be easily upping your daily protein intake! WebMD says adult men need about 56 grams per day and adult women need about 46 grams per day. Protein is an import to keep your muscles healthy and can help you feel full for longer periods of time.

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2. It’s Rich In B12

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in keeping your nervous system healthy, energy metabolism, and other functions. This vitamin is especially key for those on a vegan diet, or someone deficient in B12. Healthline says that nutritional yeast contains 5 mcg of vitamin B12 per tablespoon.

If you are eating nutritional yeast regularly (adding to salads and pasta is especially amazing) you may not even need to supplement with B12 vitamins! Just make sure to check the label of the nutritional yeast to see if is fortified in order. That way, you can reap the benefits of B12 that come from it.

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3. It Contains Iron

Iron deficiency and anemia are incredibly common around the world, regardless of diet. However, for many their diet without meat can also mean a diet with less iron. In addition to the many plant-based foods that can assist with that, there’s also nutritional yeast.

In one serving of nutritional yeast, you can get about 5% of your daily intake of iron. While it’s not a ton, depending on your meal and how much nutritional yeast you’re using – this can easily help supplement your body’s need for iron! Simply add some nutritional yeast to your meals to help boost your daily intake.

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4. It’s High In Fiber

When you think of fiber you often think of fruits and vegetables, beans, flax, and bran. So it may come as a surprise that nutritional yeast is actually a great source of fiber, too. Considering it comes off as more of a seasoning, nutritional yeast in just 2 tablespoons packs about 5 grams of fiber! Healthline says that’s around 20% of your daily intake.

Getting enough fiber is essential for your digestive health because it helps keep bowel movements regular. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that healthy adults eat 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day.

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5. It’s No Sugar, Low-Carb

One of the toughest parts of consuming a healthy diet is keeping your added sugar intake in check. The CDC says that added sugars should account to less than 10 percent of your daily calories. Luckily, nutritional yeast contains no added sugars so it won’t have any negative impact on your blood sugar levels!

Another concern people on diets tend to track is their carbohydrate intake. WebMD says that nutritional yeast has only 5 grams of carbs per serving. But with all that fiber, it ends up being only 1g net carbs! This is great for those following along with a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

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6. It Contains Folic Acid

Folic acid is another important form of a B-vitamin that’s essential to your diet, especially if you’re a woman who may become pregnant. Folic acid can prevent unborn babies from some pretty serious birth defects such as spina bifida. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you get enough of it during your reproductive years.

The CDC says women should get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. With a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, you’l be getting 40 percent of your daily folic acid requirements! Just make sure your doctor knows that you’re using nutritional yeast as a way to get this supplement.

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7. It Can Improve Digestion

Enjoying nutritional yeast in your foods can actually aid your digestive system. Since there are probiotics in nutritional yeast, it can have some really positive effects on your gut, especially if you’re dealing with diarrhea. Since it’s easy to add to your meals with a shake or mix in of the nutritional yeast flakes, it’s perfect for blending in some probiotics to your daily diet!

Keep in mind that too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Medicine Net says that too much nutritional yeast can potentially cause digestion problems. Start with smaller amounts of yeast and increase the amount slowly over time to avoid an upset stomach.

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8. It’s Anti-Viral

Nutritional yeast is one of the world’s best anti-viral foods. Many are using nutritional yeast in their daily diets just for its ability to help combat even yeast infections, ironically enough. It’s actually been shown to have profound effects on even e.coli, salmonella in studies performed on pigs.

Medical News Today says there is research showing how nutritional yeast supports the immune system and even reduces inflammation from bacterial infection. Further, it may also be helpful in treating diarrhea. While more research need to be done to better understand the effects in humans, this information we have is promising.

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9. It Promotes Healthy Hair, Skin, Nails

Since nutritional yeast has a healthy serving of B-vitamins, you may discover a surprise impact of including more nutritional yeast into your diet — healthier hair, skin, and nails! Something called niacin can be found in nutritional yeast, which has been shown to help battle chronic acne and other common skin problems.

If you’re dealing with stubborn skin issues, implementing some nutritional yeast into your diet could be worth a shot. People suffering from brittle nails and hair loss may also see positive changes thanks to nutritional yeast. Start adding some nutritional yeast into your daily meals and be on the lookout for improvements.

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10. It’s Gluten-Free

We often think of yeast and immediately think of loaves of bread and beers and things that use yeast to make them, however, the yeast itself is gluten-free! This is great news for people living with food allergies or sensitivities, such as the two million people in the United States with celiac disease.

Since nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast, you cannot make gluten-free bread with it like regular yeast which helps the bread to rise. However, you can add it to gluten-free bread recipes for that nutty, cheesy flavor, or perhaps mix it into your gluten-free breading next time you’re baking something coated.

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11. It Can Aid In Weight Loss

Many people struggle with weight loss for a variety of reasons, but a big one being that they aren’t providing their bodies with enough protein and vitamins to successfully achieve their goals. Since nutritional yeast is a complete protein, but low in calories, it’s a perfect addition to your diet when you’re trying to shed some excess weight.

Plus, nutritional yeast can also support your protein, iron and B12 needs! B12 can help your metabolism break down carbs and turn it into energy. Plus, the protein aspect can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time and prevent you from overeating.

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12. It’s Cheesy, Yet Dairy-Free

The biggest and best bonus of nutritional yeast is arguably the fact that it mimics the flavor of cheese so well, yet remains completely dairy-free and vegan. You can reap the tasty benefits cheese has to offer without the excess calories or fats. Some people also say it has a nutty taste, which is another bonus if it’s something you’re into.

Whether allergy or lifestyle choice, avoiding dairy is hard and cheese is proven to be one of the most addictive foods to give up. With nutritional yeast, you will be amazed at how you can replace that cheesy flavor in so many recipes while remaining dairy-free.

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Sarah Nicole

Since successfully losing 100lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, Sarah has taken her passion for food and balanced it between cucumbers and cupcakes. When she's not bustling her way around a kitchen, you can find her working out or winding down at home with her 3 kids and pug. Follow Sarah's journey on Instagram @TheBirdsPapaya.

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