Nutritional yeast is actually a microorganism that grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it is deactivated through a high heat treatment and turned into nutritional yeast crumbles or flakes. It can be added to several dishes from soups, salads, over popcorn or toast or wherever you are looking for a nutty or cheesy flavor! It provides a plethora of vitamins, minerals and protein for anyone following any diet whether you are gluten-free, paleo, lactose-intolerant or living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Here are five reasons to start incorporating nutritional yeast into your diet.
1. It’s a vegetarian source of vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is not only essential for the production of red blood cells, it also aids in energy, alertness, cell growth and repair, immune function, metabolism regulation, decreasing depression and irritability, helps with the symptoms of PMS and so much more! Most sources of vitamin B-12 are animal-based, but nutritional yeast is a completely vegetarian source. Just one tablespoon can provide you with a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin B-12.
2. It’s high in protein. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, providing all nine amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. On average, two tablespoons provides 60 calories with five grams of carbohydrates (of which four grams is fiber) and 9 grams of protein.
3. It’s high in fiber. Fiber is key for overall gut health and digestion. It also helps our systems regulate blood sugar, giving us longer lasting energy to get us through long days or intense workouts. Nutritional yeast provides four grams of fiber per only two tablespoons.
4. It’s gluten, soy, and lactose free. Not only is nutritional yeast an essential component to a non-animal-based diet, it is completely soy, lactose and gluten free, making it the perfect super food for anyone following any diet!
5. It’s a great source of folic acid. Folic acid is important for maintaining cell integrity and production and is especially important for women trying to get pregnant or who are currently pregnant. Folic acid is known to prevent spina bifida and other major birth defects.
Whether you are pregnant or not, you can see how nutritional yeast is something everyone can benefit from— so pick some up and start incorporating it into your diet today!
Check out my Zucchini Boats and see how tasty cooking with nutritional yeast can be.
GINA’S ZUCCHINI BOATS
1 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion finely chopped
4 medium zucchinis
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves fresh garlic minced (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
pepper, to taste
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finely chop the bell pepper and onion and set aside. Wash and dry the zucchini to get any dirt off. Cut off the tops of the zucchini. With a spoon, scoop out the insides, leaving the bottoms about ½-inch thick. Next, add olive oil to a large sauté pan and turn the heat to medium low. Add the bell peppers, onion, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more until everything is tender. Turn off the heat. Line a cookie sheet or Pyrex with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Spread the zucchinis out evenly and fill them, evenly, with the cooked veggie mixture. Combine the toppings ingredients into a small bowl and stir. Sprinkle the tops of each zucchini boat with the mixture. Place in oven and allow to cook until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Serving Size: 2
Fat: 8 grams
Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Net Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 13 grams
Sugar: 15 grams
Protein: 9 grams