nutritional yeast

What is Nutritional Yeast and Why You Need to Be Eating it Right Now

So, you’re wondering what is nutritional yeast? What is that strange food that people on a plant-based diet seem to sprinkle over everything? You know, the stuff that looks a lot like fish food.

When I first stopped eating animal derived food products was when I first heard of nutritional yeast. And I was wondering the same thing that you are. What is nutritional yeast and how can I use it?

I wondered what is it used for and what were its benefits?

Many people have never even heard of the amazing cheesy nutritional yeast as it is most commonly used by people on a plant-based diet. But don’t let that scare you off! Everyone can enjoy its benefits.

Not to mention its tastiness and how versatile it can be in your diet. I went from not knowing what it was to using it on almost everything! It’s just that good.

So, if you really want to know what is nutritional yeast and how you can use it then keep reading. Because we are going to be talking about how to use it as well as its benefits.

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What is Nutritional Yeast?

Now you might have found yourself a bit confused by the name. but don’t let the mentioning of yeast fool you because this nutritional yeast is not the same thing as baking or brewer’s yeast!

It is made in much the same way of other yeasts, but it is made intentionally with the purpose of becoming a food product.

Unlike the baking version which is alive nutritional yeast is killed during the manufacturing process. As it goes through a process of heating and drying which renders it inactive.

Because of this process we are left with a flaky inactive yeast that can be used as a food supplement.

It is great for those who suffer from allergies or those who follow restricted diets. As it is dairy free, low in fat and has several health benefits.

Not to mention that it tastes very similar cheese!

What is Nutritional Yeast Used For?

Another question commonly asked is what is nutritional yeast used for? And what are its benefits?

It is most often used by people who follow diets that restrict or remove animal products altogether.

It is rich in minerals and protein and can be bought fortified which means that it has a higher nutritional value. As fortified nutritional yeast has extra vitamins and minerals added to it including vitamin B12.

It is often used as a seasoning to sprinkle over all kinds of food or can be added into more complex dishes. In order to still be able to enjoy meals with a cheesy flavor.

Many people enjoy the health benefits of tasty nutritional yeast, but it is most commonly used as a cheese flavor replacement.

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Fortified vs. Unfortified

You might be wondering now which option is healthier. Fortified nutritional yeast or unfortified.

The answer really comes down to what you want. Whether or not you want additional vitamins and minerals.

Unfortified nutritional yeast is untampered with and still very nutritious as it is. While the fortified form has the added benefits of extra nutrients.

It all depends on your preferences. For myself I don’t really mind either way though I do like that fortified nutritional yeast contains more vitamin B12.

what is nutritional yeast

What are The Health Benefits?

Rich in Protein 

What is nutritional yeast you ask? Well it is a complete protein source!

Not only is it rich in protein but it is a complete protein source. As it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Just one tablespoon contains two grams of protein. And once you have tried it out for yourself, I think you will realize just how easily you an incorporate a few tablespoons into your diet!

Contains Vitamin B

One of the benefits of this nutritional yeast is that it contains several types of vitamin B. This is a very important vitamin that we don’t want to overlook.

Deficiency in vitamin B can result in fatigue, heart palpitations, stomach issue, vision loss and nerve problems. All providing good reason to keep up on your vitamin B intake!

And if you are using it in fortified form you will also benefit from the addition of other vitamins. Such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and vitamin B12.

Provides Trace Minerals

Just one tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains a hefty dose of trace minerals. Such as selenium, zinc, manganese and molybdenum.

These trace minerals being important for maintaining a good metabolism, gene regulation, growth and your body’s natural immunity.

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Healthy for Skin, Hair and Nails

There is some research that suggests that nutritional yeast just might help with the health of your skin, nails and hair.

It could possibly help to treat dry and brittle nails as well as hair loss. It has shown the possibilities of even helping acne prone skin especially in those who are adolescents.

Helps the Immune System

Many believe that nutritional yeast can help to build better immunity.

It contains beta-glucan and alpha-mannan both of which are believed to help with this benefit.

Several studies have shown it to be so good at aiding the immune system that it can help to prevent the common cold!

It might not necessarily work for everyone, but many have found it to be useful in preventing infections. As well as building up their immunity!

How You can Include Nutritional Yeast in Your Diet:

  • Use it in the place of parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle it over popcorn and baked potatoes for a cheesy flavor
  • Add it to creamy soups or use it in cheesy sauces and macaroni and cheese dishes
  • Add it to scrambled tofu for a more realistic scrambled egg substitute
  • Sprinkle over cooked veggies for added flavor
  • Add to the top of bagels or pizza for a bit of cheesy goodness
  • Mix into biscuit dough for cheesy biscuits
  • Add into savory French toast and baked goods

These are just a few examples of what you can do with this amazing product. There are many many more ways that you can enjoy it!

What is nutritional yeast you wonder. Well it is a food supplement, a protein source and a none dairy cheese additive.

What is nutritional yeast used for. Well it can be used in just about anything that you want to add it to. Whether that be soups or pasta or some hot toasty popcorn!

If you want to try some out for yourself you should consider treating yourself to this nutritional yeast! It’s delicious and oh so satisfying without any drawbacks!

Have you ever used nutritional yeast? What did you use it for? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about your food ventures!

And to read more on food related subject you can head on over to this Why Your Hungry on a Plant-Based Diet.


Heike Stier, Veronika Ebbeskotte and Joerg Gruenwald 2014, Immune-Modulatory effects of dietary Yeast Beta-1, 3/1, 6-D-glucan, viewed June 19, 2020,

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