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Nutritional yeast 101: what is “nooch”?

People who adopt special diets are probably familiar with nutritional yeast, but what is it? And is it something everyone should try?

Here’s everything you need to know about “nooch.”

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, which means it’s a member of the fungus kingdom that’s no longer alive and growing. It is known for its nutty, savory taste, and it’s often used to add flavor to foods without adding extra sodium, sugar or unhealthy fats. Nutritional yeast is typically sold as yellow powder or flakes. You can find it in natural food stores or in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.

Nutritional yeast is:

  • Naturally low in sodium and calories
  • Fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan
  • Free of many common food allergens (dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts, corn, soy, shellfish)
  • High in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as B3, potassium, calcium and iron
  • A complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids
  • Often fortified with B12 (an energy booster) and folic acid (which is good for pregnant women)

What are the health benefits of nutritional yeast?

Some people find that nutritional yeast:

  • Boosts energy
  • Supports the immune system
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves skin and nail health
  • Treats diarrhea

How is nutritional yeast different from the yeast used in baking?

It’s very similar with one key difference: It’s been deactivated. That means it’s been heated to stop the processes that would typically be used to make bread rise, for example, and it’s been washed, dried, crumbled and packaged. Most nutritional yeast contains vitamins added during manufacturing to boost nutrients.

What does nutritional yeast taste like?

First and foremost, nutritional yeast is savory. Many people think it tastes nutty or cheesy. Because of that, vegans and vegetarians often enjoy nooch because it gives a dish umami, a pleasant, savory sensation often provided by meat or animal fat. It’s also a good source of protein for people who don’t eat animal products because it contains all 9 amino acids where many plant proteins do not.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t eat nutritional yeast?

Ask your doctor before trying nooch if you have:

What should you try nutritional yeast on?

Add nooch to any food you’d sprinkle cheese or salt on. Try stirring a little into a small portion of a food before adding it to the whole dish.

People often enjoy nooch in:

To learn more about specialized diets, click here

Ashley Brantley

Ashley Brantley has been writing about food, culture and health for more than a decade, and has lived in three of Tennessee’s four major cities (Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville).

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Ashley Brantley has been writing about food, culture and health for more than a decade, and has lived in three of Tennessee’s four major cities (Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville).

WellTuned provides inspiration and practical advice for healthy living.
WellTuned does not offer medical advice. Any personal health questions should be addressed to your doctor.

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