The Various Health Benefits of using Nutritional Yeast in the keto diet, and recipes I use to gain the benefits of this amazing food!
You may have seen nutritional yeast in the grocery store and wondered what it is. Or, maybe you’ve seen it mentioned in some keto recipes but weren’t sure what to make of it. Whatever the case may be, nutritional yeast is definitely worth getting to know. Here’s why:
I adore the keto diet. I have lost so much weight with it. But as a complete, healthy lifestyle, it is missing some key elements. Keto focuses on eliminating inflammatory foods from your diet, but since it only focuses on macros (carbs/protein/fats) it doesn’t necessarily focus on adding micro nutrition into your meals.
That is where certain foods like NUTRITIONAL YEAST comes in.
At first I assumed that nutritional yeast was not really keto, because I assumed it either came from grain, or was fed by sugar. . . neither of those things are allowed on a real keto diet. But looking at the macros, I found it can easily, and beneficially, be added into my macros.
(Macro nutritional yeast has: 6g total carbs, 3g net carbs, 0.5g fat, 6g protein, and 50 calories per 2 tablespoons)
As I went along on my keto journey, I found that having a healthy gut was incredibly important. And although keto got us half way there by eliminating foods that harm our gut flora, it didn’t naturally feed the good microbes. But luckily, there are some keto-friendly foods that do.
Nutritional Yeast is one of those.
Nutritional yeast is made from the yeast strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This particular strain of yeast is known for its many health benefits. For one, research suggests that it may be able to support your immune system. Additionally, it has been shown to reduce inflammation and help ward off intestinal ailments.
One study found that nutritional yeast has a probiotic-like effect on the intestines. It may help prevent some gastrointestinal infections like E. coli and Salmonella (here). More research in humans is needed to verify these protective effects and to better understand how nutritional yeast stimulates immune cells.
In addition to its immune-boosting properties, nutritional yeast is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. It’s particularly high in B-vitamins, which are essential for energy production and red blood cell formation. Additionally, nutritional yeast contains iron, selenium, and magnesium.
As you can see, there are many good reasons to add nutritional yeast to your diet. If you’re looking for a way to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, feed your gut, or just get more vitamins and minerals into your diet, then consider giving this unique food a try.
How to Use it for Keto
For keto, the reason nutritional yeast is a good ingredient is because it provides a lot of
fiber, protein, and a cheese-like ingredient without actually using dairy. You might be
lactose-intolerant or you may not want to use dairy quite as much, making this perfect. It
is in powder form, so it is the perfect way to replace parmesan cheese in recipes. You
can top soups or salads, or cook and bake with it.
Some of the ways to use Nutritional Yeast in the keto diet:
- It adds great depth to keto breads (try this flatbread recipe)
- And to tortillas (recipe here)
- It can also be sprinkled on top of anything that you would normally sprinkle cheese on with this nutritional yeast flakes (here).
- You can sprinkle it on salad, or even make an amazing salad dressing with it!
Add it a few to your meals a few times a week, and your gut will thank you!
A quick note about fortified nutritional yeast: The difference between fortified and unfortified nutritional yeast is that fortified nutritional yeast will have vitamins (usually B vitamins and folic acid) added in to it. It can be difficult to know the quality of the source of these vitamins, so many people like the unfortified kind so they know they are getting ONLY the nutritional yeast and nothing extra.
Want other keto-friendly foods that provide nutrition to your gut? Check out my favorite probiotic drinks, and the benefits of chia seeds!
Frequently Asked Questions About Keto Nutritional Yeast
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast may sound like something you bake with, but it is actually used as a
flavoring component for many ketogenic meals and snacks. It tastes like a nutty type of
cheese, so you can do everything from top salads to add it to your soups. Here are
some things to know about this unique ingredient.
How Nutritional Yeast Created?
So, what is nutritional yeast exactly? It isn’t actually the type of yeast you bake bread
with, in order to get it to rise. This is actually a type of yeast that grows on molasses. It
is then deactivated so that it loses its leavening ability, similar to regular yeast. With a
silly name, it might seem like a silly ingredient, but it has many excellent benefits. It is
only recently when people on the ketogenic diet have discovered how and why it is
useful to them in particular.
Why Nutritional Yeast Beneficial?
Nutritional yeast gets its name from all the health benefits it contains. Before talking
about how you can use it for keto, let’s look at the basic health benefits of this
ingredient. Nutritional yeast contains a high amount of B vitamins, including B1, 2, 3,
and 6, or thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine, respectively. It also has a good
amount of fiber, protein, B12, and folic acid. This is all in just a tablespoon of the yeast.