Benefits of Nutritional Yeast Flakes

What Are the Benefits of Nutritional Yeast Flakes?

Despite its unappetizing name and unappealing appearance, nutritional yeast flakes may be one of the best additions to your diet in terms of nutrition and taste. It provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and protein that almost anyone—from Paleo enthusiasts to vegans—can enjoy. Don’t confuse nutritional yeast with baker’s yeast, which is still active and could grow inside your stomach and deprive you of nutrients, or with brewer’s yeast, which is inactive but distinctly bitter.

What Are Nutritional Yeast Flakes?

Nutritional yeast is sourced from whey, blackstrap molasses or wood pulp. “Nutritional yeast is yeast that is grown on molasses or a similar habitat, much like brewer’s yeast, a byproduct from producing beer,” says Brandice Lardner, an NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach with One by One Nutrition. “When the yeast is harvested, it is washed and then dried with heat so that it stops growing.” After this heat treatment, it’s crumbled or flaked and packaged for the consumer.

How to Add Nutritional Yeast to Your Diet

According to Lardner, the best place to start using nutritional yeast flakes is as a replacement for Parmesan cheese. “Nutritional yeast is known for its tangy, cheesy flavor,” she explains. “It comes in flakes or power, both which blend nicely into hot foods.”

Nutritional yeast can be found at any health-food store, often in the bulk section. There are multiple brands of nutritional yeast, so Lardner suggests trying a few first to find the one that you like best. Most brands have the same ingredients—yeast and B vitamins—but some do taste better than others.

Read More: The Benefits of Fermented Foods and 5 DIY Recipes

The "cheesy" flavor of nutritional yeast makes it the perfect addition to pasta dishes.

Sari Foods Company Natural Non-fortified Nutritional Yeast Flakes, 8 oz.

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You can also add nutritional yeast raw to smoothies or salads, or sprinkle it over popcorn, stir into soup or toss into pasta. Because of its described flavor, nutritional yeast is often used as a replacement for cheese to create vegan dishes such as nacho dip and mac ‘n’ cheese.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a complete protein, meaning that among the 18 amino acids it contains, nine are essential ones that your body cannot produce. Nutritional yeast also provides the compounds beta-1,3 glucan, trehalose, mannan and glutathione, which are associated with enhanced immunity, reduced cholesterol levels and cancer prevention. You get a significant dose of the minerals iron, selenium, and zinc when you consume nutritional yeast as well and one serving of nutritional yeast provides about four grams of fiber.

Nutritional yeast is a source of B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, B-6 and niacin. Just a half tablespoon of some brands will provide you with a day’s worth of B vitamins, while other brands offer between 30 and 100 percent of B vitamins. These vitamins help you extract the energy from food and produce red blood cells. Many types of nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12, which is usually found exclusively in animal products.

“Nutritional yeast is a plant-based source of protein, making it a staple in many vegan kitchens,” Lardner points out. “The protein and fiber content promote satiety at meals and the B vitamins help in energy production.”

Read More: 7 Signs Your Gut Is Out of Whack

The things you won’t find in nutritional yeast also make it a boon for your diet. It contains little sodium and fat. It’s also gluten-free, so people who must avoid this protein found in wheat products can enjoy it. Additionally, nutritional yeast lacks Candida albicans, the type of yeast that aggravates the fungal infection known as candidiasis. It’s free of dairy and soy as well.

Try It Yourself

Lardner shares that the vegetarian and vegan community often refers to nutritional yeast as ‘nooch.’ She provides the following recipe, perfect for those who want to slowly introduce it into their diet or try different brands and find the preferred taste.

“Cheesy” Cauli-Rice

Serves 1-2


1 small head of cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes


Rinse cauliflower and “rice” it by by grating it with a large cheese shredder or pulsing it in a food processor. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté for five minutes. Add riced cauliflower to the pan and stir to coat with olive oil. Sauté for another five minutes. Add broth, garlic powder, salt and cook an additional five minutes. Add nutritional yeast flakes, stir, serve and enjoy!


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  1. Reply
    Byarharp September 21, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Because there is so much confusion about what is best for our body’s nutrition, I believe it is important to take the time to source the most natural foods available. Sari’s yeast, unlike so many others I have used, is truly a Superfood. The company has told me that they are passionate about using only food-based vitamins that are pure and free of additives and synthetic vitamins and it shows in their product. Substituting synthetic folic acid for naturally occurring Folate is just one example of what I have found in other brands. I for one will continue to order this delicious product from this small company.

  2. Reply
    Heng Z. October 20, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I love the nutritional yeast from sari foods. I truly like that there are no added synthetic vitamins and that the yeast is all natural. I have been using it with my cereal in the morning and it has been giving me much energy. The yeast is awsome and very delicious and I will be reordering again. It is an excellent product.

  3. Reply
    Judge Worsham November 11, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I’ve always purchased my nutritional yeast in the bulk bins at the grocery store. I’ve recently needed to eliminate gluten from my diet for medical reasons so the bulk bins are now off limits to me due to possible cross contamination. So during my search for gluten free nutritional yeast here on Amazon, I came across this Sari Foods Natural Non-Fortified Nutritional Yeast. Although pricier than what I have been accustomed to paying, I ordered it anyway. It arrived in a very sturdy zippered pouch that seemed to have all the air sucked out of it. I opened it up and it didn’t look like the nooch I’m used to in that it was less yellow and the flakes were much smaller. And you know, it’s not anything like the nooch I’ve been eating for years because it’s non-fortified and it’s TASTIER than my old favorite brand from the bulk bins. It’s creamier, fuller flavored, and overall just a really great product in a very nice resealable pouch. Nutritional yeast can be an acquired taste as I found when I first tried it 20 years ago and hated it, but now I love it and have been eating it for the last 10 years. So if you try it and think it’s not for you, give it another try perhaps on popcorn. It’s also nice mixed with finely ground walnuts and garlic powder.

  4. Reply
    ByHeng Z. April 23, 2016 at 12:00 am

    This is the first time I tried nutritional yeast. Wanted to try it for all it’s nutritional/other benefits. Picked this brand based on the reviews. I’ve been taking some daily for the past week or so. I am very happy with the taste and the aroma – it has a cheesy and a nutty flavor. I have eaten it plain and/or have combined it in scrambled eggs etc. Overall, very pleased with the product.

  5. Reply
    ByJudge Worsham December 12, 2016 at 12:00 am

    This is an excellent grade of nutritional yeast. My wife is vegan because of health matters; of which, she is doing very good. Too many times, taste and “normal” meals are out of reach. Not when using this particular nutritional yeast. The taste is delicious. Last night we ate gluten-free pasta (Jovial is the best) with alfredo sauce (SARI nutritional yeast), with fresh basil and tomatoes. It was gluten-free, egg free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, & on; yet, the dish tasted as genuine as any homemade or Italian restaurant could ever achieve. I’d post a picture of the meal, but it was gone before I could get my phone. 5 stars, no doubt!

  6. Reply
    ByMoxiegrrl January 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

    It’s the first time we buy nutritional yeast so I cannot compare with other products. But we all love this one. This product has a mild and subtle flavor, which is what I like for salads. It adds flavor but still allows you to taste the main ingredients. It’s like cheese without the milk smell, perfect for people who don’t like milk (such as my children). The flavor and smell are very natural.

  7. Reply
    arharp September 18, 2017 at 12:00 am

    Great, finally found a solution to cheese for Mac and cheese. I am a long distance hiker and eat alot of mac and cheese with dehydrated veggies and Primal Jerky. I found a recipe that contained only dry ingredients.The qaulity is great.

  8. Reply
    Moxiegrrl September 28, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I’ve tried a few other nutritional yeast products on the market and the flavor is different with this one. I don’t find that it tastes much like cheese (maybe a subtle parmesan flavor) and the flavor is not quite as strong as other yeast products I have had but I do still enjoy the taste. I can’t eat it straight out of the spoon as I’ve heard some people do, but I like to sprinkle it on foods I eat throughout the day.A few months ago I was struggling with low energy throughout the day and getting a good nights rest. A friend suggested I try taking nutritional yeast as my general fatigue may be caused by a deficiency of B vitamins. I haven’t felt any miracle results, but I have found that with continued use of a nutritional yeast, I’m much less prone to snacking for energy throughout the day and I also don’t get the foggy mental state that I used to get in the late afternoon. This yeast as a bunch if different b-vitamins and is a great source of vegan protein.My favorite thing about this yeast is that it is non-fortified and 100% of the nutrients are naturally occurring. It’s so hard to trust a product that has been fortified with synthetic nutrients and who really knows what companies put into products these days when profit is more important than the health of a customer. Sari Foods is very forthright about what is in their products and were very transparent when I contacted them about the specific nutrient content and even offered to send me their lab results from their tests.They also sent me a recipe book that has some really great tips and recipe ideas. I only wish it was a little cheaper, but I suppose that is just the cost of getting a high-quality product that is 100% natural. It’s worth the price for me.J

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