The Many Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a type of deactivated yeast often used as a flavor enhancer and nutrition boost. In this in-depth article, we will explore the research-backed health benefits of nutritional yeast, how to incorporate it into your diet, and more.

nutritional yeast benefits

 Nutritional Profile of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is highly nutritious and contains important vitamins, minerals, proteins and more.

 High in B-vitamins

Nutritional yeast contains a significant amount of many B-vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid and folate.

 Contains Protein and Fiber  

While not a complete protein, one tablespoon provides 3-4g of protein and 1-2g of fiber to support muscle growth, digestion and blood sugar control.

 Rich in Minerals

Nutritional yeast contains selenium, chromium, manganese and zinc which play key roles in metabolism, immune function and more.

Nutritional Yeast Boosts Heart Health

The abundant B-vitamins and chromium in nutritional yeast have research-backed benefits for heart health.

Regulates Blood Sugar

Chromium aids insulin sensitivity so blood sugar remains stable after meals. Balanced blood sugar reduces cardiovascular disease risk over time.

 Lowers Cholesterol 

Studies show B-vitamin intake through nutritional yeast can lower LDL "bad" cholesterol levels and maintain healthy HDL "good" cholesterol levels.

 Fights Inflammation

Inflammation damages arterial walls over time if left unchecked. Nutritional yeast contains compounds like selenium and beta-glucans that may reduce systemic inflammation.

 Nutritional Yeast Supports Brain Health

The nutrients in nutritional yeast play an important role in maintaining brain and nervous system function as we age.

Supplies Essential B-vitamins

B-vitamins like folate, B12 and B6 are involved in myelin sheath production which insulates neurons. They keep homocysteine levels in check to prevent neural tube defects and cognitive decline.

May Assist with Depression

Preliminary studies found chromium from nutritional yeast helped control cravings and regulate moods in mildly depressed participants. More research is still warranted. 

Supports Neurotransmitters

Amino acids from protein, and vitamins B1, B6 and folate from yeast all aid in synthesizing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Nutritional Yeast May Reduce Cancer Risk

While research is still emerging, compounds in nutritional yeast show antioxidant and anticancer properties.

Boosts Antioxidant Intake  

Beta-glucans, selenium and zinc in yeast function as antioxidants to neutralize free radicals before they cause DNA damage linked to carcinogenesis.

 Induces Phase II Enzymes

Sulforaphane in nutritional yeast sparks detoxifying enzymes in the liver to safely eliminate potential carcinogens from the body.

 May Slow Tumor Growth

Animal studies found selenium and certain peptides in yeast slowed abnormal new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) that feeds tumors. More human studies are warranted.

 Nutritional Yeast Boosts Immunity

Its balanced nutrients support robust immune defenses against pathogens and foreign invaders. 

 Zinc Fights Off Infections

A zinc deficiency increases sicknesses and recovery time from colds/flu. One Tbsp of yeast provides 25% of the Daily Value for zinc to maintain immunity.  

Selenium Bolsters Antioxidant Enzymes

The antioxidant selenoproteins produce by selenium aid T-cell function and are involved in leukocyte production and activity against infection.

 Supplies Need B-vitamins for White Blood Cells 

Folate, B6 and B12 are required for white blood cell production and maintenance. Low levels impair immune response and inflammatory control.


 Easy Ways to Enjoy Nutritional Yeast

Try adding nutritional yeast to a variety of dishes for a nutritional and flavor boost. 

On Popcorn

A favorite use is sprinkling nutritional yeast over hot popped popcorn for a cheesy taste without dairy. 

 In Pasta Sauces 

Stirring a spoonful into marinara sauce or Alfredo lends a savory, Parmesan-like accent. 

 Over Vegetables

Roasting or sautéing veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli or green beans then tossing with yeast enhances their taste. 

 In Casseroles

It adds nutrition plus makes beans, rice or veggie dishes more satisfying when baked into lasagna, enchiladas or strata. 


Blend a tablespoon into fruit or greens smoothies for extra protein and B-vitamins to fuel your day.

 On Toast 

Sprinkle nutritional yeast onto avocado or almond butter toast in place of salt for a protein-rich snack.

In conclusion:

 regularly consuming nutritional yeast can substantially boost intake of many essential vitamins, minerals and plant-based proteins to support overall health and wellness. Consider creative ways to incorporate it into your diet for these research-backed benefits.