Nutritional yeast

Many might be unaware of what nooch is. It is nutritional yeast and an umami-rich cheese alternative. But what are its ingredients and uses? Does it have any nutritional advantages?

Nooch aka nutritional yeast

Nooch is nothing but nutritional yeast. It is the street name for it. It is a yeast that is grown on sugarcane and beet molasses. This is harvested and dried.

But though called yeast, it is a deactivated form of yeast. Hence one cannot use it to bake bread or other such items.

Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast (Source: buy)

Nooch is made from the unicellular organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. It is also called hippie dust or yeshiva. It is not a new thing and dates as back to the time of the ancient Egyptians.

The recent uprise in popularity is associated with the rise in the use of plant-based foods.

Uses of nooch as a cheese alternative

Nooch is sprinkled over popcorn or kale chips. For vegans, it is a cheese substitute. They add it atop pasta, in cream sauce with nondairy milk, or on veggies. Rene Ficek, the lead nutrition expert from Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating states:

“Nooch is useful when stirred into mashed potatoes or added to the cooking water when making grits or polenta. Chefs love it for its umami flavor.”

Nutritional yeast
Nooch (Source: the vegan atlas)

Nooch provides the dish with a nutty and cheesy, umami-like taste. The food gets a savory hit due to it. It comes as a powder or flakes. It is kept in airtight containers because it loses potency with time if stored improperly. Rene explains:

“Use a glass jar, a sealed plastic container with a lid, or a sturdy freezer bag with a zip closure to ensure freshness,”

Nutritional benefits

Nooch will not bubble like other yeasts. It is gluten-free. It benefits vegans and vegetarians who have given up dairy products such as cheese. Additionally, it has high levels of vitamin B complex in it.

Joshua Rosenthal, founder, and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition reveals that nooch is fortified with vitamin B12.

This vitamin is not present in the yeast but is added to it. Plant foods do not provide vitamin B12. Hence nutritional yeast is good for vegans as it can provide vitamin and prevents this vitamin deficiency.

Further, Joshua reveals:

“Just two tablespoons of this stuff has about 9 grams of complete protein, meaning all nine amino acids the body needs,”

The same amount has 4-5 grams of fiber. There is also some folic acid, selenium, and zinc in it. Moreover, much has no sugar, cholesterol, or sodium. Therefore, it is a healthy alternative to cheese.

Nutritional yeast
Nooch (Source: Eat this not that)

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But a word of caution. It might not suit everyone. Joshua explains:

“Nutritional yeast might cause stomachaches and indigestion because it’s very processed. Every person is different; some will thrive on it while others will feel bad. That’s bio-individuality—my concept that no two people will thrive on the same exact food or lifestyle,”