What Is Yeast and How to Use It in Your Food?
Yeast is the widely distributed, single-celled fungus. Yeasts reproduce by budding – one cell grows a tiny replica of itself which then becomes free and develops into a full-sized cell. They are vital plants in the brewing and baking industries. In brewing, yeasts can turn sugar into alcohol. In baking they produce carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise.
You can get plenty of proteins and B vitamins from yeast-rich foods. Yeast keeps your digestive system healthy and in balance. The right amount in your body helps your immune system do its job. Yeast is part of a healthy mix of bacteria in your gut. It can help you absorb vitamins and minerals from your food, and even fight disease.
There are many kinds of yeasts. You use one type to make bread, another to brew beer. Nutritional yeast doesn’t cause infections. It’s good for your body. Zinc and iron in yeast build stronger bones and muscles. You can find it at a health-food store baked into crackers or chips. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on your popcorn or homemade sauces.
You can add fermented foods and drinks to your diet for their health benefits. Yogurt with live, active cultures is easy to find. Top it with fresh fruit for an extra boost. Sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi are zesty fermented treats. But some of these foods are preserved for long shelf life, so they may also have lots of sugar or sodium.
Nutritional yeast isn’t the same as brewer’s yeast. It’s used to make beer. It can also grow on corn or other grains. It’s rich in protein, B vitamins, and the mineral chromium, which helps keep your blood sugar levels in balance. Brewer’s yeast has a bitter taste. It might ruin the flavor if you sprinkle it on foods.
Is Yeast Allergy a Thing? Yes. Some people are allergic to yeast in foods like bread, vinegar, and beer. It can cause hives on your skin. A severe yeast allergy could make it hard to breathe or cause your throat to swell. You’ll need to work with your doctor to figure out which yeasty foods cause an allergic reaction and cut them out of your diet. Baked goods leavened with yeast are common culprits.