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Is Nutritional Yeast A Complete Protein? (Surprising Facts?)

Eating complete proteins is important for everyone’s health. They provide your body with the amino acids that it can’t produce on its own, which makes them an even better source of protein.

If you follow a plant-based diet, it might be hard to get enough complete proteins each day. 

For example, those on plant-based diets often use nutritional yeast to get more protein into their diets. But is nutritional yeast a complete protein?

Is nutritional yeast a complete protein?

Nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids, which means that it’s a complete protein. It’s also a great source of this nutrient, especially for vegans and other people who follow a plant-based diet.

What’s more, nutritional yeast contains a lot of nutrients, including all B vitamins, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. So, adding it to your diet in moderate amounts can help you stay healthy.

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Why is nutritional yeast a complete protein?

Nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. 

Because of that, it’s considered a complete protein. Nutritional yeast is also a great way to include complete proteins in your diet if you don’t eat meat.

Is nutritional yeast a complete protein?
Is nutritional yeast a complete protein?

Complete proteins are important, as they assist in various functions like tissue repair and the absorption of nutrients. So, eating nutritional yeast can be beneficial.

Aside from being a complete protein, nutritional yeast contains a lot of this macronutrient in a single serving. 

Just one ounce of nutritional yeast contains 11.7 g of protein, which is 23% of your daily need for this nutrient.

So, using nutritional yeast in your recipes is an easy way to add more protein to your diet.

How can you get the most out of the protein found in nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is already a complete protein, so there’s not much you need to do to improve the quality of the protein found in this food.

Nutritional yeast is also most commonly consumed in recipes and not on its own. So, you’re very likely to get more amino acids from other ingredients and foods eaten along with nutritional yeast.

Shepherd's pie with nutritional yeast
Shepherd’s pie with nutritional yeast

It’s also important to remember that even though nutritional yeast is a complete protein, it shouldn’t replace fresh and natural sources of protein, such as quinoa, beans, dairy, and meat.

So, make sure to consume it in moderation, as eating too much nutritional yeast can have a negative effect on your health.

Nutritional yeast can be used in a wide variety of ways. For example, you can use it as a seasoning for salads, pasta dishes, popcorn, and many other meals. You can also add it to sauces, stews, and soups, thickening the finished product.

Many people also add it to smoothies and other beverages, as it dissolves quite easily.

As you can see, there are limitless ways of using nutritional yeast.

Is nutritional yeast good for you?

Aside from being rich in protein, nutritional yeast is packed with various nutrients. For example, a single one-ounce serving of nutritional yeast contains 5.5 g of fiber, which is 22% of your daily recommended need for this nutrient.

Fiber is important for gut health, as it feeds the ‘good’ gut bacteria. It can also help you lose weight since it fills you up and prevents overeating. 

So, since nutritional yeast contains a lot of fiber, it’s a great addition to any diet, but especially one aimed at weight loss.

Pasta dish with nutritional yeast
Pasta dish with nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of all B vitamins. It provides you with more than your whole daily need for every B vitamin in a single one-ounce serving.

These vitamins are important for various bodily processes and cellular functions. They also help break down carbs and transport nutrients throughout your body. B vitamins are also crucial for the functioning of our brains and the whole nervous system.

Because of that, it’s important to get enough of them each day.

The fact that nutritional yeast is rich in B vitamins is particularly important for vegans. This is because these vitamins are primarily found in meat, so vegans and those on plant-based diets tend to be deficient in them.

While taking supplements can help with that, it’s best to get nutrients from real food. So, if you don’t eat meat, nutritional yeast can be a great way to load up on these vitamins.

What’s more, nutritional yeast contains a good amount of zinc, 29% of your daily need in a one-ounce serving. 

Zinc helps your immune system and metabolism function properly. It’s also crucial for wound healing and the sense of taste and smell.

The best dietary zinc sources are red meat and chicken. So, if you don’t eat meat, adding nutritional yeast to your diet can help you prevent zinc deficiency.

Additionally, nutritional yeast is a wonderful source of antioxidants. These plant compounds prevent oxidative stress and damage to your cells, reducing your risk of chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Eating nutritional yeast can also boost your immune system thanks to the antibacterial and antifungal compounds it contains. 

Also, studies show that nutritional yeast contains special types of carbs that support immunity and overall health.

Is nutritional yeast good for you?
Is nutritional yeast good for you?

So, if you’re looking to improve your health and prevent diseases, adding some nutritional yeast to your diet can be a great idea.

Other studies also show that nutritional yeast can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and increase the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. 

Experts believe that it’s because of beta-glucan, which is one of the special types of carbs found in nutritional yeast.

As a result, those prone to high cholesterol levels might benefit from nutritional yeast.

Conclusion

Nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts, so it’s considered a complete protein. 

It’s also a great source of this nutrient, making it a great food to consume if you want to increase your protein intake.

What’s more, nutritional yeast is rich in all B vitamins and several minerals. So, eating it can help you load up on these micronutrients, which are important for good health and wellbeing.

Make sure to also check out Do I Need To Worry About Eating Complete Proteins? and Yes, You Can Be A Vegan And An Athlete Too.

Sources: Nutrition Data, PMC, and National Library of Medicine