Brewer’s yeast has managed to become one of the most used food supplements. It is used not only by athletes, but also by others who want to benefit from all its properties. In this article, we want to present a healthy and key ingredient in our diet which can be found in several products.
What is Brewer’s Yeast?
It is a type of yeast or single-celled fungus, scientifically known as Saccharomyces cerevisae. It is a byproduct of the beer-brewing process. However, the use of natural brewer’s yeast has only started to increase quite recently. Currently, it is taken due to its benefits for health, its high protein percentage (around 50%), group B vitamins, chromium, zinc and magnesium.
It is a product obtained from fermenting cereals such as barley or wheat thanks to a microorganism (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The resulting yeast has to be dried, cleaned and pasteurized before being sold as flakes or powder. However, it is also sold in capsules or tablets in parapharmacies, herbalist’s shops or at HSN.
Most of brewer’s yeast products also undergo a process to remove part of its original bitter flavor. This should be indicated in the product label, regardless of the format. These processes do not remove the yeast nor any of its benefits or properties.
Origin of Brewer’s Yeast
Some studies report that the fermentation of brewer’s yeast happened by chance between the years 10,000 and 6,000 B.C in Mesopotamia. A farmer wanted to make barley bread, but he used different proportions for the ingredients, using more water than flour in the blend. Said farmer obtained a liquid with a peculiar bitter flavor which would later become what we know as beer. Brewer’s yeast was the microorganism that made this natural transformation possible, without tablets nor capsules.
In Egypt, papyrus manuscripts have been found that show how they fermented barely cooked bread. They waited until the transformation took place, which is why we could say that they used said technique.
Much more advanced studies with supplementation reported that brewer’s yeast is a microorganism that is usually present in the human body. More specifically, it can be found mainly in the digestive system and over the skin, along with other good elements for our health.
Nutritional properties of Brewer’s Yeast
Fresh brewer’s yeast (which is not the one we want to emphasize) is mainly used to make bread. Its dry powder version can be used as a food supplement due to its nutrient richness and it is the one available at HSNstore.
It is a product with a great percentage of vegetable proteins (more than 25%). That is why a single spoonful of brewer’s yeast can significantly increase the protein supply of our dishes. Its protein value (from 45 to 60%) is way higher than other products such as wheat germ (23%), soy (16.6%) and even protein from beef (31.5%). It is also rich in fiber (approximately a 20%) and it stands out due to its great micronutrient variety.
All these nutrients have made of brewer’s yeast one of the most used and popular food supplements.
What are the Benefits of Brewer’s Yeast?
- Helping to prevent nutrient deficiencies, especially in vegan and vegetarian diets. It is advisable to take 2-3 spoonfuls daily of ingredients that can provide said support
- Supporting the diet of athletes with its high mineral and vitamin content. This is due to the fact that it increases the energy supply, improves the carb metabolism and increases the muscle mass
- Stimulating the immune system, which can help to prevent contagion and diseases, as well as improving the skin
- Keeping the blood sugar levels stable thanks to its chromium content. That is why it is an ally for people who suffer diabetes, obesity or during the menopause
Brewer’s Yeast supplements are advised for:
- Overcoming a lack of vigor
- Tiredness throughout the day
- Students in exam period, who suffer stress of chronic fatigue syndrome
What are the benefits of Brewer’s Yeast for pregnancy?
In the last few years, people have talked a lot about pregnancy. Even though there is no study that is a hundred per cent certain, the benefits of this ingredient for pregnant women is mainly due to its chromium content. However, you should always consult your doctor before taking brewer’s yeast products.
Chromium is important during pregnancy, since our body breaks down the foods, such as fats, carbs and proteins for the digestion. Moreover, it helps to keep the blood sugar levels stable, which can be a factor for gestational diabetes. Pregnant women need approximately 30mcg of chromium daily to stay healthy, according to different sources.
Contraindications of Brewer’s Yeast
Like any other ingredient, brewer’s yeast supplements can entail a series of contraindications that we are going to mention now:
- Hypertension: it contains tyramine, which can cause said effect in great amounts
- Gout: due to its purin content, which is why it is not advisable for those with high uric acid levels
- Allergy: it can cause skin irritation since it is a fermented cereal
- It can trigger intestinal transit problems. It should not be taken by those who suffer Crohn’s disease
How to take Brewer’s Yeast?
As we already seen, brewer’s yeast can be purchased in capsules or tablets (food supplement), powder or flakes in order to add it to our recipes directly. The last formats have a bitter flavor, which may discourage some people from using them.
Other ways of taking Brewer’s Yeast
Let’s not forget that brewer’s yeast is just another product and, as such, it does not have to be included in all diets.
After all, it is a very interesting product due to its nutritional profile, its versatility and the fact that it comes from sustainable crops. However, it will not fix a bad diet by any means.
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