The vegan community has started appreciating the dairy-like non-dairy product known as nutritional yeast. This cheesy and nutty flavored addition might have been a saving grace on popcorns, custards, and similar vegan-baked goods if you are vegan.
This article will go in-depth about what nutritional yeast is and, more importantly, how long it lasts. Does nutritional yeast go bad at all? Let’s take a look!
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of how long nutritional yeast can be used, let’s first understand what nutritional yeast is, to begin with. It’s a deactivated yeast closely related to brewer’s and baker’s yeast, both used as fermentation and leavening agents, respectively, in the bread and beer industry. It is specifically grown for consumption as food. The yeast cells remain dead in the final product after being killed during manufacturing.
Types of Nutritional Yeast
Now that we know what nutritional yeast means, let’s understand the different types of nutritional yeast:
- Unfortified: This nutritional yeast usually does not provide any added vitamins or minerals. It solely contains the vitamins and minerals naturally produced by the yeast cells when they grow.
- Fortified: This contains synthetic vitamins artificially added during manufacturing to elevate its nutrient content. All additional vitamins included are mentioned in the ingredient list.
Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
1. Complete Protein
Very few items qualify as a complete protein, especially in the vegan world. If you wonder what a complete protein is, it simply refers to food items containing all 9 essential amino acids required for our body’s good health. Coincidentally, nutritional yeast happens to be one of those numbered few. It includes all 9 essential amino acids, making it a source of exceptionally high-quality plant protein.
2. Boosts Energy
While we will discuss nutritional yeast’s vitamin B contents instantly, this one closely relates to the energy boost provided by this edible vegan-friendly addition. All the B vitamins, including B12, help convert food into viable energy in our body. This essentially assists our body in maintaining a healthy rate of metabolism while also insisting on high energy levels.
3. Supports Immune System
Nutritional yeast has been proven to include 2 main carbohydrates: alpha mannan and beta-glucan. Studies on animals have suggested that these specific carbohydrates offer antifungal and antibacterial benefits required to safeguard our bodies from potential infections. Especially when it comes to beta-glucan, it may activate immune cells and target our gut microbiome to facilitate immunity and overall good health.
4. Helps Lower Your Cholesterol
Beta-glucan, our savior for a healthy immune system, also helps in lowering cholesterol. Here’s how we know it: in a lengthy 8-week study, a few men with high cholesterol took 15 grams of nutritional yeast and observed a lowered cholesterol level by a whopping 6%.
While in-depth research is yet to be publicized, studies have shown direct connections between nutritional yeast consumption and lowered cholesterol levels. In short, if you are worried about cardiovascular diseases, this one is a must in your diet.
5. It’s Packed With Antioxidants
When consumed, antioxidants fight unstable molecules known as free radicals, which may increase your risk of disease. According to thorough studies, nutritional yeast contains glutathione and selenomethionine’s powerful antioxidants.
They help protect our cells from damage that is caused by free radicals as well as heavy metals. This, in turn, helps our body eliminate environmental toxins. The antioxidants in nutritional yeast also reduce the risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and macular degeneration.
6. Provides Much Needed Vitamin B12
If you are vegan and depend entirely on plant-based nutritional values, you might find it hard to come across ample sources of vitamin B12. However, that does not negate the fact that B12 is quite essential for healthy blood and nerve cells. Make sure you getting optimum amount of B12 in your diet if you are not getting enough B12 through diet, it is recommended that you opt for vitamin B12 supplements instead.
This vitamin assists in the formation of DNA and the prevention of megaloblastic anemia, a common blood condition that can make you feel weak and exhausted. Only 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast contain a whopping 313% vitamin B12 of your daily recommended value.
Is Nutritional Yeast Healthy?
The mentioned health benefits go without saying that nutritional yeast is quite healthy. The name of the product itself assures you of its nutritional value. Be it cancer prevention, cardiovascular diseases, anemia, or cholesterol, nutritional yeast has you covered. Here’s a chart of the nutritional values borne by nutritional yeast:
2 teaspoons or 5 grams of nutritional yeast contains:
- Calories: 20
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 4% of Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B2: 246% of DV
- Vitamin B3: 109% of DV
- Vitamin B6: 212% of DV
- Vitamin B9: 59% of DV
- Vitamin B12: 313% of DV
- Iron: 2% of DV
- Potassium: 2% of DV
In short, nutritional yeast is packed with loads of nutrients. If you are vegan and need some healthy food options, you can never go wrong with a little nutritional yeast.
How Long Does Nutritional Yeast Last?
Now onto the most important question: how long is nutritional yeast good? Generally speaking, nutritional yeast has a shelf life of 2 solid years, according to the Best Before date on the packaging. So, if you bought a jar of nutritional yeast in 2021 that has the best before date engraved as 2023, it’s best not to use it after that.
When it comes to its expiration date, ensure it is sealed and stored properly in the right conditions to keep it from going bad quickly. Ensure it is stored in an airtight container if you choose to store it at room temperature. The same holds true for refrigerated nutritional yeast: do not let moisture seem in, and you will be fine.
Signs That Help To Know Nutritional Yeast Go Bad
Does nutritional yeast go bad at all? The answer is yes, it does. Much like anything, if not stored in the right conditions, nutritional yeast will eventually go stale. But how do you differentiate if your jar of nutritional yeast can still be used or whether it is time to hurl it into the bin? Here are some pointers to help you detect a jar of nutritional yeast gone bad:
As we mentioned before, nutritional yeast usually has a cheesy and nutty flavor. Note that freshly bought nutritional yeast is often lighter and tangier. About 12 months following its purchase, it could acquire a more malty flavor. However, if your jar of nutritional yeast tastes bitter or plain off-putting at any point in time, that could be a sign of bad news.
You’ll notice that fresh nutritional yeast is usually light golden in color. However, with time, it does slightly change color and become brownish. While this is quite normal, if you notice any other color change, be it black or green spots, that might signify contamination and molding.
The good thing is that the scent of nutritional yeast is quite distinct. It smells like it tastes: nutty and cheesy. If your jar of nutritional yeast smells otherwise, be it stale, moldy, or even rotten, do get rid of it immediately.
Ensure you store nutritional yeast in a completely dry, preferably glass container. Use dry spoons only if you wish to scoop out the nutritional yeast. Make sure the nutritional yeast does not come in contact with any wet cutlery or hand. Water touching nutritional yeast can lead to contamination, which in turn might lead to the growth of bacteria and mold.
Nutritional yeast has a time frame of 2 years before it hits its expiration date. If stored correctly, you can use it to its fullest extent for 2 whole years before you look for signs of expiry or contamination. Even if there aren’t any, it is safe to just get a new jar after 2 years.
How to Store Nutritional Yeast to Make It Last Longer?
Storing nutritional yeast is not hard. It does not require a lot of effort. Follow these simple instructions, and you should be good to go: first, while purchasing a jar, make sure you check the expiry and Best Before date; then, once you bring it home, transfer it immediately to a clean, dry, airtight jar to maximize its freshness and longevity.
It is recommended to store nutritional yeast in a refrigerator to keep it cool and at a fixed standard temperature. Note that you can keep nutritional yeast at room temperature as long as it is stored in an airtight container.
Now as for the final verdict, does nutritional yeast go bad? Yes, it does. The way to understand it is to look out for a moldy smell or appearance, a black or green color instead of its usually golden or brown, a stale or rotten smell, and a bitter or off-putting taste.
How long does nutritional yeast last? Technically, 2 years if stored in the proper conditions. The trick is to keep checking. Be on the lookout for signs of degradation, and you should be good. If your jar of nutritional yeast crosses 2 years, it’s best to throw it away and get a new one, whether the old one seems okay or otherwise.