Last Friday I asked you if you had any questions you would like me to answer, and I got quite a few of them! I am so excited for ask me anything Friday, and it is looking like I have a couple of weeks worth of content already, so we are going to go with it, deal?
For this first one, the question I am going to answer comes from Miss Moonshine, and she asked;
“My questions (for Friday questions Is nutritional yeast a good product to add to your diet to ensure enough B12. How do you (personally) ensure you get enough iron & calcium.”
Awesome stuff! Let us start with the nutritional yeast;
Nutritional yeast. What is it? Well, it is an inactive form of yeast, and it is made by culturing yeast with sugar cane and beet molasses for seven days. ( I got that from wikipedia, if you are interested in learning more about the yeasty stuff). SO! It is not going to contribute to your candida or other yeast over growth problems, all my friends who are freaking out about that, because it is inactive. That is good, right!?
As for its nutritional content, it is actually quite whopping. For every two table spoons or 28 grams of the stuff you are going to get;
Fat: 2 Grams
Sodium: 9 miligrams
Carbohydrate: 12 Grams
Fiber: 7 Grams
Folic Acid 13.5% of RDI
Vitamin B1: 74%
Vitamin B2: 88%
Vitamin B6: 34%
Vitamin B12: 5%
Pantothenic Acid: 18%
Iron: 50% (wow right!)
Chromium: 32% (chromium can help with blood sugar balance for those who are deficient, ie, some times those with diabetes)
It has other minerals too, but I thought you may be getting a bit tiered of reading nutrition facts. As you can see, it is pretty nutritious stuff! It only has about 5% of the RDI for vitamin B12, so I am not going to be shouting from the roof tops any time soon that nutritional yeast is your b12 saving grace.
We need about 6 micrograms of vitamin B12 every day. There are theories out there that we can only get it from animal sources (because it is a bacteria produced in the digestive tract of animals, eew) and that we can make our own(because we are animals with digestive tracts!) There are tonnes of people out there living a vegetarian life who never have a problem, and many who eat tonnes of meat and do. It all depends on your body, if you tend to store the vitamin or if you have some sort of genetic mutation that stops you from forming or absorbing the vitamin.
For me, the best answer to the vitamin B12 problem is to go to your doctor and check out your levels. If you are fine, don’t worry so much about it! If you are low, get a good sub lingual supplement (one that is to be put under your tongue that will be absorbed directly into the blood stream.)
As for the yeast, I would not use it all the time, because it is still a processed food at the end of the day. It does add a nice cheesy, nutty and rich flavour to dips and dressings, as well as adding richness when you do not want to add fat, so for that reason, I say why not in moderation! Use it on occasion if you enjoy the flavor and the vitamin mineral punch! Just make sure you are eating tonnes of fruits and veggies too!
As for the Calcium and Iron. Fruits and especially green leafy veggies are exceptionally high in these two minerals, if you are eating enough! The best part about getting your minerals from food is that they are coming in synergistic packages.
What is synergistic? Well, scientists have figured out how to isolate certain nutrients and even how to determine the function of those nutrients in the body. What we have not been able to figure out is exactly how and why fruits and veggies are so good for you. We do not know all the chemical processes that happen when we eat spinach that makes it so good for us, we just know that it is better than taking a supplement pill with the same nutrient profile. That is why fortified foods are never as good for the body as its whole, unprocessed food counterpart.
What I am saying is, if you are eating enough fruit and enough veggies (this is usually around 2500-3000 cals/day) you should be reaching your quota for all vitamins and minerals, and in such a way that the body recognizes, where all nutrients are present in the correct amounts in order to do their jobs most efficiently. We do not know exactly how food works(nor do we even know all the compounds present in food), and we have never been able to replicate it in a lab.
If you are REALLY low in Calcium or Iron, I recommend that you take a plant-based complex of nutrients to get your levels back up to snuff. Calcium needs magnesium and vitamin D in order to be absorbed properly, and iron generally needs the help of folic acid.
Ok! So my bottom line?! Eat enough fruits and veggies (green leafy ones especially), and you should not need things like nutritional yeast to get adequate nutrients. But if you like the taste (which I do) it is not going to do you any harm!
Hope that helps. Keep those questions coming friends!