Top 10 Food Containing Yeast

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Leavened bread, fermented alcohols, and cheese are some of the food containing yeastThere can be at least 2 reasons why you would be interested in foods containing yeast;  1 – because you want to include these foods in your diets and get the health benefits of yeast or 2 – you want to exclude these foods from your diet due to yeast and mold related allergies. In either case, it is a good idea to be aware to the top 10 foods containing yeast, hence read on and find out more….


Yeast is a type of micro-organism that belongs to the family of fungi. There are more than hundred species of yeast, some that are beneficial to human health (edible yeast), and many that cause a variety of infections (pathogenic yeast). In this blog, I am going to talk about nutritional or edible yeast that is commonly found in many food products that we regularly consume. The two most commonly used edible yeast varieties are the baker’s yeast and the brewer’s yeast. 


Before I enlist the top 10 yeast containing foods, let me brief you about the nutritional benefits of yeast consumption. Yeast is an excellent source of protein (52%) and contains almost all essential amino acids. It is a rich source of B complex vitamin and one of the very few sources of vitamin B12 in a vegetarian diet. Moreover, yeast provides almost negligible calories, supports the growth of probiotics in the gut, and promotes better food digestion and absorption. However, like all good things, yeast has a flip side too; many people are being diagnosed of yeast and/or mold allergy. For such people consuming any food containing yeast can be life threatening. Hence, for the benefit of those who are looking forward to tap the health benefits of yeast and those who want to avoid yeast allergy related symptoms, here is the list of top 10 foods containing yeast:


Some common yeast containing foods1. Nutritional yeast flakes: These are deactivated forms of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which are used as nutrient supplements or condiments by many vegetarians. Nutritional yeast is available in form of flakes or powder and can be used directly into various recipes.


2. Vegemite/Marmite: These popular bread spreads are made from yeast extract, which is derived as a byproduct of beer making process. The vegemite or marmite is salty or savory to taste with qualities very similar to beef bouillon. 


3. Fermented beverages: Almost all fermented beverages, from beer and wine to non alcoholic malt beverages, are made by fermenting sugars to alcohol – a process that is carried out by these tiny critters. In fact, without yeast humans might never have discovered alcohol at all!


4. Leavened breads: Yeast fermentation results in release of carbon dioxide, which in turn helps to leaven the bread dough. Almost all leavened breads rely upon the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for leavening.


5. Certain kinds of cakes: Many traditional European and Mediterranean doughy cakes use single or double fermentation process (using baker’s yeast) for giving a better texture and richness to the cakes. Also, soybean cakes (popular Oriental delicacies), and Indian savory cakes (dhokla and idli) use wild yeast for fermentation.


6. Certain sauces: Many sauces like the soy sauce, fish sauce, black bean sauce, etc. are made using yeast fermentation.


7. Natural vinegar: Natural vinegar making process involves 2 stages of fermentation – first stage is conversion of sugars (from grain or fruit) to alcohol, which is carried out by yeast and second stage is conversion of alcohol to vinegar, which is carried out by bacteria. Thus, all naturally made vinegars contain large amounts of yeast derivatives. 


8. Cheese: Though yeast is not intentionally introduced into cheese during the cheese making process, the yeast might inadvertently get settled onto the cheese during the aging process (along with the mold or bacteria). 


9. Pickles: Both yeast and lactic acid bacteria are necessary for the aging and curing process of pickles. Usually wild strains of yeast are allowed to grow during the pickling process and the salt used helps prevent the growth of pathogenic strains of yeast.


10. Salad dressing: Since most salad dressing use cheese, vinegar, or pickled vegetables in varying quantities, they are a good source of yeast.


These are just some of the foods that commonly contain yeast and including them will give you the nutritional benefits of yeast. However, if you are trying to avoid yeast from your diet then you need to realize that this list is not extensive and there are several more foods and even nutritional supplements that contain yeast or yeast derivatives. Carefully reading the food labels and analyzing the ingredients used is the only way to avoid all yeast containing foods. Also, beware of dried foods past their prime, over ripe fruits, and certain herbs for they too can harbor yeast spores.


Image credits: dogandpuppyhealth.com, kitchentablemedicine.com

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