Brewer’s yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is full of selenium. This mineral has anti-oxidative properties that can protect your cells from radical damage and ward off chronic disease. The potassium, calcium, and magnesium in yeast will even reduce hypertension in diabetics. Other types of yeast, like Saccharomyces boulardii, have probiotic effects. This means it can treat diarrhea, gut imbalance, and acne. Researchers have also found that a yeast protein may prevent nerve cell clumping, a factor of Parkinson’s disease.
It’s easy to overlook a yeast. We know it as a one-celled fungus that’s used to ferment foods like beer and bread. You’re probably familiar with Brewer’s yeast and Baker’s yeast – two types that are part of the Saccharomyces genus.
Yeast might seem ordinary – but it’s actually quite extraordinary. Adding yeast to your food will have these five surprising side effects.
5 Benefits Of Adding Yeast To Food
1. Contains Antioxidant Properties
A surprising side effect of yeast is its anti-oxidative action. In particular, selenium yeast is the most potent. This is made when ordinary Saccharomyces cerevisiae is grown in a selenium-rich medium. As it matures, the yeast absorbs the selenium and becomes selenomethionine or selenized yeast.1
On its own, selenium protects the cells from free radicals. Brewer’s yeast is a great source.
Selenized yeast has powerful antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase – some of the most significant fighters of oxidative damage. They’ll safeguard your body from chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.2
2. Manages Diabetes
Yeast has an especially strong effect on diabetes control. Specifically, it targets hypertension – a condition that often shows up with diabetes. The two have a significant correlation and likely stem from obesity.
However, according to the Iranian Journal of Public Health, Brewer’s yeast can decrease hypertension in diabetics. Researchers think that this is caused by the potassium, magnesium, and calcium in the yeast – the three minerals that have a known link to blood pressure.3
Brewer’s yeast is also rich in selenium. Its anti-oxidative properties can prevent the free radicals associated with diabetes, helping slow down the progression. The selenium even has a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels.4
3. Relieves Diarrhea
When you have diarrhea, probiotics like Saccharomyces boulardii can save the day. But wait – aren’t probiotics bacteria?
That’s right. But S. boulardii acts like a probiotic, making it useful for an upset stomach. According to Gastroenterology, it’s most useful for diarrhea induced by antibiotics. Patients who take a capsule of this living yeast will be less likely to develop diarrhea.5
If you’re taking a cocktail of antibiotics, add S. boulardii to your food. It’ll also help if your diarrhea is from traveling, irritable bowel syndrome, or a simple imbalance of intestinal bacteria.6
To take it, crush a supplement and mix the powder into smoothies, applesauce, or yogurt. You can also place the pill on a spoon of creamy food, like pudding, and swallow it whole.
4. Improves Mental Health
It sounds weird, but baker’s yeast may protect your brain. An experiment in The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that introducing the yeast protein Hsp104 can prevent protein clumping. This can lead to nerve cell death, a major factor in Parkinson’s disease.
While the study was done on animals, these results suggest amazing possibilities in humans.7
5. Treats Acne
The probiotic effects of yeast can even help your acne. It’s all because of the “gut-brain-skin-axis”, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
When your gut is imbalanced, it releases toxins into the bloodstream. Everything along that axis also starts to act up. The result is inflammation and therefore, acne.
Probiotics bring back that balance. It keeps your gut health in check, which can do wonders for your skin.8
While rare, it’s possible to have a yeast allergy. Symptoms include the typical signs of itchiness, redness, and irritation. Even the yeast in wine may cause a reaction.9
If you’re allergic to yeast, it’s best to avoid foods with it. Keep in mind that many vitamin B supplements contain yeast.10
Despite these benefits, don’t overdo the yeast. Add as much as a recipe calls for. Foods with yeast may also be unhealthy in other ways, so eat them in moderation.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Selenium. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|2, 4.||↑||Tanko, Y., A. Jimoh, A. Ahmed, A. Adam, L. Ejeh, A. Mohammed, and J. O. Ayo. “Effects of selenium yeast on blood glucose and antioxidant biomarkers in cholesterol fed diet induced Type 2 diabetes mellitus in wistar rats.” Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences 31, no. 2 (2016): 147-152.|
|3.||↑||Hosseinzadeh, Payam, Abolghassem Djazayery, Seyed-Ali Mostafavi, Mohammad Hassan Javanbakht, Hoda Derakhshanian, Abbas Rahimiforoushani, and Mahmoud Djalali. “Brewer’s yeast improves blood pressure in type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Iranian journal of public health 42, no. 6 (2013): 602.|
|5.||↑||Surawicz, Christina M., Gary W. Elmer, Pieter Speelman, Lynne V. McFarland, Janet Chinn, and Gerald Van Belle. “Prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by Saccharomyces boulardii: a prospective study.” Gastroenterology 96, no. 4 (1989): 981-988.|
|6.||↑||Saccharomyces boulardii. MedlinePlus.|
|7.||↑||Bianco, Christophe Lo, James Shorter, Etienne Régulier, Hilal Lashuel, Takeshi Iwatsubo, Susan Lindquist, and Patrick Aebischer. “Hsp104 antagonizes α-synuclein aggregation and reduces dopaminergic degeneration in a rat model of Parkinson disease.” The Journal of clinical investigation 118, no. 9 (2008): 3087-3097.|
|8.||↑||Could probiotics be the next big thing in acne and rosacea treatments. American Academy of Dermatology.|
|9.||↑||Wine May Please The Palate But Not The Immune System. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.|
|10.||↑||Yeast and Mould Allergy. Canadian Society of Intestinal Research.|