It is good for the liver, skin, heart, hair, nails, intestines. And some say it doesn't make your hair gray. Miraculous! But is it really true? We asked a nutrition expert
Brewer's yeast is a concentrate of benefits, a true ally of health and beauty . Its scientific name is Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is made up of unicellular microscopic fungi: it is essential in the leavening of bread or for the fermentation of wine and beer.
But above all it is rich in proteins (ideal to supplement the diet of vegetarians), minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium and selenium (excellent remedy against osteoporosis , also acts as an antioxidant) and all the vitamins of the group B (stimulates the immune defenses, tonic of the cardiovascular system, strengthens nails , hair and skin ).
It is considered to be the richest, most natural and popular food supplement and autumn is the best season to add it to your diet.
I remember my grandmother already saying it: “Brewer's yeast strengthens hair and makes it shinier". And so, to get a real star hair, before shampooing I poured beer on damp hair. But I don't think I've ever achieved the desired results. Surely I was wrong something, I didn't have consistency or maybe ...
To unravel any reasonable doubt, we asked Dr. Giorgio Donegani ( www.giorgiodonegani.it ), nutrition expert and scientific director of the Italian Foundation for Food Education (click here ) for clarification.
Here's what he told us.
- What are the properties of yeast?
Yeast is a terrific source of B vitamins, the ones that help burn carbohydrates better, so you get the most out of it. In particular, it contains a lot of Niacin (vitamin B3) which also helps keep the heart and nervous system in good health . Popular medicine has always recommended yeast for those with skin problems, but also with brittle hair and brittle nails . If you have dry skin, or suffer from acne or boils, yeast, thanks to its complex mineral composition, can give a great help: it purifies the epidermis, makes it softer and brighter. In addition, it strengthens the growth of nails and hair thanks to particular amino acids rich in sulfur.
It should also be remembered that brewer's yeast contains 12% protein , a significant amount that rises to over 40% in the case of dry yeast, and it is "valuable" proteins, rich in all those amino acids called "essential" because our body is unable to produce them by itself and must introduce them with food.
Thanks to its characteristics, yeast is a precious ally for those who follow a vegetarian diet , especially since it also contains vitamin B12 , practically absent in plant foods. It is also interesting to observe that yeast helps to rebalance the natural bacterial flora of our intestine , giving the strength to the "good" microbes that compose it to eliminate toxic substances and counteract the action of harmful germs.
Finally, according to some researches, yeast would also act at the level of the liver , because it contains particular substances (for example glutathione and cysteine) that help this organ to dispose of harmful heavy metal residues, such as lead and cadmium.
- Brewer's yeast seems to be a panacea against all ills. That's it? In which cases is it better not to take it?
Brewer's yeast is obviously to be avoided for those who are intolerant or allergic , but it is good to limit its intake even if you suffer from renal failure or excess uric acid in the body: being rich in purines, brewer's yeast can cause further accumulation of uric acid aggravating these pathologies. The intake of yeast is then to be avoided in the case in which antidepressant and narcotic drugs are taken, because in association with the yeast the release of tyramine is enhanced, with possible risk of hypertension.
- Does it make you fat?
In the doses in which it is taken, it carries no risk of weight gain. Indeed, the fact that it contains vitamins that optimize the use of carbohydrates for energy purposes means that a smaller share of those we introduce risks turning into fat.
- Can brewer's yeast also be consumed by celiacs?
It depends on the substrate from which it is obtained. Generally it is obtained as a by-product of sugar processing: molasses are the substrate for the growth of yeasts which, as they develop, transform sugar into alcohol. Sometimes, however, the growth substrate is also enriched with starches and cereals that could potentially lead to gluten contamination. The advice is to choose certified gluten-free yeast . A useful aid in this is the AIC (Italian Celiac Association) handbook available for consultation on the online site (click here ).
- Dry yeast or fresh yeast. What are the differences between the two?
[rebelmouse-image 25506163 alt = "129259" original_size = "1500x786" expand = 1] A stick of normal brewer's yeast contains about 5 billion live yeasts , compressed next to each other. There are many, but this is not the best way to take yeast. The ideal is to use the dry one, which is also found in tablets and sachets ; being dehydrated, it has a much higher concentration of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Plus, it's easier to hire. Clearly not all yeasts are the same and provide the same benefits: avoid the chemical powder used for cakes and sweets (even simple bicarbonate) which really has nothing to do with real yeast. And "natural" yeast or sourdough , the one that bakers use to make Apulian loaves, is not good either: excellent for bread, it tends to ferment in the body and is poor in nutrients. Furthermore, being made from a mixture of water and flour, it is not suitable for those suffering from celiac disease.
- What is the recommended daily dosage?
Speaking of the most commonly supplied capsules in pharmacies, a dose of 3-4 per day for a couple of months is sufficient. If you prefer flake yeast the dose increases slightly. Given the abundant presence of vitamins that help energy efficiency, the best times for consumption are those in which you feel particularly low, typically the changes of season summer autumn and winter spring.
- Brewer's yeast and nutrition: what are the foods where it is most present?
In reality, there are few foods that naturally contain yeast in effective form: in bread and leavened products, cooking kills it and changes its composition. Beer refermented in the bottle (the one that owes its turbidity to the presence of yeasts) could be a good source, but there are obvious consumption restrictions due to the presence of alcohol. The best solution is certainly to resort to the appropriate supplements , taking them as prescribed. Unlike wheat germ, in fact, yeast lends itself little to being added to other ingredients for cooking preparations.
- Is yeast intolerance really that widespread?
Certainly it is fashionable to diagnose it, often basing the diagnosis on systems of very dubious, if any, trustworthiness. Disorders such as abdominal bloating and intestinal imbalances can originate from many different causes, but by undergoing any quick test for the identification of presumed intolerances, you can be sure that nine times out of ten you will be intolerant to yeast: it is a simplistic and misleading way to explain these disorders and give indications of treatment that are often wrong and counterproductive as well as anxious because difficult to follow. The advice is not to take the first diagnosis of yeast intolerance for good and to seriously investigate the problem by contacting specialized allergy facilities (there are some in most hospitals).
Autumn: DIY health and beauty
Finding brewer's yeast is very easy: fresh it can be found on the shelves of large retailers in the form of loaves; dry , in tablets, tablets, capsules, vials or flakes, you can buy it at a pharmacy or herbalist's shop.
Flake food is mainly used by vegetarians and vegans to supplement the diet with yeast proteins: it is ideal used as an alternative to salt or cheese to flavor foods; it can be added to soups , salads , fruit smoothies and should be eaten raw, never cooked at high temperatures. It should not be used to leaven homemade bread because, due to the drying process it undergoes, it has lost this function.
Although there are many ready-to-use brewer's yeast beauty products on the market, such as creams and shampoos, we give you some quick and easy recipes to prepare at home .
Mixed skin mask
Pour 1 teaspoon of powdered brewer's yeast into half a jar of natural, unsweetened yogurt; mix well, then apply the mask on the face (except the eye contour) and leave on for about 10 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Anti acne mask
Mix 2 teaspoons of brewer's yeast with 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 of extra virgin olive oil; when the mixture is homogeneous, apply it on the face and let it act for 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Mask for all hair types damaged by sun exposure or the use of chemicals and pollution
Combine 3 tablespoons of powdered brewer's yeast and 5 tablespoons of honey in a bowl; mix the ingredients well to form a homogeneous compound to be applied over the entire length of the hair, starting from the scalp. Leave for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Natural conditioner to strengthen and prevent hair loss
Mix ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil with 4 tablespoons of brewer's yeast, until the mixture has a creamy consistency; apply it to damp hair and leave for 10 minutes. Brewer's yeast nourishes hair follicles and strengthens hair, while oil seals keratin from hair fibers.
To whiten your nails and make them stronger
Dissolve a cube of fresh yeast in a bowl of warm water; then, dip your fingers for about 15/20 minutes.
To make beauty treatments more effective it is important to be constant in the applications and to take the brewer's yeast every day even in capsules, as indicated by Dr. Giorgio Donegani.
Happy autumn with brewer's yeast!