Updated: May 2, 2019
There is one food that I eat three or four times a week without fail. A food that is packed with B-vitamins and tastes divine. It’s a food that has been touted as Mother Nature’s anti-depressant. If you haven’t already met, may I introduce to you, Nutritional Yeast.
It may look like fish food (it really does!) and sound like a baker’s ingredient (nope, it’s not!) but a sprinkle of this quirky sounding, flaky-looking, dairy-free, gluten-free food on top of your bolognese, meatballs or veggie bake can improve your energy, mood and feelings of vitality. Pretty impressive eh?!
You may not have heard of nutritional yeast, but you may well have experienced the symptoms of the very common vitamin B1 deficiency.
Feelings of anxiety, panic attacks and nightmares can result from low levels of vitamin B1. Fatigue is also a key symptom of B1 deficiency. The reason being B1 is an essential component in the energy producing reaction that happens at a cellular level. Low B1= low energy. This leaves us feeling fatigued, lethargic, feelings of depression and hopelessness can set in.
Fatigue can persist. Even after sleep, if you can get any sleep…insomnia is another common association with B1 deficiency. When we can’t sleep, it can leave you feeling even more fatigued, leading to more feelings of apathy and depression.
B1 deficiency can also lead to an increased pulse rate, puffy ankles (oedema) and tingling in the bottom of the feet (due to nerve damage).
Many of us lack in the vital nutrient B1 these days. Why? Well, there are a few reasons, our diets for one. A diet high in sugar, carbohydrates and alcohol all deplete us of vital B-vitamins. If you find you have to turn to a sugary snack for an energy boost…but not long after feel exhausted and hungry again, your body may be lacking this super vitamin.
Stress... A stressful lifestyle depletes our B-vitamins. Why? The stress hormones use up many of our body’s reserves of these precious vitamins leaving us lacking the bare minimum to ‘barely get by’ let alone thrive. Our digestive system is also affected by stress, meaning we absorb less B-vitamins during these times of chronic stress.
Our levels of B1 naturally decline as we age, leaving us depleted over time. Gastic bypass surgery and diabetes also lower B1 levels.
B1 is also involved in the protection of the cells against free radical damage and aging. So taking your weekly dose of nutritional yeast is like having a super value facial!
If you don’t like the sound of a cheesy tasting addition to your meal, then there are other ways of getting your B-vitamins. Grass-fed liver, Meridian Yeast extract (love it or hate it…it tastes just like Marmite!), free-range organic eggs, wild fish, sunflower seeds, asparagus and squash are all good sources of B1.
Increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods, can have powerful effects on your mental and physical wellbeing. If you are currently under any kind of stress and want a natural, health boosting lift, add some B-vitamin rich foods. Such a simple additional to your weekly routine…with such impressive benefits.
The journey continues