Is Yeast Paleo? (Active)

Active Yeast

We’ve covered nutritional yeast in the past, but as mentioned before, not all yeast is created equal.

What is Yeast?

Guess what, mushroom-haters? Yeast is also a fungus – a microscopic, unicellular fungus that reproduces by “budding.” Yeast can also convert sugar into alcohol (and carbon dioxide). You know when things start to ferment in your fridge? In many situations, that’s just a little yeast working on the sugars. Yeast is used to help bread dough rise, to make alcoholic beverages like beer and wine, and can be found in some lacto-fermented products like kefir. There are different types of yeast (about 1,500 species), and many people break them down into beneficial and harmful.

Some people certainly do have trouble with yeast, causing bloating or gut discomfort, and many are highly sensitive to the pathogenic Candida yeast. This genus of yeast is in the harmful category and can cause fungal infections, yeast infections, and more.

On the flip side, there are very beneficial strains of yeast, such as many of those found in the Saccharomyces genus. Nutritional yeast falls into this category, and Saccharomyces Boulardii is a known probiotic that can fight pathogens in the Candida genus. Active yeast, or dry active yeast, is commonly used in baking, and is from the strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Research tells us that this strain of yeast is potentially beneficial, but at the very least, it is neutral.

Is Yeast Paleo?

Some people do report problems with yeast, mostly as an intolerance or allergy, but studies are pretty limited. In the Paleolithic era, cavemen didn’t have little packets of active dry yeast, but they consume plenty of yeast in other forms – on unwashed produce, or partially fermented grapes and apples left to ripen too long. Unless you notice problems with yeast, there’s really no reason not to consume it. Paleo approved! Just keep an eye out for the good stuff.

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Image Source: WiseGeek