Cheese has a negative reputation due to its high-fat content. Is it, however, healthy?
Cheese is healthful and frequently consumed; it can be found in a broad variety of recipes, including the classic comfort food mac & cheese, as well as sandwiches, casseroles, salads, pizzas, and more. Cheese adds taste, fragrance, texture, and colour to culinary creations. Cheese has a remarkable nutritional profile, providing protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin B12, making it one of the essential foods for a healthy diet.
Nonetheless, cheese sometimes receives a poor name due to its high-fat content. Does its reputation make you question what happens to your body when you consume cheese on a regular basis? Continue reading to find out what studies have to say-
You may have met your daily calcium requirement
Most cheeses are high in calcium, although hard cheeses have a higher calcium content than soft cheeses. According to the USDA, one serving (1.5 ounces or 42 grammes) of Cheddar cheese has roughly 300 milligrammes of calcium, which accounts for about one-third of your daily calcium requirements. A 1-ounce portion of Brie, on the other hand, has just 52 mg. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that persons aged 19 to 50 consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
Calcium is well-known for bone growth and bone health, but it also plays an important role in blood circulation, and muscle and nerve function, according to the National Institutes of Health.
In addition, a review published in Food Science & Nutrition in 2020 reveals that consuming more fabulous calcium cheese may protect against obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
You could have a healthy gut
While yoghurt is commonly associated with probiotics—the beneficial bacteria that keep the gut healthy and contribute to general health—some cheeses, including Swiss, Cheddar, cottage cheese, Gouda, Edam, and Gruyère, also contain probiotics. According to 2021 published in the International Journal of Dairy Technology, these probiotics may maintain the stomach healthy by creating short-chain fatty acids.
According to a 2020 article published in Nutrients, short-chain fatty acids may help maintain the acid-base balance, absorb calcium, iron, and magnesium, and keep the general structure and function of the gut.
Consuming the cheese fresh and uncooked is better, as heat might kill the probiotics. So, for a light afternoon snack, add cheese slices to your favourite sandwiches or serve cottage cheese in a salad with crisp bell peppers and tomatoes.
You might be able to improve your oral health
Whether you believe it or not, eating cheese may enhance your oral health. Probiotics in cheese may impact the kinds of bacteria and immune chemicals found in saliva. Eating cheese may help boost saliva flow, lowering the risk of dry mouth and related problems, such as increased dental decay, gum disease, mouth sores, and trouble eating and swallowing.
You may be at low risk of developing heart disease
According to a 2022 article in Frontiers in Nutrition, saturated fats account for around 60% of the fat in most cheeses.
While saturated fats have been related to an increased risk of heart disease, this conclusion cannot be generalised due to the variety of saturated fats. And not all types, including those found in cheese, necessarily increase the risk of heart disease.
In fact, a 2018 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that followed almost 3,000 Americans for 22 years found no link between dairy consumption and the incidence of heart disease, stroke, or mortality from any cause. The study evaluated the participants’ blood levels of certain fatty acids, such as heptadecanoic acid, a kind of fatty acid that represented dairy intake, to objectively quantify the intake of dairy products and their link with the risks.
According to the study, the greater the heptadecanoic acid level, the lower the risk of mortality from heart disease or stroke.
Another research published in The Lancet in 2018 revealed the same results. Researchers monitored participants in this study for nine years. They discovered that people who ate more than two servings of whole-fat dairy per day, including whole-fat cheese, had a 32% reduced risk of heart disease than those who ate a combination of low-fat and whole-fat dairy.
However, keep an eye on your sodium intake
From a food safety standpoint, salt is added to cheese to reduce bacterial and fungal development, which can lead to deterioration.
Sodium also improves the flavour of the cheese, making it more savoury and pleasant to the palette. High salt consumption, on the other hand, might have a detrimental influence on your health, particularly your heart health.
According to the American Heart Association, keeping your sodium consumption to no more than 2,300 mg per day—ideally, less than 1,500 mg—can help maintain your blood pressure and heart health.
Some cheeses, such as Cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss, have lower salt levels than others. According to the USDA, one slice of Cheddar cheese (1 ounce) contains around 183 mg of sodium, accounting for 8% of your daily salt requirement. However, even within the same variety, salt levels can vary from brand to brand, so check the Nutrition Facts label.
Lactose intolerance may not be an issue for you
If you suffer from lactose intolerance, you may have avoided consuming lactose-containing dairy products in order to avoid cramping and excessive toilet trips. While you may have turned to lactose-free dairy products and non-dairy alternatives to get your dairy fix, aged and hard cheeses are naturally low in lactose, according to a 2020 research published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.
Which cheeses should you eat every day?
According to a 2022 review of data published in Cardiovascular Research, consuming modest amounts of cheese and yoghurt as part of a balanced meal pattern may be beneficial against heart disease. In general, mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, and cottage cheese are some of the most popular forms of cheese, but any sort of cheese may be a part of your diet if consumed in moderation.
The amount of recommended servings of dairy may vary depending on your age and energy expenditure. Check the USDA MyPlate quantity and portion sizes to determine a reasonable amount.
For example, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, Experts suggest three servings from the dairy group, which includes yoghurt, milk, and cheese. 1 ounce of hard cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Parmesan), 1/3 cup shredded cheese, 1 ounce of processed (American) cheese, 12 cup ricotta cheese, 2 cups cottage cheese, or 2 ounces of queso fresco equals one serving of cheese.
If you are not sensitive to milk protein, you can eat cheese every day. Cheese, like many other foods, may provide health advantages when consumed in moderation. Cheese complements a broad range of delectable gourmet dishes—learn how to enjoy cheese every day with our collection of cheese recipes!