Who doesn’t like cheese? A report says Americans eat more than 20 pounds of cheese in a year! According to International Dairy foundation around 500 odd varieties of cheese are consumed. But does our body love cheese as much as our taste buds do? In spite of the popular notion that cheese is not good for your health, people still love eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. Not only does cheese taste great, it is also beneficial for your health in many ways. Cheese is a dairy product that is produced and used all over the world. It is a versatile and nutritious food that can be added to other dishes or eaten as it is. It comes in a wide variety of colors, forms and flavors. For those who do not eat meat, eating cheese is a great way to get adequate amounts of high quality protein into their bodies.
It is important to understand the nutritional value of cheese. The level of various nutrients present in cheese may differ according to the composition of milk used and the manufacturing process. However some of the important nutrients found in this tasty food include protein, amino acids, omega-3 fats, vitamins (like vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin K2 and vitamin D), and minerals like calcium, zinc, and phosphorus.
As you can see from the nutritional list, cheese is packed with a large array of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and protein. Although it is usually considered as a fatty food by many people, the truth is that cheese is a delicious food that is very nutritious and provides many health benefits. Some of the health benefits of cheese are listed below:
Cheese provides good nutrition
Cheese is considered to be an excellent ingredient for a healthy and balanced diet. It is not only a rich source of saturated fats and calcium, but also offers a good amount of other nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Cheese contains high levels of the mineral iron, which plays a major role in hemoglobin formation and preventing health problems like anemia and weakness.
Cheese provides the benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Cheese is high in Conjugated Linoleic Acid, a type of fat that provides a wide range of health benefits. It helps in improving bone mass, reducing body fat, boosting immunity, enhancing the inflammatory system support, regulating blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of heart attack, and maintaining lean body mass.
Cheese and dental health
The nutrients present in cheese plays an important role in protecting your teeth. They prevent the buildup of acid on your teeth after eating foods high in sugar content. Calcium, phosphorus and protein found in cheese can help in maintaining the proper structure and strength of the teeth. Cheese also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps in preventing the occurrence of dental problems.
Cheese strengthens your bones
The bones in our body are largely made up of protein, calcium and phosphorus. It is important that we get plenty of calcium in order to inhibit bone loss that occurs naturally as we grow old. Dairy products like cheese are exceptionally rich in calcium, along with other bone benefitting nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Therefore eating cheese regularly helps to maintain strong and healthy bones.
Cheese can prevent cancer
It has been found that eating certain types of cheese can lower your risk of developing cancer. This is because these cheeses are rich in Vitamin K2 (menaquinones), a form of vitamin K that is anti-angiogenic and capable of killing cancer cells directly. Cheese is also rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), another anti-cancer element that can reduce your chances of developing cancers like breast, lung, colorectal, stomach and skin cancers.
Cheese lowers blood pressure
According to research, a well balanced diet including dairy products like cheese may help in lowering blood pressure. The minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium contained in these foods play a vital role in maintaining the blood pressure. Potassium helps in regulating the mineral and fluid balance in the body, thus keeping the blood pressure under check.
Cheese can boost your energy
The high calories and protein content in cheese boosts your energy and provides fuel to both your body and brain to remain active for a long period of time.
Cheese makes your skin beautiful and glowing
Every individual wishes to have healthy skin. Cheese is found to be helpful in improving the appearance and health of the skin. It is a wonderful source of vitamin B that improves cell metabolism, which promotes the growth of new cells. This helps in making the skin smooth and blemish free.
Eating cheese helps you sleep well
According to scientific studies, cheese has been found to be beneficial in preventing insomnia as it helps in promoting sleep. Cheese contains an amino acid known as Tryptophan that reduces stress and helps you sleep well.
Cheese is good for diabetics
For people with diabetes, it is critical to keep the blood sugar levels under control in order to lower the chances of developing associated medical problems such as vision problems, kidney disease and nerve problems. Cheese is a food item with low glycemic index and hence has negligible impact on the blood glucose levels in a person suffering from diabetes. Scientists have also found that eating two slices of cheese a day will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 12 percent.
Cheese for pregnant ladies
Cheese is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and calcium, all of which provide proper nutrition for both the mother and baby. It helps in stimulating contractions when the baby is ready to be delivered. Cheese also helps increase the production of breast milk after the baby is born.
Cheese helps reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Researchers have found that eating foods high in calcium lowers the risk of experiencing Premenstrual syndrome. Since cheese is rich in calcium, eating it can help reduce or even prevent many of the symptoms associated with PMS.
Cheese is an ideal food for athletes
The high protein content in cheese supports muscle recovery and development after a session of weight training. Since it is high in calories, cheese also helps in promoting weight gain for athletes who want to add on some weight. Cheese is also rich in vitamins and minerals that increase bone density and prevent bone injuries.
Cheese a probiotic food source
Some cheese which are processed using fermentation are good source of good bacteria. These include Cheddar, swiss, parmesan and gouda cheese. They contain probiotic bacteria which imparts positive effect to the gastro intestinal health. Such cheese helps in digestion, helps treat irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders.
Cheese, be it any type is loved by all. It is one of the most extensively used dairy products all around the world. Fat free or low fat cheese are best types of cheese. These include Cheddar, parmesan, swiss, mozzarella, swiss, feta, cottage cheese, goat cheese or ricotta cheese. Its taste, ease of availability and numerous health benefits makes it a popular and favorite food. It is an excellent source of nutrition, which you should consider including more of in daily your diet.Image Credits: Flickr - Karen