Is Cheese Good for You?

In the last 50 years, cheese has become increasingly popular in the United States (U.S.). According to statistics, consumption tripled between 1970 and 2009.

The variety of cheeses available, as well as the number of specialist cheese makers in the United States, has also expanded in recent years.

While it is true that cheese contains a lot of fat, it also has some remarkable health benefits. And in this article I will answer the common question “Is cheese good for you?” and provide you with all of the information you need to make better and healthier cheese choices.

IS CHEESE GOOD FOR YOU

What are the health benefits of Cheese?

it is time to answer the “is cheese good for you” question, let me tell you that Cheese is a source of riboflavin, protein, phosphorus, calcium, and saturated fat. Plus, it has high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin b12, zinc and. 

The nutrition of Cheese depends on the milk; they are full of omega-three fatty acids, vitamin K-2, and many more nutrients.

Health benefits of cheese

Cuts Your Heart Disease Risk

Some researchers believe cheese might be the explanation of what is the so-called French Paradox, which indicates that despite their love of cheese and other saturated fat-rich foods like butter and duck, they have low rates of heart health issues.

Then there’s a study made on 2016, which looked at 31 analysis of cohort studies (those experimental studies that follow people their entire lives) which compared how much dairy people were eating to whether they got cardiovascular diseases or not.

They found that consuming about 2 ounces of cheese per day (1 ounce equals a 1-inch cube) had something to do with an 18% lower risk of heart disease.

The researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition suggest that minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins such as riboflavin and B12, might be the reason behind this.

They have also found that eating as little as 1/2 ounce of cheese per day could reduce stroke risk by 13%.

Protect Your Teeth from Cavities

According to a study conducted by dental professionals, eating cheese has a great role in preventing dental cavities.

During this study, the pH balance in various areas of the mouth was tested before and after the consumed milk, sugar-free yogurt, paraffin, and cheese in four groups of people.

Knowing that a pH level of less than 5.5 puts your teeth at risk of erosion from acids produced in your mouth.

While the groups that drank milk and ate paraffin and sugar-free yogurt experienced no notable change in pH levels, the group that ate cheese experienced an increase.

The findings could be due to increased saliva production as a result of chewing, which protects teeth from erosion, and it could be also due to due to hat certain cheese components adhered to the teeth, protecting them from acid.

In either case, your teeth are made of the same materials as your bones. which means that cheese can be beneficial to your dental health in the same way that it is beneficial to your bone health.

It is worth mentioning that a 2015 Danish study showed that children who consumed more dairy than the average were more likely to be cavity-free after three years than those who consumed less.

Improves Your Cholesterol

A daily snack of cheese may help lower your cholesterol levels. A 2015 review of randomized trials (research’s gold standard) published in Nutrition Reviews compared the blood cholesterol of people following a prescribed diet that included butter or cheese.

Despite having almost, the same amount of saturated fat and calories per ounce, the cheese eaters had lower total and LDL cholesterol at the end of their trials than their butter-eating colleagues.

Calcium’s ability to ferry fat through your stomach so your body doesn’t absorb it and its associated calories could explain the cholesterol changes (the calcium amount is much larger in cheese than in butter).

Vitamin K2, which is found in fermented dairy products such as cheese, may also be one of the reasons.

Makes You Stronger

In healthy adults over 60, eating nearly a cup of ricotta cheese per day for 12 weeks increased their muscle mass and improved balance.

The researchers of the study, which was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging in 2014, speculated that the milk proteins casein and whey might be the reason behind these strong bones and muscle benefits.

Fends Off Diabetes

According to a review of cohort studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating 1 3/4 ounces of cheese daily may reduce your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by 8%.

The same study found that people who consumed around 3/4 cup of yogurt daily had a lower risk.

Another study published in AJCN found that women in Sweden who ate less than 2 ounces of cheese had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Cheese contains shorter-chain saturated fats, which have been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. As well as Calcium, which increases insulin production and reduces its resistance, may also help to prevent the disease, according to researchers.

Reverse Hypertension by Lowering Blood Pressure

A dairy-rich diet has been linked to lower blood pressure. It is thought that increased calcium intake is primarily responsible.

A study was conducted in which two groups were tested: one that only ate fruits and vegetables and the other that consumed low-fat dairy products. It was observed that the dairy group had lower blood pressure overall.

Those with hypertension may observe that eating certain cheeses lowers their systolic blood pressure by 2-4 mmHg (16).

However, you must pay attention to your sodium intake, which should not exceed 1,500 mg per day. So make sure you pick the low-sodium cheeses by checking their labels, as balancing your diet with foods high in potassium can reduce your levels of sodium too.

Help Prevent Common Cancers

Colorectal cancer, which affects the colon and digestive tract, is one of the most common cancers in the world.

Colorectal cancer has many complications, including abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and nausea and vomiting, which, if left untreated, can lead to death in the long term.

While many studies gave conflicting results regarding dairy consumption and cancer risk, there is some proof that milk and cheese can help avoid some widespread cancers, such as colorectal and bladder cancer, as calcium, vitamin D, and lactic acid is thought to protect against these cancers.

Benefits the Immune System

Immunosenescence is a condition that affects the elderly by attacking their immune system and causing it to deteriorate.

It makes their bodies less capable of fighting cancerous cells and responding to immunizations and vaccines, making them more vulnerable to cancer and infectious diseases.

Surprisingly, recent research has shown that probiotic-fortified cheese can help boost the immune system and prevent immunosenescence.

Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to those found in the human gut, which contains the majority of the immune system. As a result, scientists decided to focus their research on this area.

Over a four-week period, a group of volunteers in a nursing home ranging in age from 72 to 103 were observed. One group received a placebo cheese, while the other received probiotic-rich gouda.

At the end of the study, it was evident that the probiotic-fortified gouda group’s natural and acquired immunity had improved.

Good for Pregnant Women

Preeclampsia affects 5 to 8% of pregnant women in the United States. It is an illness in which a pregnant woman develops hypertension, which can have serious consequences for her unborn child, including death.

However, various studies and research have shown that taking 1,500 to 2,000 mg of calcium per day during pregnancy can significantly reduce a woman’s risk of developing preeclampsia.

Cheese is a good choice for a pregnant woman’s diet because of its calcium content. Not only is it high in calcium, but it also contains a variety of other beneficial nutrients for pregnancy, such as vitamin B and protein.

However, there are several varying views on the consumption of cheese during pregnancy, which must be considered.

Help You Gain Weight in a Healthy Way

Cheese, with its fat and protein content, as well as the various vitamins and minerals it contains, is an excellent choice for gaining weight in a healthy way.

However, you should be careful about how much cheese you eat because it can push you too far to the opposite end of the weight scale. It is an extremely calorie-dense food, with many calories per gram.

Common cheeses, such as gouda, goat, and parmesan, have more than 100 calories per gram. And obesity can be caused by eating primarily high-energy-density foods.

So make sure you balance your cheese consumption with low-energy-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Healthy cells

Our blood cells require protein for building and repairing. Luckily, one ounce of cheddar cheese can provide us with 7 grams of protein, which is the recommended amount for each person depending on their age, weight, and activity level.

Now you know the answer to “is cheese good for you?” don’t you?

Health Risks

Saturated Fat

One ounce of cheddar cheese has around 120 calories and 6 grams of fat.  A high saturated fat intake can increase the likelihood of developing diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

However, some research suggests that fat from dairy foods may be less dangerous than saturated fat from other sources.

Sodium

Sodium, like fat, can be high in some kinds of cheese, particularly processed cheeses and “cheese flavored” products. And a diet high in levels of sodium and saturated fat is likely to increase the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Hormones

The presence of estrogen and other steroid hormones in dairy products has raised concerns, which could disrupt the endocrine system and potentially boost the risk of certain types of cancer.

Listeria contamination

Soft cheese and blue cheese can occasionally become contaminated with listeria, particularly if made with unpasteurized or raw milk. Consuming listeria-contaminated foods can make you sick.

A sensitivity to casein

casein is a protein found in milk. In some cases, it can trigger inflammation throughout the body, leading to symptoms such as sinus congestion, migraines, skin rash, and acne flares.

If you are experiencing these types of symptoms, you can ask a dietitian to guide you through an elimination diet or you can conduct a food sensitivity test, to know if a dairy-free diet can help.

Phosphorus

Some types of cheeses are rich in high quantities of Phosphorus, which can be harmful to patients with kidney disorders because it can be fatal if their kidneys aren’t able to remove excess phosphorus from the blood.

Allergies

Some allergies might take place due to an abnormal immunologic reaction to certain triggers, like milk protein, whether whey protein or casein protein.

Our body’s immune system gives an allergic antibody, immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody when exposed to those triggers.

The symptoms of this allergy include wheezing, post-nasal drip, diarrhea, and vomiting. While in some serious cases, the patient might suffer from eczema, asthma, pneumonia, bleeding, anaphylaxis, or shock.

Examples of at-risk cheeses include:

  • Camembert
  • Brie
  • Queso panela
  • Blue-veined cheeses
  • Feta
  • Queso Fresco
  • Queso Blanco

What Is the Healthiest Cheese?

Ricotta

Ricotta cheese health benefits

Ricotta is lower in cholesterol and fat than other types of cheese. Including ricotta cheese in your diet may help you perform better in the gym.

According to a study published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, including ricotta cheese in your daily diet can improve muscle mass and balance in older adults.

Goat cheese

Goat cheese health benefits

Goat’s milk cheese contains more protein and minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium.

It contains a high-fat content, but due to its strong flavor, you only need a little to enjoy it.

Full-fat cheeses

Including a small amount of rich, full-fat cheese in your diet can be much better and healthier than opting for the low-cal version.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that in overweight adults who regularly consumed high-fat cheeses, their cholesterol numbers lowered more than those who consumed reduced-fat dairy.

Scientists state that this might be because the fat in dairy acts differently from our own blood lipids.

Now it is time to answer such an important question every fan of cheese asks, which is:

Is It Healthy to Eat Cheese Every Day?

As long as you don’t have lactose intolerance and your doctor has never asked you to eat dairy-free cheese, eating cheese portions every day can be part of your healthy diet.

Cheese is a fermented food that can provide a good source of probiotics for healthy gut bacteria in addition to its being an excellent source of calcium and great amounts of protein.

The trick is to enjoy the cheese flavor in moderation. Try sprinkling it over healthy meals like salads, cooked vegetable, lean proteins, and a whole grain dish.

Is eating too much Cheese bad for you?

Although Cheese is such a great source of protein and calcium, it is most of the time in saturated fat and salt, which means that consuming too much Cheese, even if it is vegan, can cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

And all of this (especially saturated fat) could increase the risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease)

Can I eat Cheese while trying to lose weight?

If you are trying to lose weight, don’t even count the calories you get from Cheese. There is a study says that a dairy intake that includes calcium and reduced fat in your meals can help you lose weight and improve your bone health

Different types of Cheese

Whole-milk cheese 

whole milk cheese

This dairy product contains from 6 to 10 grams of fat per an ounce

Low-fat or reduced-fat Cheese

reduced fat cheese

Some people consider it the healthiest Cheese. It is low-fat cheese. It is made with two percent milk, while non-fat is made with no milk or skim milk.

Fresh Cheese

fresh cheese

Such as ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone, cottage cheese

Fresh Cheese is the kind that hasn’t matured or aged Cheese yet. It has higher moisture, a softer texture, and a milder taste.

Aged Cheese or mature cheeses 

aged cheese

Such as Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese (harder Cheeses), Cheddar cheese (vegan Cheese of it), and Gruyère

They are firmer in texture and aged for six months or longer.

This dairy product gets more concentrated and sharper in flavor when the aging process gets longer

Processed Cheese

Processed Cheese

Cheese spread, cream cheese, and American Cheese are the most famous types of processed Cheese

We can’t categorize processed Cheese as Cheese or vegan cheese exactly, and it is a shelf-stable product that contains added ingredients like flavor enhancers

Non-dairy cheeses

non diary cheese

Such as Daiya and soy cheese.

That type of Cheese is good for those who don’t consume dairy products.

Here is one more question regarding eating Cheese. Almost every cheese lover ask to make sure they maintain their healthy diet or healthy eating.

More cheesy tips and tricks

  • To maintain and store cheese, you have to pay attention to the light and Oxygen that the cheese is exposed to, as when the fat molecules and beta-carotene (a compound found in cheese) are exposed to Oxygen that is catalyzed by light, the cheese starts to discolor, and changes taste.
  • Once your piece of cheese is cut, its longevity starts to reduce, and it starts to lose its quality.
  • Why is cheese good for you is not the only thing you need to know, you also need to know that the longevity of the cheese and its taste after cutting depends on its type. Soft cheeses such as brie might last for only a day or a couple of days.
  • Firm cheeses like cheddar will stay for more than a week if kept in the fridge.
  • Aged Cheeses stay for 3 to 6 weeks, and Fresh Cheeses stay for a couple of days.
  • Never store your sliced cheese or cheese blocks by wrapping them in plastic wraps, as it lets in light, which in turn oxidizes the cheese.
  • And if you bought it wrapped, take off that plastic cover when you first get home to protect your yummy cheese from suffocating.
  • Preserve sliced cheese or cheese blocks by wrapping them with wax paper, and storing them in the fridge drawer. Don’t store it in the door where the temperature isn’t stable

Final thoughts

Dairy cheese has been made by various cultures and nations for over eight thousand years now. And I guess now you know the reason behind that and know why is cheese good for you

Make sure your healthy diet contains reasonable amounts of this nutritious dairy food to make the most of this great source of valuable nutrients.

Don’t forget that the amazing fact about Cheese, is that it is suitable for lactose-intolerant people. Now you know why is cheese good for you, you can ask whatever you want in the comments box below and we will answer you.

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Daniel Rogers

About Author

Daniel Rogers

Hi, I am Daniel Rogers, from the moment that I entered the kitchen, I have been passionate about cooking and baking. This passion made me eager enough to know more about the kitchen tools that I use. The older I become, the more I become knowledgeable about kitchen tools. When and how to use a special tool in the kitchen becomes my hobby.