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Feature Food Friday: Cheese

Posted Jun 18 2010 12:00am

So when I asked what foods you would like to read about for Feature Food Fridays, I had lots of 'cheese' requests... so here are the health benefits of cheese.

The health benefits of cheese include the following:

  • Dental Care: Cheese is very-very high in calcium content, the first and foremost thing you need for strong teeth. Moreover, it is very low in lactose content. The older the cheese, the lower is the lactose content. This also is beneficial for the teeth as any form of sugar (glucose, maltose or lactose) in food stuff harms teeth.
  • Bone Health: Apart from having very high calcium content, cheese is also rich in vitamin-B, which is very good for children, women (particularly pregnant and lactating) and elderly people (well, for adults too), for formation and strengthening of bones and cartilages. The vitamin-B here aids proper absorption and distribution of calcium.
  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is mainly a deficiency disease which is caused due to deficiency of calcium (non-absorption) of calcium, resulting in fall in the bone density. This is particularly seen in women who undergone menopause, elderly people and children who suffer from malnutrition. This can be treated with a protein, calcium and vitamin rich diet (calcium alone will not help much, because the problem is with its absorption and utilization for bone formation). And these three are found in abundance in cheese. So, cheese can be ideal part of the diet of those suffering from osteoporosis.
  • Hypertension: Sodium and cholesterol are the two elements mainly considered harmful in hypertension and hypertensive people are advised to avoid them. Here, cheese should be viewed critically. The fat content of the cheese depends very much on the quality of the milk viz. full fat or full cream, low fat or fat free. In general, high fat cheeses are more popular as they are tastier. But, keeping in view the public demand, low fat cheeses are also being introduced to the market. So, you need to be choosy while picking them. Then, the sodium ! Although, the sodium content of cheeses varies according to the amount of salt added to the milk prior to cheese formation, still it is never that low to be recommended for hypertensive people, as salt is an inevitable part of cheese. So, in general, cheese cannot be recommended for hypertensive people. Although, a low sodium and low fat cheese is helpful in reducing Homocysteine, an agent which is often related with heart diseases, still, it does not make it recommendable for hypertensive people. Another thing in cheese that can help hypertensive people is the vitamin-B content.
  • Weight Gain: Cheese is an excellent food for gaining weight. They are full of proteins, fats, calcium, vitamins and minerals . You have proteins for muscles, fats for fats, calcium for heavier and stronger bones and vitamins and minerals for better metabolism. You just need to eat a lot of them, do your exercises and sleep tight.
  • Other Benefits: Cheese contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Sphingolipids which help prevent cancer . It contains a lot of vitamin-B which develops in it during fermentation. This vitamin-B is very good for maintaining many functions in the body and also for protection against diseases like Beriberi. It also enhances blood formation, strengthens liver, facilitates absorption of nutrients in the body etc.
Its still not SUPER healthy, but there are some benefits.
Remember that the heathiest cheeses are the soft cheeses like feta and mozzarella. The harder the chesse is the saltier and higher in saturated fat it is. Also, the low fat processed chesses are not as healthy because they contain preservatives.

Goat cheese is probably the healthiest cheese I know of because it contains less fat the cows milk, and it contains a unique enzyme that allows our bodies to absorb calcium. iron, and protein better then cows milk.

Whats you're favorite kind of cheese?


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