Healthy Foods List: Cheese

Cheese is a fantastic dairy product made by curdling milk and then ageing or ripening it.

The type of cheese and its flavour, texture, and aroma can vary significantly based on the milk source (cow, goat, sheep), the production process, and the ageing period. Cheese is enjoyed worldwide and can be found in various forms, such as soft, creamy, hard, or crumbly, each offering its own unique taste and culinary uses.

Health Benefits of Cheese

Good cheese can be very beneficial to health. Cheese contains many essential nutrients, such as protein, calcium, and vitamin B12, and contributes to strong bones and muscle health.

Recent research has unveiled a connection between cheese and gut health. Certain types of cheese, like fermented varieties, contain probiotics, which are beneficial for the gut. These probiotics support a healthy balance of gut bacteria, aiding digestion and potentially bolstering the immune system. 

Despite the health benefits, cheese contains sodium and saturated fat, so consume it in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

Ways to Include Cheese in the Diet:

  1. Cheese Platter: Create a cheese platter with a selection of different cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts.

  2. Salad Garnish: Crumble or shave hard cheese varieties like Parmesan or feta onto salads.

  3. Baked Dishes: Incorporate cheese into baked dishes such as casseroles, or stuffed peppers.

  4. Cheese Omelets: Add grated cheese to your omelettes or scrambled eggs for extra flavour and creaminess.

  5. Fill meatballs: Put a cube of feta cheese in the middle of your meatballs before baking them in the oven or cooking them in tomato sauce.

  6. Feta and Beetroot Salad: Crumble feta with beetroot and drizzle over balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Nutritional Content of Cheese per 100g (Cheddar, Approximate Values):

  • Calories: 403 kcal
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1.3 grams
  • Fat: 33 grams
    • Saturated Fat: 21 grams
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 9 grams
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 gram
  • Cholesterol: 105 mg
  • Vitamins (per 100 grams):
    • Vitamin A: 951 IU (32% DV)
    • Vitamin B12: 1.22 mcg (20% DV)
  • Minerals (per 100 grams):
    • Calcium: 721 mg (72% DV)
    • Phosphorus: 512 mg (51% DV)
    • Sodium: 621 mg (26% DV)
    • Zinc: 3.11 mg (21% DV)

Cheese is a rich source of protein, calcium, and various vitamins and minerals. However, it's also high in saturated fats and sodium, so it's best enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Different types of cheese have distinct nutritional profiles, so values may vary accordingly.

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