Cheese is a dairy based product made from milk. Most often, especially in the United States, it is made from cows milk but can be produced from buffalo, goats, or sheep’s milk. Cheese comes in hundreds of flavors around the world. In fact, cheese is an ancient food that has been produced throughout the world, with its origins predating recorded history. Cheese is known for having a long shelf life, longer than milk. People debate over the best storage option, but most experts recommend wrapping it in cheese paper to allow condensation to escape while preventing it from drying out.
When it comes to choosing a healthy diet today, cheese may not feature on your healthy foods list. Unfortunately, it is mostly known for its high fat content and less is known about its health benefits. Those benefits of cheese might surprise you so let’s delve into some of the health benefits of cheese.
Loaded With Nutrients
Cheese is rich in calcium which falls short in most American diets. Statistics by government indicate that nine out of 10 women and six out of 10 men do not meet the required dietary recommendations for calcium. The high-quality protein in cheese provides the body with essential building blocks for strong muscles. Cheese is also loaded with zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin B12.
For Lactose Intolerant Persons
If you are lactose intolerant, then cheese is for you. Many cheeses, especially aged cheeses such as Swiss and Cheddar contain little or no lactose and are often well tolerated.
Promotes Better Performance And More Effective Workouts
Full fat cheese typically is high in calories, just what you require when you need to get in more energy, along with the added benefits of the high levels of protein and calcium for heavier, stronger bones and muscle mass. This is why cheese is essentially tailor-made for athletes. However, if you are looking for better performance and more effective workouts, your go to natural energy booster is cheese.
Healthy For The Heart
Studies suggest a positive relationship between eating cheese, and a healthier heart. Just ask the French! The “French Paradox” is something that’s still puzzles many health experts because it cannot be refuted. Statistics by the International Dairy Federation show that the average Frenchman ate the most cheese per capita of any other country. That’s an average of 25.9 kilograms of cheese eaten in France compared to a mere 15.4 kilograms in America. Yet there is strong evidence linking cheese consumption and protective effects against cardiovascular disease. Studies show that cheese helps maintain a low rate of coronary heart disease death.
If you have the common sense not to order too much cheese-on-cheese pizza, eat nachos every day or cover all your food in melted cheese you’ll probably be able to avoid the negative health effects associated with cheese while benefiting from all the positives.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that persons aged 9 years and older have at least 3 daily serving of cheese, milk and yogurt; and 2-1/2 cups per day for children aged 4-8 years. One serving of cheese is one and one-half ounces of hard cheese, two ounces for processed cheese and one-third cup for grated cheese.
At the end of the day, cheese is one of those foods where moderation is the best policy. So enjoy the taste and reap the health benefits of cheese, putting as much thought and care as you would every other part of your diet.
Brooke Bailey is a personal trainer, masseuse, and student in health and wellness.
She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow her on Facebook.