From sweet, salty, sharp and smoky to buttery, creamy and yeasty – and several more in between – there are many flavors and types of cheese available to today’s consumer. It’s no surprise then that cheese is a popular food item, or that it has grown in consumption over the last few years.
But, can you eat cheese on a daily basis and is cheese good or bad for your health? These questions have created myths and misconceptions about cheese. While each person should consult with their doctor if they have a concern about eating any food item and that all food should be eaten in moderation, there are many positive reasons to keep cheese on your shopping list and part of your diet.
Here are a few benefits of cheese.
Cheese and Diseases – Numerous studies have looked at different health ailments and cheese, and the findings might surprise some. When it comes to cardiovascular health, a study published by the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate 1.5 ounces of cheese per day had a lower risk than those who didn’t eat any cheese. When it comes to diabetes or hypertension, another study found that eating two servings of dairy of any kind reduced the risk of each health ailment by 11 to 24 percent.
Cheese and Nutrition – Cheese, like all dairy products, also packs numerous essential vitamins known to be important in healthy development and growth. Nutrients like calcium and protein are perhaps the most recognized in dairy, and each has numerous health benefits. And the low consumption of each of them are also linked to some negative health issues, such as osteoporosis. Protein is essential and it can also help you feel full for longer, which can aid in weight management. Cheese made from cow’s milk also helps people to reach the daily recommendation for calcium and for Vitamin D, which is associated with many positive health benefits including immunity health.
Cheese and Gut health – Cheese contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can help promote a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for proper digestion and overall health. Probiotics can help regulate digestion and may even help reduce symptoms of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). By including cheese in your diet, you can help support a healthy gut microbiome and promote good digestion.
Cheese and Lactose Intolerance – Those who are lactose intolerant, a condition that affects the ability to digest lactose – a natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products – don’t need to completely avoid dairy. This includes cheese. Some types, such as aged cheeses like cheddar or parmesan, contain very low levels of lactose. This means they can be easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance, allowing them to enjoy the health benefits of cheese without experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.
So, while many people might tend to think of cheese as more of an indulgent treat rather than a health food, cheese can provide a variety of health benefits. Not to mention it is delicious and comes in many varieties. Cheese is also very versatile and can be a great ingredient to help make a dish even tastier or perfect just on its own or accompanied with a glass of wine.
You can also find many varieties of locally made Connecticut cheeses at dairy farms across the state. Including one cheese that was awarded as best in the United States.