Cheese lovers, rejoice!
It’s time to ignore the naysayers who say that cheese does more harm than good. As it turns out, this delicious dairy food has a myriad of benefits for your body, including helping you to live longer. Read on to find out why you should incorporate more of it into your diet.
Rich in Calcium
Cheese is derived from milk, which is full of calcium to help build strong bones. Pure cheddar (not the kind that comes in plastic-wrapped slices) is packed with at least 200 milligrams of calcium per ounce — that is 20 per cent of your recommended daily intake!
May Help You Live Longer
You might have heard people calling cheese a ‘fatty’ food but fortunately, the fat present in cheese is actually pretty good for you. While avocados and almonds have been praised for their healthy unsaturated fats, saturated fats found in cheese, egg yolks and butter are not as harmful as you might think. In fact, studies suggest that people whose diets include moderate amounts of various common fats, such as monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fats, showed an elevated probability of longevity.
A 2016 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined whether the foods eaten by over 900 men for nearly 15 years were linked to when they passed on. Interestingly, the findings revealed that having around two ounces of cheese daily was linked to a 38 per cent lower chance of them passing on during the study. The research pointed to two possible benefits of cheese: it lowers blood pressure and suppresses fat absorption in the gut.
Protects Your Heart
Cheese may help to lower your risk of heart disease. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who had some cheese in their daily diet were 14 per cent less likely to contract heart disease than those without. Of course, we should warn you that consuming excessive amounts of cheese can have adverse effects, so stick to this adage: moderation is key!
May Improve Cholesterol
Speaking of heart health, cheese has also been referenced as a food that can reduce your cholesterol. A 2015 study, which examined two groups of people who ate cheese and butter in equal amounts of saturated fat and calories, found that the former group ended the trial with lower cholesterol levels than the latter. This could be due to the vitamin K2 found in cheese, as well as cheese’s high calcium, which has the ability to shuttle fat through your gut so your body does not fully absorb it.
Lowers Risk of Diabetes
Gorging on cheese-rich foods like pizza and hamburgers can be detrimental to your waistline and increase your risk of illnesses. However, cheese, in general, can help to lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Meat is not the only protein source you have to rely on — you can count on cheese too! In fact, an ounce of cheddar (120 calories) and Gouda (110 calories) has seven grams of protein each.
Protein is a natural building block of success for muscle recovery, so if you are looking to maintain or build muscles, consider adding some feta cheese to your post-workout salad.
Eating a cup of ricotta cheese regularly has also been found to increase muscle mass in active adults over 60, according to a study featured in Clinical Interventions in Aging.
A Satiating Snack
Feeling peckish? Instead of potato chips, reach out for some cheese instead! The great thing about cheese is that it is packed with protein and fats, which can both help you feel more satiated. Plus, the carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in cheese may give you that much-needed energy boost in the afternoons. Add a slice of Gouda to your turkey ham sandwich or munch on a string cheese to feel fuller for longer.
Good For Your Vision
You might have been told that carrots and blueberries are good for your eyes. Thankfully, so is cheese! The vision-preserving vitamin A present in many vegetables and fruits is also found in cheese. You can now enjoy that fruity cheese platter with less guilt!
Other Cheesy Tips
Mature and harder cheeses require more salt in the ageing process, so you can opt for low-sodium varieties like Swiss cheese. If you want to go a step further, look out for cheese made from the milk of grass-fed animals, as it is richer in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K2. Pay attention to flavour labels on the packaging. As a guide, Gruyère and mature cheeses are a lot bolder in taste while Colby and young Brie will suit more conservative palates. For smoother cuts, you can try slicing soft cheeses with unflavoured dental floss or a cheese cutter. When storing cheese, keep them in your refrigerator drawer instead of the door to avoid exposure to temperature swings.