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Health food of the month - Cheese

February 2014

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Pickled Vegetables

Turkey

Lemons


 

Diet & Supplements Index


No, we don’t want to eat too much “bad” fat; no, we don’t want to eat too much salt.

But don’t turn your nose up at cheese just because you have read some scary statistics about what cheese contains.

Basically cheese is nutritious and tasty; today even better, you can select from so many varieties that you can find a cheese that is perfect for your tastes and your diet. In sensible quantities, cheese can play a valuable role in a normal diet.

Generally cheese contains good levels of calcium and is also a sound source of protein and nutrients. It contains vitamins B2k, B12, A and D.

Cheese can also be very good to eat after a meal, not just to clear the palette, but also because cheese can help to neutralise mouth acids and so help to reduce tooth decay.

Of course some cheese can be very high indeed in fat and also saturates, but today there is a great selection of cheeses available and a little research can ensure you select the best cheese for health and taste.

Cheddar of course is everywhere and a hugely popular cheese. Certainly it is high in fat; however against this is also has high levels of calcium and it also provides good levels of zinc.

Because of its creamy texture, one would think Brie is full of fat but surprisingly it generally contains less fat than Cheddar or Stilton. It also has a reasonable source of zinc, needed for healthy skin and also as an aid to your immune system. The soft rind of Brie is rich in vitamin B1.

Cottage cheese is a healthy top of the list favourite with its low fat content - it contains about the same levels of fat as skinless chicken breast. However, bear in mind that because of its low fat content, it also offers very low calcium levels compared with most other cheeses.

Camembert cheese is interesting because it is rich and creamy with all the likelihood of being incredibly bad for one. However, Camembert actually has a third less fat and a quarter less calories than normal Cheddar cheese. It is also high in folic acid and has a good level of calcium, something that is often lost in the softer cheeses. Like Brie, its rind is rich in B1.

Swiss cheeses such as Gruyere and Emmental have very high protein levels, and also high mineral contents which add to their nutritional value. For instance, a tiny 30 gram piece will provide more than 40 per cent of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of calcium and one tenth of the RDA for zinc.

There is a whole family of blue cheeses to consider. There have been official reports from various bodies in France that the blue green veined Roquefort cheese has strong anti-inflammatory properties which are activated in the acidic areas of the body, including the skin’s surface and stomach lining. These properties may also help ease inflammation of the joints and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Then there is the origin of the milk used in the cheese to think about as well.  For instance, cheese made from the milk of grass fed cows is said to have the best omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio; 2 to 1.  Against this, cheese made from grain fed milk could have the ratio as high as 25 to 1. 

But of course cheese contains salt and many cheeses contain other ingredients.

To leave cheese out of your diet is to miss out on a good nutritional food; however, like most foods, cheese needs to be eaten in moderation and it does pay to research the cheeses you like to ensure you are aware of its good and also its not so good properties!


 


 

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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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