Cheese: Types, Benefits, & Side Effects


Is Cheese Healthy?

Cheese is rich in calcium, protein, vitamins A and K, and many other nutrients, making it a whole food. It lowers blood pressure, improves bone and dental health, aids weight gain, reduces cancer risk, among many other health benefits.

6 Types of Cheese

Fresh Cheese

Fresh cheese tastes mild and is the youngest form of cheese with high moisture content. Its texture is soft, which makes it easily spreadable. Cottage, farmer, cream, and curd cheeses are some of the most common fresh cheeses.

Whole-milk Cheese

Many varieties of cheese fall under this category. Did you know that an ounce (28 g) of whole-milk cheese contains 5g of saturated fat? Now you do!

Low-fat Cheese

The fat in this cheese is extracted before its production. It`s also got a hard and rubbery texture.

Non-dairy Cheese

Non-dairy cheeses are highly processed, and great for people who are sensitive to lactose.

Aged Cheese

Aged cheese has a firm texture and sharp flavor. Also called matured cheese, its lactose content gets totally converted into lactic acid. The level of sourness of aged cheese is usually determined by its age. Parmesan, cheddar, and Swiss cheese are common types of aged cheese.

Processed Cheese

With its consistent texture, this traditional cheese is made with unfermented dairy products, emulsifiers, and salt. Processed cheese melts smoothly, and is available in pre-sliced and unsliced forms with food colors and added preservatives.

11 Health Benefits of Cheese

Enhances Dental Health

A lady`s lips and teethCheese is rich in calcium, which is why it makes the teeth strong. It is also reliable for reducing dental caries, owing to its casein phosphopeptides content. People who chew cheese enjoy an increase in pH levels of the mouth, and overall oral health.

Improves Bone Health

Bursting with calcium, vitamins, magnesium, and protein, cheese improves bone health in children, pregnant and lactating women, as well as the elderly. People who suffer from calcium deficiency are at risk of low bone density and osteoporosis. Cheese contains vitamins B and D alongside calcium, making it fit for boosting bone health.

Enhances Weight Gain

Cheese contains natural fats that aid weight gain. Some cheeses particularly have low-fat content that helps you ensure that your body weight is healthy.

Combats Hypertension

Excessive consumption of sodium and cholesterol may cause high blood pressure. Cheese is low in sodium, making it great for keeping the blood pressure from rising. Cheese`s vitamin B content makes it particularly great for preventing high blood pressure.

Promotes Thyroid Health

You probably didn`t know that adding cheese to your diet could promote thyroid health. Cheese is rich in selenium, which is why it is great at regulating thyroid function. Selenium boosts the production of thyroid hormones, and as a result, prevents the development of viruses. Cheddar cheese, in particular, is a type of hard cheese that reduces the risk of thyroid disorders.

Improves Brain Function

Cheese improves brain function by reducing the levels of inflammatory cytokines. This is why it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improves brain function. Camembert cheese is specifically famous for boosting brain function.

Improves Immune Health

The varieties of cheese fortified with probiotic bacteria are effective at boosting immune health, as they specifically prevent the gradual weakening of the immune system.

Boosts Skin Health

Cheese contains vitamin B which boosts cell metabolism and growth. It also makes the skin glow and reduces blemishes.

Rich in Essential Fats

Cheese contains essential fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties which are responsible for promoting cardiovascular health. Some types of cheese contain omega 3-fatty acids that protect the heart from disease.

Reduces Cancer Risk

Cheese contains sphingolipids and conjugated linoleic acid that are essential for cancer prevention. Sphingolipids, in particular, combat colon cancer. What`s more? Calcium in cheese may prevent certain types of cancer.

Great for Pregnant Women

Calcium is essential for stimulating contractions during labor. Here`s why cheese is a healthy choice for pregnant women. That`s not all, as its essential vitamins and minerals are vital for fetal development.

Side Effects of Cheese

May Cause Migraines

tummy achesSome people who consume cheese are at risk of suffering migraines because of its tyramine content.

May Interact with Drugs

People who on monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs) are advised to avoid eating cheese.  The tyramine content in cheese interacts with MOIs. This is particularly common with aged cheeses.

Lactose Intolerance

People who suffer lactose intolerance don`t have the enzyme required to break down the sugar in their bodies. If such people eat cheese, they may suffer bloating and diarrhea. This is why people who are sensitive to lactose are advised to limit their cheese intake.

May Cause Allergies

People who are allergic to casein and other milk proteins may be allergic to cheese. Such people may experience inflammatory reactions such as skin rashes, acne flares, and sinus congestion.

Tips on Using Cheese

  • Use fresh cheese without preservatives within a few days of purchase.
  • Store fresh cheese in a refrigerator and at room temperature right before eating.
  • People with cardiovascular disease or weight issues should consume low-fat and low-sodium cheese.
  • Fontina is one of the best melting cheeses, with its slightly fruitiness and buttery texture.
  • Mozzarella cheese is one of the most popular pizza toppings, with a fine flavor and consistency.
  • High-fat cheese is great for adding flavor to salads and sauce without too many calories.

Sumptuous Cheese Recipes you Should Try

Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

  • Chicken breasts
  • Chopped onion
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped green chili peppers
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Shred two chicken breasts and add a can of chopped green chili peppers, half a cup of chopped onion.
  • Pour the mixture in an oiled pan.
  • Sauté the mixture until it turns brown.
  • Season the mixture.
  • Mix two cups of cottage cheese, half a cup of sour cream, and season with salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Put a spoonful of the mix and cheese mix in 6-inch soft tortillas.
  • Add some shredded cheese, roll them up, and place them in a greased baking dish.
  • Pour the enchilada sauce and sprinkle the shredded cheddar.
  • Bake 30 minutes until the cheese melts.
  • You may serve with some Spanish rice.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • Pancetta
  • Goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Spinach
  • Eggs
  • Leek
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Heat some olive oil and add 6 slices of pancetta.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until it turns crispy.
  • Let it cool.
  • Add some sliced leek.
  • Cook over low heat until it turns soft and brown.
  • Add a cup of fresh spinach and cook until it`s wilted.
  • Remove the leek and spinach mixture from the pan.
  • Let it sit with the pancetta.
  • Beat 8 large eggs and add them to the pan.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about a minute.
  • Spread the pancetta, leek, and spinach mixture over the eggs.
  • Add half a cup of goat cheese crumbles.
  • Bake for a few minutes until the frittata is set.
  • Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Now that you Know…

Now you`ve realized that cheese is a nutrient-rich food with lots of health benefits. It reduces hypertension, improves bone and dental health, boosts weight gain, and prevents cancer. If you are allergic to lactose, you`re advised to avoid consuming cheese.