Cheese and its health benefits

Cheese and its health benefits

cheeseCheese is the most misunderstood food around, mainly because of its fat content. Eating cheese has its own benefits.

  • It has high quality protein and is high in calcium as well as phosphorous, zinc, Vitamin A, Riboflavin and vitamin B12.
  • As it is rich in calcium, it prevents dental decay as it is low in sugar ie milk sugar lactose compared to other milk products. So cheese can protect your teeth by fighting cavities. The proteins present too help to prevent plaque preventing dental caries.
  • Bone health is very important for all ages especially in children. Cheese helps in maintaining the strength and density of bones. If the diet in poor in calcium, then calcium from the bones is required for maintaining normal blood calcium levels. Hence you need to have an optimum intake of calcium for healthy bones.
  • Many stay away from cheese because of its fat content, but actually cheese helps to prevent weight gain. Firstly it is nutritionally rich, hence will help in fat burning. Calcium in cheese helps in fat burning process.If you are exercising daily, then you need not worry about the fat content. Remember you do need some fat and you are getting it from natural sources. But you can still opt for low fat cheeses if you have a high body fat content.
  • It is rich in Vitamin B12 which most of the vegetarians are deficient in and helps to prevent pernicious anemia. The B12 content increases on fermentation and to make cheese, you need ten times its equivalent of milk, hence you can see why it is nutritionally dense when compared to other milk products.
  • It prevents osteoporosis. Hence if diets are rich in calcium from the younger ages, most of the bone diseases can be kept at bay. Hence eating cheese is very beneficial.
  • Cheese helps in preventing cancers of the colon and breast.
  • Cheese is a boon for lactose intolerant. If you opt for aged or hard cheese, it has very low levels of lactose. Hence it can provide calcium and minerals in high amounts to those who suffer from lactose tolerance.
  • The zinc content in cheese prevents acne. So you dont need to avoid milk products as they infact help to reduce acne.
  • Being nutritionally dense, it helps in the absorption of various nutrients.

Now how do you eat cheese? Cheese can be had as a snack at any time during the day. You can pick up cheese singles or cubes. These can be stored with out refrigeration for some time. Hence you can carry it around in your pocket or bag. Toddlers can be given cheese as a snack.

For children, cheese can be placed over bread, wheat roti etc.

The harmful forms of cheese come when they are added in burgers and pizzas. These foods are heated at high temperatures, hence can result in chemical changes in the fat content of cheese. Plus these food have white bread, fat coming from deep fried patties or chicken or meat chunks on pizza which is very harmful.

Pasta too have a lot of cheese on it plus they are drizzled with a lot of oil be it olive or any oil.

These food are already high in calories and hence we blame poor cheese for the high calorie content. Cheese coming from cheese popcorn, chips or cheeslings are not the kind of cheese we need.

Lets not get cheesy about cheese. There are a lot of low fat options available in the market to choose from. So, Say cheeeesee!!!!

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

6 Replies to “Cheese and its health benefits”

  1. Highly useful and informative article. Easy to understand and is comprehensive enough to pick the valuable points.


  2. Sanjana,

    I came across this article today. Do you think what they are saying is correct? Because I am not very sure about lard being a health food. Although, it contains (as the website says) monounsaturated fat, I personally believe that human body is not designed to eat animal fat.


  3. Lard is made from animal fats obtained from pigs. It does contain saturated fats. No, it is not a health food as it creeps into various baked products such as pies and cookies. It has been said that it does contain 45% of monounsaturated fats. Let me remind you, any fat can go ‘bad’ or get converted into trans fatty acids when they are exposed to high temperatures such as baking. Hence I advice you not to go for products which contain lard. They say lard should be eaten in the most unrefined state ,not in the stored form. To increase the shelf life of a product, it will be necessary to hydrogenate the product so now you have ickky trans fats in your hands and also in your system.

    Human body can digest any kind of food depending on their genetic composition. If you are from a chinese or mexican back ground, then you have been eating it from birth while if you are an indian, lard is not a part of your diet. Stick to fats consumed in india

  4. I loved this article…cos I love cheese…
    n nobody allows me to eat…cos they say I ll grow fat:(
    but now I know better

  5. Hi Sanjana,

    I workout quite heavy 5 days a week and have britania slims cheese with brown bread and egg whites for breakfast. off late, I have been wondering about the fat content in the cheese and am contemplating if it will increase my cholestral levels.

    I happened to stumble by your website, fortunately, and would seek your advice on this.



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