Eat cheese for good health

Cheese is one food which many of us cannot resist to eat.. It is delicious and is good for all ages. Famous among children and quite popular in fast foods. Delicious and irresistible to avoid, it has been a staple food  for many centuries.

One of the tastiest milk products and scores well in the nutritional scale too. It is said to have more than 15 essential nutrients that can keep you healthy as it is a concentrated source of milk nutrients. It contains high quality protein almost equivalent to meat. But the protein content varies mainly on the amount of dry matter present in cheese. Among all other dairy products, cheese is the largest contributor to the amount of protein and is a one stop place for all the needed protein. It provides protein of high quality. Protein in cheese is easily digestible.

Although it is high in fat content, if included in moderate amounts within the caloric requirements and with adequate physical activity, it can provide essential nutrients. Cheese is a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and sphingolipids,which are milk fat components that may potentially help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as certain cancers and heart disease. The fat contained is a natural ingredient in milk and provides aroma and texture. Fat also extends the storage life of cheese.

Fats have different functions in the human organism, acting as fuel to satisfy the body’s energy needs. They also transport lipo-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K in the body. Certain fatty acids – linolenic (Omega-3) and linoleic (Omega-6) are essential for growth and beneficial to the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune and nervous systems.

Liposoluble vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E and K are liposoluble. Vitamins A and D are found in dairy products. Vitamin A, which is predominant in cheese, is essential for cell growth, vision and the immune system. Liposoluble vitamins are soluble in fats and the absorption of the vitamins is increased with the presence of fats.

Two essential minerals: calcium and phosphorous

The largest quantity of mineral found in the human body is calcium. Our body does not produce calcium on its own so it is important to adopt a calcium-rich diet and maintain it throughout your life. Calcium and phosphorous contribute to the growth and strength of bones and teeth, and dairy products are excellent sources of both. It is important to consume dairy products throughout your life to maintain good bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Calcium helps growth and development in young people. Adults need calcium to maintain their bones and keep their heart, their muscles and their nervous system healthy.

Cheese is the best source of calcium available in any food. The calcium in cheese is linked to the proteins, giving it a more or less firm texture. A firm cheese contains more calcium than a soft cheese.

Not only for bone health is it essential, it very much helpful for patients who have lactose intolerance as lactose maldigesters may have difficulty digesting lactose, the principle carbohydrate in milk, due to a deficiency of lactase, the enzyme necessary to metabolize lactose. Lactose intolerance is the occurrence
of gastrointestinal symptoms resulting from incomplete digestion of lactose
as cheeses, particularly aged cheeses, contain negligible amounts of lactose. So cheese is a boon for lactose intolerants.

Cheese and cavity prevention

Cheese is a strong ally in the fight against sugar and tooth decay.
It stimulates saliva secretion, which helps eliminate sugars,
neutralize acids, and restore minerals in the teeth. Casein, a milk
protein, and the substances that help digestions seem to protect
the tooth enamel by neutralizing the acids produced from eating
sugars.

Even a small cube of cheese at the end of the meal can not only
prevent tooth decay, but also reverse the process at the first
signs of a cavity. Most recent studies also show that meals
containing cheese increase the calcium in plaque and are more
susceptible to protect against tooth decay.

Cheese and healthy bowel function

Constipation results from a low liquid and fibre diet and a
lifestyle where exercise is not a priority or totally absent;
eating cheese has nothing to do with constipation.

To prevent this problem from occurring, a person’s daily diet
should include fibre-rich foods including whole grain cereals,
vegetables, fruits and legumes. A person should also drink a
sufficient amount of liquid, 1 litre (4cups) of water per day, and
be physically active, exercising at least three times a week.

A wholesome and varied diet, including cheese, is therefore the
first step towards healthy bowel function!

Cheese is also a very good snack for toddlers and infants.

Hence, do not forget to say cheese!!!!

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Sanjana Shenoy

About Sanjana Shenoy

A dietitian from Mangalore, India. A post graduate diploma holder in “Dietetics” and a university topper from Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration from the prestigious Manipal University. At present working as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. Consultant for corporates like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.

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2 Responses to Eat cheese for good health

  1. Suresh September 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Hello mam, how r u doing. I have 2 kids 9 and 15 (male) how many glasses (liters) can drink milk in a day. because some of parents used to give 2 to 3 lrs a day (for sports boys, guys who are all going to sports classes) pls suggest me how much can drink a day milk.
    Thank you

  2. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian September 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    Mr Suresh,

    One serving of milk is 200ml. Hence you can give about 2-3 servings per day.

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