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Is Cheese Good Or Bad For Your Health?

  • timeline Smitakshi Guha
  • 3 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

When it comes to cheese, most people share a love-hate relationship with it. Love, because obviously, cheese has one of the best tastes in the world; hate, because one is concerned about the fact that excessive eating of this dairy product is linked with weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease. So, what to do?

Should you give up cheese once and for all or is there a middle ground that can be of some use? Is it really bad for health or does it have some good health benefits to offer? 

Health benefits

Fundamentally, cheese is an excellent source of calcium, fats, and protein. It also contains other essential nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin B12, riboflavin, zinc, and phosphorus. It is believed that it that is produced out of fully grass-fed animals is extremely dense in nutrients and also contains vitamin K-2 and omega-3 fatty acids. 

According to research, dairy, in general, helps in preventing cavities and boosts good oral health in kids and adults. In particular, high fat cheese variations like blue and cheddar cheese contain tiny amounts of conjugated linoleic acid, which according to research, has anti-inflammatory properties and a link with preventing obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

However, when any form of fermented dairy-like yoghurt and cheese is pasteurized with high heat, a lot of their essential nutrients and compounds like good enzymes and bacteria are lost or reduced significantly. In a nutshell, it is a whole food and whole foods are primarily known to be good for our health. But as they say, too much of anything is never good, the same is applicable to this food item as well.

The catch

Your health plays a key role in determining what kind of cheese you should have and how much. It is always advisable to consult with a dietitian before making a certain kind of food a part of your regular diet.

Normally, this dairy product has a list of varieties and the nutrition content varies from type to type. Ideally, you should stay away from harder forms of cheese like Parmesan, cheddar, etc. since they are aged for a long period of time and require more salt in the process. You can try Swiss cheese if you want to be low on sodium. Likewise, if you want to be on the lower-calorie side, you can go for part-skim mozzarella, feta, as well as Swiss varieties.

Health risks 

While most people enjoy the taste of cheese, some people may be sensitive to it. Cheese contains lactose and people who are lactose-intolerant can’t enjoy it without experiencing some symptoms associated with lactose intolerance, which include bloating, digestion issues, and gas. The good news is that there are some varieties of cheese that contain little amounts of lactose, such as Parmesan cheese.

On the other hand, since cheese is a dairy product and it contains this protein called casein, those who are allergic to casein may show allergic reactions to cheese as well. It is usually a calorie-dense food, so you need to watch out for the portions you eat because, with every one ounce of this dairy product, you’re getting about 100 calories into your system. 

Since most variations of cheese have high sodium content, it may not be suitable for people who suffer from high blood pressure. Additionally, it also has saturated fats, so you need to make it a point to not indulge in overeating. Lastly, since cheese contains no fibre, an excessive intake of it can lead to constipation.

The takeaway

This dairy product is overall a healthy and whole food that does have a lot of health benefits to offer. However, how much of it you have and with what are some aspects you need to look at. For instance, lots of cheese paired with pizza, bread, tortilla chips, etc. can reduce the benefits of cheese significantly. Whereas, sprinkling some it over your vegetables or salad or having a few crumbles once or twice is a week, is generally considered to be healthy.

To know what’s essentially right for your daily intake of foods and a customized diet plan, you can now consult top dietitians on the MFine app 

  • timeline
  • Written by

    Smitakshi Guha

A literature nerd who made a straight jump from mainstream journalism to digital media. She loves spinning words around parenting, baby care & women’s health with her pieces offering both insight and fun.

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