Cheese is a popular milk-based food that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a delicious ingredient in meals and snacks, from cheddar in morning omelettes to provolone on a lunch sandwich, cherry tomatoes with mozzarella balls as a Mediterranean-inspired snack, and parmesan with a farfalle pasta dinner. Hard cheese lovers can often be drawn to this delicious dairy product, which may lead one to wonder about the potential effects of consuming cheese on a daily basis.
In addition to enhancing the flavor and texture of your favorite foods, cheese is also rich in nutrients. It’s a good source of high-quality protein and calcium, plus it provides many other nutrients and bioactive compounds, like magnesium and vitamin B12. On the other hand, cheese also adds a significant amount of sodium, saturated fat, and calories to your daily diet. There is also a lot of fake information about cheese on the internet, which can make you hesitate to eat it. It’s often referred to as a major source of saturated fat, hard to digest and responsible for everything from skin rashes to diabetes.
To help set the record straight, here’s what happens to your body if you eat cheese every day. Plus, for more healthy eating tips about this dairy-based delight, be sure to check out 5 Cheeses You Can Still Eat If You Have High Cholesterol, Dietitians Say.
You will increase the calcium in your diet
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 30% of men and 60% of women don’t get enough calcium in our diets, and 75% of us don’t meet the daily dairy recommendations of three servings a day or 1,000 mg of calcium per day. day. Calcium helps maintain healthy bones, but research also shows it may help prevent certain types of cancer, may lower blood pressure, help prevent preeclampsia and may help you maintain a healthy weight, study finds conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A 1.5 ounce serving of cheese provides between 115 and 350 milligrams of calcium, depending on the variety, according to dietary guidelines. In the United States, about 72 percent of calcium intake comes from dairy products and foods with added dairy ingredients, according to the NIH. Hard cheeses contain the most calcium due to their low water content, which makes them more nutrient dense. Additionally, a 1.5-ounce serving of cheddar cheese contains 305 milligrams of calcium, or one-third of what an average adult needs per day.
It may be at odds with your stomach
According to the NIH, approximately 68% of the world’s population suffers from some type of lactose malabsorption, which occurs when the body cannot fully digest lactose, the main carbohydrate found in milk and dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant, cheese can cause stomach upset after eating it and lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
The good news is that cheese contains much less lactose than milk and yogurt. Hard and aged cheeses are the lowest in lactose and are generally well tolerated in small amounts. The least lactose-rich and generally well-tolerated cheeses are Parmesan, Swiss, blue cheese, Gouda, Cheddar, Brie, Camembert and Edam. Cheeses with the highest amounts of lactose include ricotta and cream cheese.
You’ll likely improve your gut microbiome
You probably know that yogurt containing live and active cultures is one of the best ways to refuel with beneficial bacteria that help improve your microbiome and the health of your gastrointestinal and immune system, but many varieties of cheese Soft and hard cheeses including Cheddar, Edam, Feta, Parmesan, Swiss, Provolone, Gouda and Gruyere provide probiotics. Probiotics are mainly found in ripened cheeses that are not pasteurized. Some cheese makers even add probiotics to their cheese. For example, Babybel Plus + Probiotic is said to have one billion live and active cultures per serving.
Research is still ongoing to better understand the amount and viability of bacteria surviving during cheese making, but to date, a study published in the Functional Foods Journal explains how cheese can survive digestion and colonize the gastrointestinal tract to provide health benefits.
It may reduce your risk of heart disease
While whole cheese is a high source of saturated fat, you might think it may increase your risk of coronary heart disease, but research suggests otherwise. A study reported in the Lancet, which included 135,000 participants in 21 countries, found no correlation between consumption of dairy foods, including cheese, and risk of heart disease or major coronary events. In fact, the study reported that those who reported eating more than one serving of whole or low-fat dairy products per day had a reduced risk of heart disease, heart attack, or death from heart disease.
Another study reported in the European Journal of Nutrition compiled data from 15 large population-based studies with over 200,000 subjects in total. Their results also reported an inverse relationship between cheese consumption and cardiovascular disease. Those who ate cheese frequently were up to 18% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, up to 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease, and up to 10% less likely to have a stroke compared to those who consumed little or no cheese. . The authors suggest that 1.4 ounces of cheese per day may be optimal for heart health benefits.
It can help your muscles recover after exercise
Endurance and strength athletes often rely on protein supplements to promote muscle recovery and provide gains in strength and endurance. Milk is a high quality protein with all nine essential amino acids. Research confirms that whey and casein protein in milk can improve post-exercise recovery and help boost muscle protein synthesis. Cheese is primarily made up of casein, a slow-to-digest protein that also promotes protein synthesis after exercise. Whey is a fast-acting protein that is usually taken immediately after strenuous exercise, while casein is usually recommended before bedtime.
A recent study reported in the Nutrition review found that among 20 healthy male athletes, 30 grams of protein from cheese improved muscle protein synthesis, which is equivalent to taking 30 grams of protein from milk. If you’re active and want to help your muscles recover after strenuous exercise, enjoy two ounces of cheese or half a cup of cottage cheese as part of a bedtime snack.
Cheese can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet, but it’s important to keep portion sizes in mind because cheese is high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. Be sure to pair the cheese with other healthy foods and ingredients like whole grains, dried fruits, vegetables, and green salads.
It can blow your daily calorie budget
Most cheese lovers have one major problem with cheese consumption: they eat too much of it. Cheese is nutritious, but it’s also high in calories, which makes it easy to overeat. An ounce of most hard cheeses, like cheddar, contains about 100 to 125 calories, depending on the variety. It’s easy to eat 3-4 ounces all at once, either as a snack or as part of a main dish.
Consider that most blocks of cheese sold in supermarkets are 8 ounces, keep this in mind to help you control your cheese portions. Grating cheese is a great way to enhance the delicious flavor of your favorite dishes, allowing you to use less for the same great taste. Try grating tangy, sharp cheese, such as Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano to flavor foods and dishes, as you can use much less of it compared to a milder variety.