The 9 Healthiest Types Of Cheese
Cheese is a dairy product that comes in hundreds of different textures and flavors.
Its produced by adding acid or bacteria to milk from various farm animals, then aging or processing the solid parts of the milk.
The nutrition and taste of cheese depend on how it is produced and what milk is used.
Some people are concerned that cheese is high in fat, sodium, and calories. However, cheese is also an excellent source of protein, calcium, and several other nutrients.
Eating cheese may even aid weight loss and help prevent heart disease and osteoporosis. That said, some cheeses are healthier than others.
Here are 9 of the healthiest types of cheese.
Healthy Ways To Use Cream Cheese
Regardless of which type of cream cheese you use, the healthiest way to incorporate it is to combine it with whole, nutrient-rich foods, including veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and pulses . Spread it on whole grain bread at breakfast, topped with bagel seasoning and veggies, such as sliced tomato, cucumber, red onion, and spinach. Season plain cream cheese with a touch of maple syrup, cinnamon, and fresh grated ginger as a dip for fresh fruit. Fold in savory seasonings, like garlic and herbs or pico de gallo, and scoop up with fresh veggies like red bell pepper strips, carrots, celery, and cucumber. Add in seasonings and nutritional yeast, form into balls, and roll them in chopped nuts or seeds, like chia or sesame, served with whole grain crackers. Spread corn tortillas with cream cheese and fill with black beans, salsa, avocado, and shredded cabbage. Or enjoy cream cheese in desserts that incorporate healthful add-ins, such as pumpkin cheesecake or mini fruit tarts.
Make The Switch To A Healthier Fat
Slapping a hunk of butter in your pan or slathering your bread with mayo are common ways to prepare grilled cheese. Lots of butter and mayo adds extra calories and saturated fat.
To lower your saturated fat intake, try using avocado oil or olive oil in your pan instead of butter.
Grilled cheese can be made a little bit healthier. Start with fiber-rich whole grain bread, choose flavorful cheese, try some plant-based toppings, and use a healthy fat when cooking.
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Dairy Calcium And Weight Loss
Research has produced conflicting results about the role of calcium and dairy products in weight loss. However, two reviews published in late 2012 — one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the other in the International Journal of Obesity — concluded that dairy products facilitate weight loss when theyre part of a calorie-controlled diet. A report published in 2013 in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” stated that overweight individuals who ate more calcium-rich dairy products on a low-calorie diet lost the same amount of weight as those who didn’t eat as much dairy, but they reported feeling more satiated and ultimately consumed less dietary fat.
Cheesy Do’s And Don’ts
Do remember that cheese is fairly high in sodium. This can make you retain water, which will make those numbers on your scale stop getting lower. Limit your cheese intake to a few times per week and try eating something low-calorie and loaded with potassium along with it.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you buy reduced-fat cheddar cheese, you can pile it on. Even reduced-fat cheeses are high in calories. They often do not have the same texture as full-fat cheeses and don’t melt as well, so you may have to experiment a bit to find the right type for you.
Do use your imagination when pairing your cheddar with other foods. Mild and medium cheddars are excellent served on apple slices. Granny Smith and Honeycrisps work best because they’re tart. Sharp cheddar can stand up to spiced nuts and chutneys, and all cheddars work wonderfully shredded into soups and omelettes or on top of salads and baked potatoes.
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Whats The Truth About Dairy Foods And Weight Loss
Its important to include some dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt in the diet as they are packed with essential nutrients that help to keep us healthy. As well as being good sources of protein, zinc and some B vitamins, dairy products are one of the main sources of calcium in the diet, a mineral that helps to build strong, healthy bones.
Calcium is important because the stronger the bones are, the less likely youll be to suffer from the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis, in later life a condition that according to the National Osteoporosis Society affects one woman in two and one man in five over the age of 50.
Its true that milk and cheese in the diet can make a significant contribution to calorie and fat intakes, but there are now plenty of low fat alternatives available, such as skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yogurts and reduced-fat cheeses.
A pint of low fat skimmed milk, for example, contains just 190 calories and 0.6g fat!
Switching to low-fat dairy products doesnt mean youll get less calcium either. In fact low fat milk actually contains slightly more calcium than full fat milk.
Better still, research shows that dairy products may actually help weight loss. Research reveals that children who drink milk are more likely to have a lower body mass than children who dont. Other studies have found that people who drink milk and eat dairy foods are likely to be slimmer than those who do not.
Cottage Cheese Will Help Prevent Cravings
Yet another of the underappreciated cottage cheese health benefits is the fact that it will also help to prevent cravings for unhealthy foods and drinks.
Cottage cheese is the ultimate diet food.
Way back in the 70s, it was THE staple diet food as virtually all diet plans included it and emphasized the importance of eating it.
There was a reason for this, and that reason is that cottage cheese can also help to prevent cravings for junk food.
When youre trying to diet and lose weight, the last thing you want is to be dreaming about pizza, burgers, cookies, and other unhealthy treats that you know you cant enjoy.
Cottage cheese is rich in casein protein, which is slow digesting.
This means it stays in your system for longer and keeps you feeling full for longer.
If youre feeling full, you wont want to eat junk because you wont be hungry.
This will help make it much easier for you to lose weight and stay on plan.
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Cherry Tomatoes With Mozzarella
Tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are a nutritious and yummy way to add more veggies to your diet.
Mix tomatoes with mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil for a snack with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
This tasty and fresh snack can also double as a side salad for your next meal.
Although they dont have much flavor, chia seeds take on a jelly-like consistency when soaked in liquid, making them a great ingredient for puddings.
Try this simple recipe for a healthy snack to enjoy at home or on the go:
What Are The Benefits Of Cheese For Weight Loss
Most varieties of cheese are rich in protein and healthy fats, which makes them filling. Adding a moderate amount of cheese can make your meal more satiating, which prevents overeating and snacking. This lowers your calorie intake.
The high calcium levels in cheese can also help you shed weight as calcium hinders fat production in your body by inhibiting an enzyme called Fatty Acid Synthase , which makes fatty acids.
If you are on a keto diet, cheese is an excellent addition to your meal plan due to its low carbohydrate and high fat content. Choose cheeses made of high-fat or whole milk if you are on a keto diet.
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How To Incorporate Cheese Into Your Diet In A Healthy Way
- Choose Low Fat Cheese: Low-fat cheese might not taste as rich as full-fat cheese, but you can eat it without feeling guilty. Cottage cheese has 0.72 grams of saturated fat per half-cup serving, whereas mozzarella cheese contains 5 grams of saturated fat in 1.5 ounces of serving. Hence, it is vital to choose your cheese wisely if you wish to reap the benefits of cheese whilst limiting the fat it contains.
- Switch your mayonnaise spread with cheese: Instead of putting mayonnaise on your sandwich, use cheese. One tbsp of mayonnaise contains 94 calories and 10 grams of fat, whereas low-fat cheese would have only 30 calories and two and a half grams of fat content.
- Use Feta cheese in your salads: Feta cheese is an excellent addition to your weight loss diet salads. It offers several health benefits and promotes good heart health. It also has a lower fat content making it a popular choice for cheese lovers who want to lose weight.
What Are The Risks Of Overconsumption Of Cheese For Weight Loss
- Since most cheeses are high in saturated fat, eating too much can cause weight gain.
- Most cheeses also have moderately high sodium and cholesterol content, raising your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases.
- Too much cheese or dairy is also associated with indigestion, constipation, and stomach issues, especially if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or lactose intolerance.
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Beef Jerky Or Beef Sticks
Beef jerky or beef sticks make excellent high protein, portable snacks. That said, depending on the brand and flavoring, some are higher in added sugar and sodium.
Look for jerky with as few added ingredients as possible. Although all jerky can be high in sodium, the flavored jerky tends to be higher in sodium, so check the nutrition facts panel to find an option without too much salt.
Look for jerky with less than 300 mg of sodium per serving, which accounts for 13% of the Daily Value of the mineral (
Cuts Your Heart Disease Risk
Some researchers think cheese might explain the so-called French Paradoxthat French people have low rates of heart disease despite their affinity for cheese and other saturated fatrich foods, such as butter and duck. Then there’s a 2016 report that analyzed results from 31 prospective cohort studies that compared how much dairy people ate to whether they developed cardiovascular disease. One major finding was that eating nearly 2 ounces of cheese daily was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of heart disease. Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition, the authors propose that minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium and vitamins like riboflavin and B12 may play a role. Another key finding: eating as little as 1/2 ounce of cheese a day could cut stroke risk by 13 percent.
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Can Eating Cheese Help You Lose Weight
While upping your cheese intake wont shift the scale on its own, some research suggests that eating more dairy products could be helpful as part of a broader weight-loss program. One recent review published in Nutrition Reviews etermined that as part of an energy-restricted diet, increased dairy consumption resulted in greater weight loss. The protein in dairy may partly explain why: A 2013 study found that higher protein intake may help preserve muscle mass as pounds come off. Protein also makes meals more satisfying.
At some point, you may have stumbled across an internet theory that the probiotics found in some cheeses can fire up metabolism and melt belly fat. Alas, that is a myth. Theres no evidence that anysingle food can target belly fat, explains Angela Goscilo, M.S., R.D., senior manager of nutrition at WW. Not to sound like a broken record, but the same strategies that promote healthy weight loss also support healthier levels of belly fat. If youre looking to build core strength, consider movements that target the abdominal muscles, like planks.
All this to say: You dont need to eat more dairy products to lose weight. The message here is that if you enjoy cheese, theres no need to stress that a slice of Swiss or a few cubes of feta will derail your efforts. Lasting weight loss is a result of sustainable lifestyle changes, including shifting to a healthy pattern of eating, getting regular physical activity, and prioritizing sleep.
Black Beans With Salsa
A good fit for:Pros:Cons:
Beans and legumes provide protein and fiber that can help you feel full.13 If your eating plan allows more carbs, try black beans and salsa for a high-fiber, plant-based snack with a bit of heat.
Its a snap to prepare: Simply take ¾ cup of canned black beans and mix with 2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa.
Black beans with salsaA good fit for:Pros:Cons:
Salmon is rich in protein and several vitamins and minerals. Like sardines and other oily fish, salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which some studies have credited with potential health benefits.14
Smoked salmon is cured in salt for several days, smoked at a low temperature, packaged, and sold ready to eat. It needs to be refrigerated, so choose canned salmon instead if you want a shelf-stable snack with the same nutritional profile.
Smoked salmonA good fit for:Pros:Cons:
Edamame is another name for green soybeans. Unlike most plant proteins, soy is considered to be a complete protein source because it provides all nine essential amino acids in the amounts your body needs.15
During dry roasting, edamame loses a lot of its water. The result is a crunchy snack thats more concentrated in protein than steamed edamame.
Dry-roasted edamame is usually seasoned with sea salt. If you prefer it spicy, go for a wasabi-flavored version.
Whole Wheat Toast With Canned Fish
Canned fish, such as canned salmon, sardines, and tuna, may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of snacks, but its a fantastic option that requires no refrigeration.
Plus, salmon and sardines are incredibly high in omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease your risk of heart disease, inflammation, and other health problems .
Topping a piece of whole wheat toast with canned fish will give you a highly nutritious snack that will leave you feeling full until your next meal. For something smaller, try a few whole grain crackers with tuna or salmon.
Edamame is a dish of steamed unripened soybeans that makes a great snack for anyone following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Its a fiber-rich food thats considered a complete, plant-based protein source .
One cup of edamame provides around 18 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbs, 8 of which come from fiber (
Lower Sodium Than Other Cheese
If you are trying to reduce your intake of sodium, mozzarella might be the way to go. Compared to the same serving size of feta and parmesan, mozzarella has nearly 50 percent less sodium, with 175 milligrams of sodium per serving. This is roughly eight percent of the daily recommended intake of 2,300 milligrams or less.
Sodium is vital for muscles and nerves to function properly, and is an electrolyte important for keeping fluids in balance. Because sodium is present in many foods, choosing foods with lower amounts of sodium could prevent over consuming it. Too much sodium can lead to water retention and high blood pressure, heart and kidney diseases in the long run.
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Can You Eat Cheese And Still Lose Weight
From bubbling mozzarella on a fresh pizza pie to nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on your movie-night popcorn, nothing quite compares to cheese. But if you’ve recently started your weight-loss journey, you might be wondering if you need to cut out the creamy, crumbly, gooey delights of cheese. Wonder no longer.
Not only is cheese delicious it can also totally work in a healthy pattern of eatingeven the full-fat kind and even when youre following a weight-loss program, assures Caroline Passerrello, M.S., RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. While specifics vary by type , cheese, in general, delivers key nutrients, including phosphorus and vitamins A and D, she says. And many varieties are good or excellent sources of calcium and protein, the latter being an important factor for satiety.
Unless you have a milk allergy and/or are lactose-intolerant, theres really no health reason to ban cheese from your diet, Passerrello says. If you are in one of those groups, nondairy cheese might be something to consider. Otherwise, its totally fine to enjoy cheese!
Cheese Can Help Prevent Common Cancers
Theres no doubt about it: cancer runs rampant throughout our population. Colorectal cancer is amongst the most common in the world, affecting the colon and digestive tract. Many complications come along with colorectal cancer, including abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, rectal bleeding, and, if undiagnosed, can lead to death in the long-run .
While many studies have shown mixed results when it comes to dairy consumption and cancer risk, there has been some evidence that shows milk and cheese can prevent some common cancers, such as colorectal and bladder. There are many factors to consider when it comes to diet and cancer prevention. When it comes to cheese and other dairy products, it is believed that the calcium, vitamin D, and lactic acid can potentially protect you from these cancers ” rel=”nofollow”> 22).
Bottom Line: The calcium content in cheese can potentially help prevent common cancers, like colorectal.
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