If you’re a cheese fan like me, you’re probably consuming cheese on a regular basis with a side of guilt. After all, cheese has a bad rap for its high saturated fat content, which is considered bad for heart health. Good news cheese lovers, research is starting to suggest the issue may be more complex than previously thought. One study from 2018 showed dairy fats such as cheese had a neutral-to-positive effect on the heart. Another study found dairy products such as cheese were linked to a lower mortality risk. Recent studies have also highlighted the beneficial nutrients of cheese including; calcium for bone and teeth health; zinc for wound-healing and immunity; vitamin A for eye and skin health, and more! Although no health guidelines exist for cheese due the variety, milk sources, production styles and individual nutritional profiles, there are considerations for making cheese a part of a healthy diet.
Fresh cheese (e.g. fresh mozzarella, feta, cottage) tends to be the leanest in fats and cholesterol.
Hard cheese (e.g. parmesan, cheddar, Swiss) tends to be lower in lactose and higher in important vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin A.
Softer cheese (e.g. Camembert, brie) and processed cheese (e.g. singles, liquid) fall into the less healthy category due to higher saturated fat content and should be consumed less frequently or avoided altogether.
High quality, small portions and moderate consumption can also help you enjoy cheese as part of a healthy diet.