Today, the majority of dairy production comes from cow’s milk, increasing by 50% over the last 40 years. While the percentage of milk consumption in liquid form has decreased, the popularity of cheese has been on the rise, with each person eating an average of 34 pounds a year. However, not all cheeses are created equal. Most cheeses get a bad rap. We hear about how it is unhealthy, negatively contributing to our waistline and increasing the number on the scale. While all cheeses should be eaten in moderation, there are some that are a good addition to your shopping list, including Swiss,Feta, Part-Skim Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Cottage Cheese. These are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals, and can help you avoid common health issues.
1. Cheese Can Prevent Osteoporosis
Our parents always instructed us to drink our milk as children, telling us that the calcium and vitamin D would help us to build strong bones. The truth is our bone mass continues to grow throughout childhood and adolescence, reaching its peak density around age 30. From there, the aging process begins to thin our bones over time. It is easy to see that the greater your bone density is at this point, the less effect aging will have on your skeletal integrity. Unfortunately, inadequate bone mass can contribute to the development of osteoporosis later in life. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by fragile, porous bones, and it affects over 10 million Americans, 80% of which are women. It is the leading cause of fractures, with 1.5 million estimated each year (particularly in the wrist, hip, or vertebrae). The cause can be attributed to low consumption or poor absorption of calcium, which causes the bones to slowly break down
2. Cheese Can Have A Positive Effect On Your Dental Health
A study done by dental professionals showed that eating cheese might help to prevent dental cavities. Four groups were tested, consuming milk, sugar-free yogurt, paraffin, and cheese, and the pH balance in various areas of their mouths were tested before and after consumption. A pH level lower than 5.5 can leave your teeth at risk for erosion due to acids created in your mouth. While the groups who drank milk, and ate paraffin and sugar-free yogurt showed no significant change, the group who ate cheese experienced an increase in pH levels.
3. Cheese Consumption Can Help You Gain Weight In A Healthy Way
To most people, the idea of gaining weight is not something to be looked at favorably. For some, weight gain is a necessity for various reasons. Actors and athletes may need to bulk up for an upcoming role or game season, or a child may be underweight for their age, according to their pediatrician. For those looking to gain weight, there is a right and a wrong way to do so. You do not want to put your health at risk by choosing the wrong foods. With its fat and protein content, plus the various vitamins and minerals it contains, cheese is a great choice for gaining weight in a healthy manner. You do need to be careful about how much cheese you eat, as it can take you too far to the opposite extreme on the weight chart.
4. Cheese Is An Excellent Source Of Protein
Responsible for the formation, regulation, repair, and protection of the body, protein is a necessity in our diets, giving you a strong immune system, healthy hair, and proper fluid balance in your body. Without proper protein intake, you are at risk for fluid retention and shrinkage of muscular tissue. Your body does not store protein. Because of this, your daily food consumption should contain adequate amounts of protein. About 2-3 servings of protein-rich foods (such as meat and dairy) per day is adequate for most adults to meet the requirement. While most cheeses are an excellent source of protein, low moisture-content cheeses are your best choice. If you are looking for the best cheesy source of protein, Parmesan is the one for you.
5. Cheese Is High In Vitamin B12
Vitamin B-12 (also known as Cobalamin) is the largest and most complex vitamin discovered to this day. It aids in the production of red blood cells, protein, and DNA, as well as promotes many mental health functions. Vitamin B-12 anemia, or pernicious anemia, is the result of a deficiency which can lead to lethargy, muscles weakness, and, in long-term, severe cases, neurological damage. This essential vitamin can only be found, naturally, in animal products, or synthetically in supplements. It can be consumed in large doses with no ill side-effects. The excess merely gets stored away in the body until it is needed, and can be stored up to a year.
6. Cheese Can Reverse Hypertension By Lowering Blood Pressure
There have been links found between a diet that contains dairy and lower blood pressure. It is believed that the increased calcium intake is what is ultimately responsible. There was a study done in which two groups, one who ate only fruits and vegetables and the other included low-fat dairy products, were tested. It was found that the group that included dairy showed overall decreased blood pressure. Those with hypertension may find that their systolic blood pressure lowered by 2-4 mmHg by including certain cheeses in their diet. However, you do still need to be aware of your sodium intake, not exceeding 1,500 mg per day.
7. Cheese Can Help Prevent Common Cancers
There’s 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.
8. Cheese Helps You Build Muscle
We all know how difficult it can be to lose weight, but for some people, it can be just as hard to put on muscle. Adding certain foods to your diet, however, can help you gain weight and bulk up. Cheese can effectively help you build muscle, due to its fat and protein content. Cottage cheese is easily the cheapest addition to your diet that can help you build muscle. Per serving (about 4 ounces), you get 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat (in regular cottage cheese, not low- or no-fat), and 4 grams of carbs. It is a popular choice amongst many athletes and body builders, as the whey and casein protein keeps their muscles lean and aids in post-workout recovery.
9. Cheese Is Good For Your Thyroid Health
Your thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, is probably not something you think about often, but it should receive special attention when it comes to your health. The hormones it produces regulate nearly all of the body’s metabolic functions. Too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) production of these hormones can set your body off balance. A thyroid disorder can have a vast array of symptoms. These include weight gain, fatigue, and infertility with hypothyroidism, and anxiety, insomnia, and rapid weight loss with hyperthyroidism. Both are cause for concern, and can lead to more serious problems in the future.