Cheese is a dairy product that comes in hundreds of different textures and flavors.
It’s produced by adding acid or bacteria to milk from various farm animals, then aging or processing the solid parts of the milk.
While it's often maligned for being higher in saturated fat and sodium than other snacks or condiments, cheese is both delicious, filling, and nutritious — providing a slew of nutrients you need to feel fuller, longer, as well as giving key minerals you need for overall health.
Cheese packs in healthy nutrients, many of which you may not get enough of — like calcium and vitamin B12. But this isn't a license to gorge.
Some cheeses are healthier than others.
Here some of the healthiest types of cheese.
Cottage cheese is a soft, white cheese made from the loose curds of cow’s milk. It’s thought to have originated in the United States.
Cottage cheese tops the list because of its high protein content. In fact, half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese contains 14 grams of the muscle-building macro.
Cottage cheese also contain selenium, which is a key antioxidant that helps to reduce risk of chronic inflammation.
Mozzarella is a soft, white cheese with high moisture content. It originated in Italy and is usually made from Italian buffalo or cow’s milk.
It is known for its high calcium content, mozzarella contains 333 milligrams of calcium in a single 1.5-ounce serving, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This softer, less-aged cheese requires less salt than harder, aged cheeses, which makes it lower in sodium.
Mozzarella also contains bacteria that act as probiotics, including strains of Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum.
As the name suggests, Swiss cheese originated in Switzerland. It is one of the most popular fermented cheeses and has an unmistakable appearance. The fermentation process produces carbon dioxide, which causes the holes to form in Swiss cheese.
Since it is lower in sodium and fat than most other cheeses, Swiss cheese is often recommended for people with high blood pressure.
It is also higher in Vitamin B12 than most other cheeses, which is crucial for overall cell, muscle, and nerve function.
Ricotta cheese is a traditional Italian cheese that's sometimes called "whey cheese" because it's made of whey leftover from the cheese-making process.
Ricotta has a creamy texture and is often described as a lighter version of cottage cheese.
Whey protein is easily absorbed and may promote muscle growth, help lower blood pressure, and reduce high cholesterol levels. A1.5-ounce serving of part-skim ricotta cheese contains only about 42 milligrams of sodium.
Also referred to as Parmigiano-Reggiano,
This cheese is a hard, aged cheese that has a gritty texture and a salty, nutty flavor, made from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk that’s aged for at least 12 months to kill harmful bacteria and produce a complex flavor.
It is packed with nutrients, especially calcium and phosphorus, both of which are important for bone health.
promotes health is linked to reducing Also the aging process reduces lactose content which in turn reduces gastrointestinal symptoms and the risk of chronic diseases.
Goat cheese, also known as chèvre, is a tangy, soft cheese made from goat’s milk.
Goat cheese is often thought of as a healthier cheese because it has a slightly lower caloric content than cheese made from cow's milk. It’s naturally lower in lactose and contains A2 casein, which may be less likely to cause GI discomfort than the milk proteins found in cow’s milk.
Cheddar is a widely popular semi-hard cheese from England. Made from cow’s milk that has been matured for several months, it can be white, off-white, or yellow.
If you're lactose intolerant, cheddar may be one type of cheese you can enjoy, according to the, because it only contains between zero and two grams of lactose per serving.
In addition to being rich in protein and calcium, cheddar is a good source of vitamin K — especially.
Blue cheese is made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk that has been cured with cultures from the mold Penicillium.
It is typically white with blue or grey veins and spots. The mold used to create blue cheese gives it a distinctive odor and bold, tangy flavor.
While blue cheese tends to be higher in sodium, it provides more calcium than other options, which is a nutrient essential for optimal bone health.
Feta is a soft, salty, white cheese originally from Greece. It’s typically made from sheep’s or goat’s milk.
Since feta is packaged in brine to preserve freshness, it can be high in sodium. However, it is typically lower in calories than most other cheeses.
Lower-fat cheeses may help reduce the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
Most cheeses are a good source of protein and calcium, and some offer additional health benefits. In particular, certain cheeses may provide nutrients that promote gut health, aid weight loss, improve bone health, and decrease your risk of heart disease.
However, as some cheese can be high in sodium and/or fat, it’s still worth keeping an eye on your intake.