The health benefits of cheese include relief from hypertension, and osteoporosis. It also helps in maintaining bone health, gaining weight gain and dental care.
Since ages, Cheese has been a part and parcel of daily life in the Europe, the Americas, Australia and nearly all the countries of the world those have a cold climate, except certain countries in the Indian Subcontinent and Middle Eastern region. Although India and some of its neighboring countries has been using a slightly different form of cheese which is commonly known as “Cottage Cheese” or “Paneer”. Unlike the cheese, this Cottage Cheese is not fermented. During the last 10 years or so, cheese has become widely popular in India and neighboring countries with the Multi-National Companies like McDonald’s stepping-in in these countries with their mouth watering products like pizzas, burgers etc. which use a lot of cheese. In contrary to popular belief of fresh edibles being more nutritious, the fermented cheese is far more nutritious than its fresh counterpart.
The health benefits of cheese include the following:
- Dental Care: Cheese is very-very high in calcium content, the first and foremost thing you need for strong teeth. Moreover, it is very low in lactose content. The older the cheese, the lower is the lactose content. This also is beneficial for the teeth as any form of sugar (glucose, maltose or lactose) in food stuff harms teeth.
- Bone Health: Apart from having very high calcium content, cheese is also rich in vitamin-B, which is very good for children, women (particularly pregnant and lactating) and elderly people (well, for adults too), for formation and strengthening of bones and cartilages. The vitamin-B here aids proper absorption and distribution of calcium.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is mainly a deficiency disease which is caused due to deficiency of calcium (non-absorption) of calcium, resulting in fall in the bone density. This is particularly seen in women who undergone menopause, elderly people and children who suffer from malnutrition. This can be treated with a protein, calcium and vitamin rich diet (calcium alone will not help much, because the problem is with its absorption and utilization for bone formation). And these three are found in abundance in cheese. So, cheese can be ideal part of the diet of those suffering from osteoporosis.
- Hypertension: Sodium and cholesterol are the two elements mainly considered harmful in hypertension and hypertensive people are advised to avoid them. Here, cheese should be viewed critically. The fat content of the cheese depends very much on the quality of the milk viz. full fat or full cream, low fat or fat free. In general, high fat cheeses are more popular as they are tastier. But, keeping in view the public demand, low fat cheeses are also being introduced to the market. So, you need to be choosy while picking them. Then, the sodium! Although, the sodium content of cheeses varies according to the amount of salt added to the milk prior to cheese formation, still it is never that low to be recommended for hypertensive people, as salt is an inevitable part of cheese. So, in general, cheese cannot be recommended for hypertensive people. Although, a low sodium and low fat cheese is helpful in reducing Homocysteine, an agent which is often related with heart diseases, still, it does not make it recommendable for hypertensive people. Another thing in cheese that can help hypertensive people is the vitamin-B content.
- Weight Gain: Cheese is an excellent food for gaining weight. They are full of proteins, fats, calcium, vitamins and minerals. You have proteins for muscles, fats for fats, calcium for heavier and stronger bones and vitamins and minerals for better metabolism. You just need to eat a lot of them, do your exercises and sleep tight.
- Other Benefits: Cheese contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Sphingolipids which help prevent cancer. It contains a lot of vitamin-B which develops in it during fermentation. This vitamin-B is very good for maintaining many functions in the body and also for protection against diseases like Beriberi. It also enhances blood formation, strengthens liver, facilitates absorption of nutrients in the body etc.
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