Properties and benefits of cheese

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benefits of cheese
benefits of cheese

The properties and benefits of cheese, especially fresh cheese, have been endorsed for decades by health professionals . It is true that, due to their intense flavor, semi-cured or cured cheeses are often more appreciated; but with them we must take into account some things.

Some semi-cured and cured cheeses have a high concentration of protein, saturated fat and salt. This means that they are not recommended for people with hypertension, cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases or overweight.

In this type of diet, we can perfectly include dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese or fresh cheese. They can also be accompanied by foods as nutritious as tomato or avocado . But before moving on… Do you really know what cheese is? We tell you.

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What is cheese?

Cheese is a dairy derivative that is obtained from curdled milk, to which a maturation process is usually applied . But the first step is always to curdle the milk.

Substances such as rennet (initially obtained from the stomach of animals) are used to curdle it, which is characterized by having enzymes that allow us to separate the solid part of the milk from the liquid whey.

Currently there are thermal processes to achieve this effect, but there are also microbial or plant-based rennet substitutes. Once the milk has curdled, it is pressed to remove the whey. And although there it loses part of its vitamins and minerals, it maintains, for example, most of its calcium.

Salt is initially added to improve the preservation of the cheese . But it is true that in the maturation processes, more is usually added to intensify its flavor. During the maturing process, the cheese acquires new flavor and smell properties, which will give it a unique character. But what is maturing?

The benefits of cheese depend on its raw material

Well, it is a process that lasts from a few weeks, in the case of soft cheeses, to more than 9 months, in the case of aged cheeses. In the middle are the semi-cured, cured and old cheeses.

In this process, which is currently usually carried out in chambers with temperature and humidity control, the cheese loses more water; so it will be more consistent. On the other hand, at that time new bacterial fermentation processes take place that will also transform the properties of the cheese.

benefits of cheese

The benefits of cheese are many, since it concentrates almost all the nutrients of milk. It is therefore a very complete food, in which its phosphorus and calcium content stands out, both of which are two well-known minerals.

Match

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, and it is very important for the kidneys, bones and teeth, as is calcium.

Calcium

Calcium also plays a very significant role in muscle function and in sending signals to the nervous system. So you can already imagine that it is of vital importance.

In fact, calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and its shortage is linked to the development of osteoporosis. If it is very acute and leads to hypocalcaemia in the blood, it can also lead to physical and mental fatigue, cramps, brittle nails and hair…

They give you more details in this article about calcium from the prestigious medical guide, MSD Manual, the most important internationally. You will see here that the lack of calcium can be very dangerous.

protein content

Cheese also offers the advantage of being a food with a high protein content. What is especially interesting during stages such as childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and also in people with high physical activity.

This is complete protein, unlike most plant-based proteins. By this we mean that it has all the types of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) that our tissues need.

The percentage of protein will depend a lot on the type of cheese. But in cheeses with a longer maturation process, the so-called aged cheeses, it can exceed 25 grams per 100 grams of product. More than many meats and fish.

In any case, we remind you that these cheeses concentrate a lot of salt and fat, so they are usually recommended to be consumed in small portions, only about 20 grams.

Vitamin A and D

Finally, we cannot fail to mention among the benefits of cheese that it is a good source of vitamins A and D. Both fat-soluble vitamins, very important for our body. The two coincide in being transcendental for our immune system, but for its part, vitamin A is also important for the digestive mucosa and eyesight.

Vitamin D, however, is very important for bones, muscles, the brain and even reduces the severity of some tumors, as indicated in this meta-analysis on vitamin D, Harvard University

Properties of fresh cheese

Fresh cheese is the most recommended of all, and although there are different varieties, all are characterized by being much less fatty and salty than the cured ones. With only these two properties of fresh cheese, in a sedentary society with many cardiovascular problems… they already make it the most recommended option.

It is also true that fresh cheeses contain less protein, calcium and vitamins A and D, but they still have very interesting percentages, suitable for the vast majority of the population.

Calcium, vitamin A and D, tend to be scarce in our diet, so fresh cheeses are a great ally to achieve adequate levels.

For example, a Burgos-type fresh cheese usually has around 15 g of protein per 100 g, while some Mozzarela-type fresh cheeses can exceed 25 g. Especially when it comes to mozzarella made according to the Italian designation of origin, with buffalo milk.

Depending on the manufacturing process and the type of milk originally used: cow, goat, sheep, mixtures… the properties of the fresh cheese will vary. Some well-known types of fresh cheese, in addition to Burgos and Mozzarela, are Quark cheese from Germany, Cottage from England or Feta in Greece.

The properties of fresh cheese exceed those of other varieties

Goat cheese properties

Goat milk cheeses seem to have become fashionable, and it is not surprising because their properties and flavor are wonderful . As I do not want to leave any in the pipeline, I list them all below:

  1. More intense flavor : which makes fresh goat cheese a more appreciated option than cow cheese.
  2. Higher percentage of protein : This nutrient gives us satiety, increases our metabolic rate and regenerates our tissues, therefore we should not neglect it at any time.
  3. More calcium: yes, among the properties of goat cheese is to present more calcium than cow’s milk. Great news especially for children, pregnant women and women who have entered menopause, due to the ability of this nutrient to prevent osteoporosis.
  4. With prebiotic substances : goat milk has beneficial molecules for our intestinal microbiota, known as galacto-oligosaccharides. These prebiotics are maintained in some varieties, especially fresh ones. Yet another property of fresh cheeses!
  5. More digestive : both because of its type of protein and its type of fat, and that because of its more intense flavor, many think that it is stronger, but it is not!
  6. Better quality of fat : the fat in goat’s milk does not seem to increase cholesterol or cardiovascular risk, unlike that in cow’s milk. It may be surprising, but their types of fat are different.
  7. With less lactose , which is why some people with intolerance to this milk sugar tolerate it better.

Did you know all these benefits? We hope we have helped you learn more about cheese and select the ones that can best help your health. You see that they have many advantages! And if it has been so, do not stop sharing this article, help us spread health.