Happy National Cheese Day!
June 4th, 2018 is National Cheese Day! We will take this opportunity to discuss the health benefits of cheese!
How Are Cheeses Made?
The first step in the process is milk, which can come from several different animals, including cows and goats. Cheesemakers make sure the quality and purity of milk is intact; then, it is standardized. This means they could add more fat, cream or protein in order to make a consistent milk base. The milk is then pasteurized to eliminate bacteria. After removing the harmful bacteria, cheesemakers add good bacteria, or cultures, which ferments the lactose into lactic acid. The type of cultures used determine the flavor of the cheese at this point. The next step is to add rennet and sometimes color. Rennet is required to separate the whey (the liquid) from the curds (the solids). Cheesemakers cut the cheese in order to release the whey. Drier cheeses are cut more, to release more whey, while curds cut less become moister cheeses.
What Does Cheese Have to Offer?
Cheese provides calcium and protein, just as all dairy does. Furthermore, it provides us with necessary minerals, such as zinc and phosphorus. It may also help in cavity prevention! A study in Turkey found that participants who ate a small amount of cheese after swishing a sugar solution had less acidity, which is the cause of tooth decay. Cheese also increases saliva production and pH levels, as well as helping add back minerals your teeth may have lost. There have been studies that cheese can actually lower the chances of developing heart disease and suffering a stroke. It contains probiotics, which lower inflammation. Some research has shown consumption may even help boost your metabolism, thanks to a substance called butyrate, which is found in several cheeses. Butyrate can also nourish your colon cells and decrease your risk for colon cancer. Blue, Gruyere, Gouda, and Parmesan all contain high amounts.
Only in Moderation
Cheeses are typically high in saturated fat and calorie count, which means too much can actually negatively impact your health. Nutritionists recommend about 40 grams a day to reap the benefits. Be wary of anything marked ‘cheese product’. This means it contains less than 51% of actual cheese. Cream cheese typically contains added, less healthy ingredients, such as aspartame. Cottage cheese is lower in sodium, but still offers the protein boost. While higher in fat, Parmesans and blue cheeses are pungent, so a little goes a long way.
Happy National Cheese Day!
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