Cheese is often associated with rich and greasy foods that are loaded with calories and fat. However, you do not have to cut cheese out of your diet just because you are trying to eat healthy. The reality is that cheese can actually be a very useful addition to a balanced diet. The right types of cheese contain plenty of healthy proteins and other beneficial ingredients. These healthy cheese options provide taste and nutrition when you are trying to eat well.
Since this cheese is aged for a while, its flavor is very concentrated. This allows you to use less cheese in a recipe while still getting the same delicious taste. Another benefit of the extra long aging process is that this cheese is very low in lactose. Lactose is a type of milk sugar that can be very difficult to digest, so some people may end up with a lot of gastrointestinal upset if they eat too much lactose. Aged cheddar is also fairly low in fat, so one ounce just has 80 calories. At 5 grams of protein per ounce and zero carbs, aged cheddar can help to add more protein to your diet.
This type of cheese has an unusually soft texture because it is a fresh cheese curd instead of an aged and pressed cheese. The fact that whey remains in the final product ensures that there is plenty of protein in this type of cheese. Cottage cheese is a favorite of bodybuilders because it has 15 grams of protein in just one half cup serving. In addition to being high in protein, it is also very low in sodium and salt. A serving only has 120 calories, and 5 grams of fat. This type of cheese can be mixed with fruit and granola to make a sweet treat, or it can be seasoned with salt and pepper as a savory snack. The soft texture makes it easy to include in dips and casseroles.
Ricotta is a very soft Italian cheese with a mild flavor. Most people just use it for lasagna, but this cheese is so healthy that you should find other ways to add it to your diet. A half cup of ricotta has 17 grams of protein, which is over a quarter of the recommended daily amount of protein. It also has very high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B, and magnesium. A nice thing about ricotta is that it has all of these benefits without having many downsides. A serving just has 210 calories and 103 milligrams of sodium. Those who are concerned with their waistline can easily find ricottas made from skim milk that have less fat. Unlike most soft cheeses, ricotta uses pasteurized milk. This ensures that it is even safe for pregnant women, the elderly, or other immunocompromised people to eat.
Fans of the Mediterranean diet frequently eat this healthy cheese because it is high in flavor and protein without containing a lot of calories. One ounce has enough taste to flavor an entire salad when you crumble it into small pieces. This amount of cheese just has 74 calories while also having 4 grams of protein. Feta cheese can be made from either cow or sheep's milk. The sheep's milk options are even healthier because they contain extra calcium and are easier to digest. Feta is very versatile. It can be tasty with fruits like watermelon, or you can mix it into stuffings and salads.
Paneer is a type of soft Indian cheese that is slowly becoming more popular in the west due to its healthy properties. This fresh cheese has a very light flavor, similar to ricotta or fresh mozzarella, but it is firm enough to hold its shape when used in cooked dishes. One ounce of paneer only has 80 calories, but it has 18 grams of protein. This makes the cheese a great source of low calorie protein.
Parmesan cheese contains healthy bacteria without having any lactose, so it is a great cheese for improving gut health. Unlike some other forms of cheese, Parmesan actually has a decent amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb the calcium found in dairy, so it ensures that you can actually get the bone-strengthening effects of the calcium you ingest when eating Parmesan. This cheese has a very strong, nutty flavor, so just a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan can be enough to satisfy your cheese cravings. The strong flavor lets you enjoy cheese without eating excessive amounts of calories.
This type of cheese is just called "Swiss" in the United States, but it is technically Emmental cheese, a type of hard cheese made in western Switzerland. The holes in Swiss cheese can actually be a good thing for those trying to lose weight since an average slice of Swiss will weigh less and contain less calories than a slice of cheese without holes. The aging process used for Swiss cheese also contributes to its health. It results in concentrated of phosphorus levels that are much higher than the levels found in soft cheese. Phosphorus helps the body to turn protein into healthy cells in the bones and muscles.
Pecorino Romano is a great source of conjugated linoleic acid. This is a form of essential fatty acid that helps the body to build strong cells. It has been linked to lower levels of cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and obesity. Just be careful when buying this cheese to make sure that it says "Pecorino Romano" and was produced in Sardinia, Lazio, or Grosseto. This ensures that the cheese is the most authentic version of Romano instead of being one of the American made knockoffs. Italian Romano is healthier because it is made from sheep's milk instead of cow's milk. Sheep's milk has extra calcium, so this healthy cheese can help you to build stronger bones and teeth.