Are you a cheese lover? If you are, then you are in for a treat. The great thing about cheese is that not all types of cheese are bad for you. In fact, you can opt to eat the healthiest cheese out there, which is feta cheese.
Cheese can be added to many dishes to bring about a savory and delicious flavor. However, with the increasing popularity of processed dairy, many people tend to avoid it because it is often considered unhealthy, especially those who are adhering to a healthy dietary regimen.
It is important to note, however, that certain types of cheese are considered a healthier option. That said, feta cheese is regarded as the healthiest type of cheese.
Feta cheese is a nutrient-rich and flavorful cheese that is made from goat or sheep milk. It is easier to digest and contains fewer allergens compared to cheeses made from cow's milk. That said, feta cheese is the best cheese for those people who are sensitive to dairy products.
You should, however, avoid feta cheese that is made from pasteurized milk products. Also, since this type of cheese has high sodium and saturated fat content, it should be eaten in moderation and not on a daily basis.
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Nutrition Basics of Feta Cheese
The term feta cheese is derived from the Italian word ‘fetta’ meaning ‘slice.’ While there is a specific standard of feta cheese, it is still possible to find this type of cheese that is made from cow milk or buffalo milk.
Feta cheese is a soft brined cheesed that comes with few to no holes. It does not have any skin and has a tangy taste. The nutrition content will depend on the brand as well as the type of feta cheese that you have.
Traditional feta cheese, however, is made from pure sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk not exceeding 30% of the total milk content of the cheese. One serving of feta cheese, which is about 28 grams contains the following:
- A total of 74 calories
- 6 grams of fat
- 1.2 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of protein
- 1 gram of sugar
- 0.2 milligrams of vitamin B12 or riboflavin
- 140 grams of calcium
- 312 milligrams of sodium
- 94 milligrams of phosphorus
- 0.1 milligrams of vitamin B6
- 4.2 micrograms of selenium
Health Benefits You Can Get from Feta Cheese
Yes, feta cheese does have numerous health benefits. For this reason, many people are opting to include this type of cheese in their healthy dietary regimen.
So, what are its health benefits? Here are some of the good things that you can get out of eating feta cheese.
Supports Bone Health
Calcium in feta cheese is also useful for your bone health. Children and teens need calcium, as it increases their peak bone mass. When you have great peak bone mass, you are less at risk for osteoporosis and other conditions that are associated with loss of bone mass.
However, cow’s milk, while may contain calcium, is the worst source of calcium, as it can cause acidosis. Instead, you can opt for other high-calcium containing alternatives like feta cheese to get healthy sources of calcium without any side effects.
Protects Against Cancer
This benefit is perhaps the most intriguing benefit that feta cheese offers. Yes, feta cheese has cancer-protective benefits.
According to some studies, feta cheese is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium, in turn, when combined with vitamin D, helps protect the body from several types of cancer.
Also, this type of cheese contains alpha-lactalbumin, which is a protein that binds to zinc and calcium ions and has antitumor and antibacterial properties.
Keep Your Digestive Tract Healthy
Another benefit that you can get from eating feta cheese is that it contains probiotics that can keep your digestive tract healthy.
Probiotics are the bacteria that are found in your digestive tract. When you have less of these good bacteria, your body will become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, parasites, and other harmful organisms.
Immune System Booster
Feta cheese contains a protein called histidine, which is not only essential during infancy but also during adulthood.
Whenever this protein is combined with vitamin B6, which is also found in feta cheese, it will undergo a molecular process which converts it to histamine. This compound is an essential part of the inflammatory process, which is necessary for the immune system to fight various kinds of diseases.
When you eat foods like feta cheese in moderation in combination with a diet that is high in antioxidant-containing foods to prevent damage from excessive inflammation, you can boost your immune system allowing your body to fight any diseases readily.
Improves Eye Health
Yes, eating feta cheese can also help improve your eye health and prevent degenerative eye diseases. In fact, according to various studies, a diet comprising of foods rich in vitamin B12 like feta cheese can decrease the risk of degenerative eye diseases like glaucoma, keratoconus, and cataracts.
Keep Your Headaches and Migraines at Bay
Since feta cheese is an excellent source of riboflavin or vitamin B12, it can help keep your headaches and migraines at bay. In fact, according to experts, a diet that is rich in vitamin B12 can prevent the occurrence of headaches, including migraines and other types of chronic headaches.
A Natural Remedy for Anemia
Anemia is a condition of the blood characterized by decreased hemoglobin cells. These cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to different organs throughout the body. When your body is not able to get ample amounts of oxygen, it can become weak and fatigued.
This condition, however, can be naturally treated through eating and supplementing deficient nutrients like folic acid, iron, and vitamin B12. Feta cheese does contain vitamin B12 and small amounts of iron, which makes it a great addition to your diet if you want a natural remedy for anemia.
The Bottom Line
While being dubbed as the healthiest cheese out there, feta cheese is still cheese and has high sodium content. Despite its numerous health benefits, you should eat feta cheese sparingly.
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You can, however, incorporate it into your meals and eat this healthy cheese in moderation. You can sprinkle it in your pizza, salad, or try it out fresh.