Most of us enjoy a bit of cheese in our diets. Whether itís the lovely, gooey, melty mozzarella on our pizza, the humble cheddar on our toasted sandwich, the rich, stinky parmesan on top of our spaghetti, or the crumbly, salty feta on our salad.
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Cheese is a versatile and convenient food but often misunderstood. Used in moderation as part of a balanced diet, cheese has some surprising health benefits that make it a great addition to any meal.
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Cheese is high in calcium, which is essential for healthy bones but also for muscle and nerve function. We should be consuming between 40 and 60 grams of calcium a day. An ounce of cheese will give us 10 to 20 grams of that.
Cheese contains probiotics which are the good bacteria our body needs for a healthy gut.
Recent studies from the dental industry have shown that cheese is good for teeth and mouth health. Eating cheese can improve the pH levels in our mouth, which helps to protect against acid erosion from things like coffee and soda.
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While cheese is quite high in fat, studies have also found that saturated fats are not as harmful as once thought. Full fat cheeses are more filling and therefore can stave off hunger for longer. Cheese also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which actually aid in burning fat more efficiently in the body.
It's a great source of protein.
Vegetarians can safely eat rennet-free cheeses like cottage cheese and cream cheese. The good news is that more cheeses are now being manufactured with microbial enzymes which are a synthetic coagulant as opposed to rennet which is animal-based.
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Cheese contains nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
So donít be misled into thinking that cheese is not good for you. Itís a delicious additive to many meals and a convenient savoury snack, as opposed to junk food alternatives. Include some in your childís lunch box to help satisfy their hunger longer and promote a strong health body.