Cheese Can Have a Positive Effect on Your Dental Health
A study done by dental professionals showed that eating cheese might help to prevent dental cavities. Four groups were tested, consuming milk, sugar-free yogurt, paraffin, and cheese, and the pH balance in various areas of their mouths were tested before and after consumption. A pH level lower than 5.5 can leave your teeth at risk for erosion due to acids created in your mouth. While the groups who drank milk, and ate paraffin and sugar-free yogurt showed no significant change, the group who ate cheese experienced an increase in pH levels (5).
The findings may be the result of increased saliva production, due to chewing, which protects teeth from erosion. It could also be that certain components of the cheese adhered to the teeth, protecting them from acid. Either way, your teeth are made up of the same substances as your bones. Just as cheese is beneficial for your bone health, it can also have positive effects on your dental health.
Bottom Line: Cheese can keep your teeth strong and prevent expensive dental work that results from decay.
Cheese Consumption Can Help You Gain Weight in a Healthy Way
To most people, the idea of gaining weight is not something to be looked at favorably. For some, weight gain is a necessity for various reasons. Actors and athletes may need to bulk up for an upcoming role or game season, or a child may be underweight for their age, according to their pediatrician.
For those looking to gain weight, there is a right and a wrong way to do so. You do not want to put your health at risk by choosing the wrong foods. With its fat and protein content, plus the various vitamins and minerals it contains, cheese is a great choice for gaining weight in a healthy manner (6).
You do need to be careful about how much cheese you eat, as it can take you too far to the opposite extreme on the weight chart. It is a very energy-dense food, containing a lot of calories per gram. Common cheeses, like goat, gouda, and parmesan, contain over 100 calories per gram. Eating a diet mainly consisting of foods high in energy density can lead to obesity. Try to balance your cheese intake with low energy-dense foods, like fruits and vegetables (7).
Bottom Line: If your doctor has said that you or your child needs to gain weight, cheese can be a healthy way to achieve this.
Cheese is the Best Dietary Source for Calcium
The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium is a necessity for life. It regulates vascular function, nerve transmission, muscle function, and hormone secretion. While only 1% of the calcium in the body is necessary for these functions, the other 99% is stored in the bones.
Your bones go through constant remodeling throughout your life. The balance between breakdown and formation changes over time, with the formation greatly outweighing breakdown in childhood, vice versa in older adults, and a balance between the two in adolescence and early adulthood (8).
Our bodies cannot create new calcium, and we lose calcium every day through our dead skin cells, nails and hair, sweat, and excrement. It is important to get your recommended daily calcium (roughly 1,000 mg for the average adult (9)), as the calcium we do not receive through our food is then taken from our bones, leaving them prone to breaking down and vulnerable to fractures (10).
Bottom Line: Cheese is the best way, without supplementation, to receive your recommended daily intake of calcium.
Cheese is an Excellent Source of Protein
Responsible for the formation, regulation, repair, and protection of the body, protein is a necessity in our diets, giving you a strong immune system, healthy hair, and proper fluid balance in your body. Without proper protein intake, you are at risk for fluid retention and shrinkage of muscular tissue.
Your body does not store protein. Because of this, your daily food consumption should contain adequate amounts of protein. About 2-3 servings of protein-rich foods (such as meat and dairy) per day is adequate for most adults to meet the requirement (11).
While most cheeses are an excellent source of protein, low moisture-content cheeses are your best choice. If you are looking for the best cheesy source of protein, Parmesan is the one for you. It is the highest protein-content cheese, with 10 grams per ounce. Stay away from “wet” cheeses, like cottage, ricotta, and other cheese spreads if you are looking for protein content. These are very low in protein and high in fat (12).
Bottom Line: Cheese can help you receive your daily amounts of protein, giving you leaner muscle and healthier skin and hair.
Cheese is High in Vitamin B12
Vitamin B-12 (also known as Cobalamin) is the largest and most complex vitamin discovered to this day. It aids in the production of red blood cells, protein, and DNA, as well as promotes many mental health functions. Vitamin B-12 anemia, or pernicious anemia, is the result of a deficiency which can lead to lethargy, muscles weakness, and, in long-term, severe cases, neurological damage (13).
This essential vitamin can only be found, naturally, in animal products, or synthetically in supplements. It can be consumed in large doses with no ill side-effects. The excess merely gets stored away in the body until it is needed, and can be stored up to a year (14).
Many cheeses provide an excellent source of natural vitamin B-12. Amongst all cheeses, Swiss has been found to have the highest B-12 content, with 0.95 micrograms per ounce. That’s about 39% of your recommended daily intake. Even the cheeses with the lowest content, cheddar and Monterey, still offer 10% of your B-12 requirement in one ounce (15).
Bottom Line: Choosing cheeses, like Swiss, can energize you and keep your nervous system healthy through vitamin B-12.
Cheese Can Reverse Hypertension by Lowering Blood Pressure
There have been links found between a diet that contains dairy and lower blood pressure. It is believed that the increased calcium intake is what is ultimately responsible. There was a study done in which two groups, one who ate only fruits and vegetables and the other included low-fat dairy products, were tested. It was found that the group that included dairy showed overall decreased blood pressure.
Those with hypertension may find that their systolic blood pressure lowered by 2-4 mmHg by including certain cheeses in their diet (16). However, you do still need to be aware of your sodium intake, not exceeding 1,500 mg per day. Choose low-sodium cheeses by checking the packaging labels. Balancing your diet with foods high in potassium can help to reduce your sodium level as well (17). So, why not top that potato with some cheddar?
Bottom Line: Pairing low-sodium cheeses with potassium-rich foods can lower your blood pressure and reverse hypertension.
Cheese Provides the Essential Fat, CLA
Conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, is a complex compound that does not get enough credit. With the trend of low-fat, no-fat diets, the intake of CLA amongst most Americans is very low. It is an essential, “healthy” fat that is commonly found in dairy and meat, primarily from grass-fed cows, sheep, and goats (18).
With the help of CLA, you can experience a loss of body fat and build lean muscle. It also plays a vital role in supporting the immune and inflammatory systems, improving bone mass, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing your risk of heart disease.
Cheese made from milk from grass-fed cows tends to be high in CLA’s. The amount of CLA in these cheeses tend to increase with the amount of fresh grass eaten. Therefore, when cows have access year-round to fresh grass, you can have as much as 30 mg of CLA per ounce of cheese produced (19).
Bottom Line: Grass-fed cheeses are rich in CLA, which can regulate your blood sugar and reduce your risk of heart failure.
Cheese Can Help Prevent Common Cancers
There’s no doubt about it: cancer runs rampant throughout our population. Colorectal cancer is amongst the most common in the world, affecting the colon and digestive tract. Many complications come along with colorectal cancer, including abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, rectal bleeding, and, if undiagnosed, can lead to death in the long-run (20).
While many studies have shown mixed results when it comes to dairy consumption and cancer risk, there has been some evidence that shows milk and cheese can prevent some common cancers, such as colorectal and bladder. There are many factors to consider when it comes to diet and cancer prevention. When it comes to cheese and other dairy products, it is believed that the calcium, vitamin D, and lactic acid can potentially protect you from these cancers (21, 22).
Bottom Line: The calcium content in cheese can potentially help prevent common cancers, like colorectal.
Cheese is Plentiful in Healthy Fats
Once upon a time, we were told that fat was evil, causing us to be obese and clogging up our precious arteries. Thus, the low-fat, no-fat diets began to roll out, resulting in a population that was overweight and very sick.
Now we know that fats are essential to a healthy diet. They help to keep you full, so you eat less, and are necessary to help your body absorb certain vitamins. It is still only recommended that 10% or less of your daily calories should come from fat, and you should be selective with where your fats come from and what type of fats you choose.
Unsaturated fats are the best for you. These are typically found in nuts and fish. Saturated fats can also be good, but in moderation. These are often solid at room temperature, and are found in animal products, like meat, butter, and cheese, and certain oils, like coconut and palm. Trans fats should be avoided altogether, being undeniably the worst fat for your heart and found in fried foods and packaged snacks.
Cheese, in moderation, can help you get these necessary fats into your diet. Try choosing aged cheeses, like parmesan, and using it as a garnish to salads. The fats in the cheese will help keep you full and help your body absorb the vitamins in your vegetables (23).
Bottom Line: We now know that fats are essential in our diets, and cheese is a good source of healthy dietary fats.
Cheese Helps You Build Muscle
We all know how difficult it can be to lose weight, but for some people, it can be just as hard to put on muscle. Adding certain foods to your diet, however, can help you gain weight and bulk up. Cheese can effectively help you build muscle, due to its fat and protein content (27).
Cottage cheese is easily the cheapest addition to your diet that can help you build muscle. Per serving (about 4 ounces), you get 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat (in regular cottage cheese, not low- or no-fat), and 4 grams of carbs. It is a popular choice amongst many athletes and body builders, as the whey and casein protein keeps their muscles lean and aids in post-workout recovery (28).
Bottom Line: With the protein, fat, and carbs in cheese, you can gain weight and build muscle with ease.
Cheese Benefits the Immune System
Immunoesenescene is a disease that plagues the elderly, attacking their immune system, leading to its deterioration. It makes it harder for their bodies to fight cancerous cells and respond to immunizations and vaccines, leaving them more susceptible to cancer and infectious diseases.
Recent research, however, has shown that cheese, fortified with probiotic bacteria, can help boost the immune system and prevent immunosenescene. Probiotics are similar to the bacteria found in the human gut, where the majority of the immune system is located. Scientists, therefore, decided to target this area for their research.
A group of volunteers in a nursing home, between the ages of 72 and 103, were observed over a period of four weeks. One group was given a placebo cheese, and the other was given probiotic-rich gouda. At the end of the period, it was clear that natural and acquired immunity was improved in the group who ate the probiotic-fortified gouda (29, 30).
Bottom Line: Cheese, especially gouda, can improve the immune system by introducing gut-healthy probiotics to your body.
BDST: 1545 HRS, AUG 31, 2019