Cheese: the nutritional facts reveal many positive health qualities, such as its calcium and protein content. On the flip side, cheese can be very fattening and difficult to digest. This article will dissect the nutritional value of cheese to determine its positive and negative health aspects.
The Health Benefits of Cheese
Cheese is very nutritious, as it contains a variety of vitamins such as:
- vitamin A
- vitamin B12
Benefits of cheese include the following:
The high calcium and vitamin B12 content in cheese helps to develop strong bones and cartilage, which is particularly important for children, pregnant women and the elderly. The vitamin B that is contained within cheese actually helps the body absorb and distribute the calcium that cheese provides.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Preventing osteoporosis is an extension of the bone health that cheese helps to promote. Osteoporosis occurs when there is a deficiency of calcium in the bone structure, or a lack of absorption of calcium. As a result, bone density decreases, leaving a person vulnerable to breaking bones much more easily.
Those affected more frequently with osteoporosis are the elderly, women going through menopause, and those who suffer from malnutrition. A protein and calcium-rich diet can help to offset this condition. Cheese contains high levels of protein and calcium, which can be incorporated into the diet to help combat osteoporosis.
Teeth depend on proper nutrition to remain strong. One of the most important nutritional substances that teeth depend on for proper growth and health is calcium. Since cheese is highly abundant with calcium, it can have great benefits in keeping teeth strong.
High Protein Content
Cheese has high levels of quality protein, which contains all the essential amino acids that the body requires. This makes cheese a complete protein that does not need to be supplemented or combined with any other food to get all the essential amino acids that the body requires. The protein contained in cheese helps to build muscle tissue.
The Negative Health Aspects of Cheese
Cheese may also have negative side-effects, especially if consumed in excess:
High in Fat
Cheese is a very calorie-dense food product which is subsequently high in fat. This can contribute to weight gain if cheese is eaten in large quantities. As such, only small quantities of cheese should be consumed at one time in order to limit the amount of calories consumed, especially while trying to lose weight.
High in Sodium
Cheese tends to be high in sodium - or salt - which help make it taste good. High levels of sodium in a person's diet has been linked to hypertension, heart disease, edema and kidney stones. It is important to limit the amount of cheese consumed, or else choose the low-sodium options that are available on the market.
Difficult to Digest
Many cheeses are made from cow's milk, which many people have a problem digesting. This is because the enzymes that aid in digestion of dairy products are destroyed during the pasteurization process. For example, lactase is an enzyme that helps break down lactose, which is a sugar found in dairy products such as cheese. Many people are lactose intolerant, which is the inability to metabolize lactose. If a person's digestive system is lactase deficient, lactose becomes difficult to digest since the cheese lacks this same enzyme due to the pasteurization process.
Cheese can be very nutritious, but it needs to be consumed in modest quantities in order to limit its possible negative aspects on a person's overall health.