Why Eat Cheese

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Cheese is an ancient food that origins predate recorded history.Did the caveman eat cheese? Dairy did not even play a factor in the human diet until early Europeans began domesticating cattle for about 10,000 years ago, and cave man would not be aware of enjoying a piece of cheese in their diet.

Cheese is a dairy product prepared from pressed milk curds. There are un-ripened fresh cheeses and ripened old cheeses of more than 300 varieties.

Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium vitamin A, riboflavin, and B12 among others. Cheese contains additional nutrients like zinc and biotin. Zinc has several functions in the body: It aids in tissue growth and repair, prevents and treats macular degeneration, protects your skin, and helps keep your nails strong. Both zinc and biotin are also important for hair health.

The actual breakdown of macro-nutrients depends on the type. One ounce of cream cheese spread contains 84 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein. One ounce of cheddar cheese has 115 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrate and 7 grams of protein.

If you need calcium dairy products, cheese would be the best choice in terms of bioavailability. Calcium plays a primary role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth and is also important for blood clotting, wound healing and maintaining normal blood pressure.

Always try to pair calcium-rich foods with a source of vitamin D as vitamin D helps the small intestine to absorb calcium. Two ounces of many kinds of cheese can contain 40-50% of the daily calcium requirement. Cheeses are unfortunately very salty and may not be recommended to consume regularly by heart patients, hypertensive cases and other diseases where excessive salt is not recommended. New research from the Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) suggests that cheese is unnecessarily salty, with Britain's most popular cheese – cheddar – containing more salt than a packet of crisps per portion.

CASH say cheese is a big part of the UK diet, bought by over 98% of households and is the third biggest contributor of salt to the UK diet, after bread and bacon.

Katharine Jenner from the CASH group told today presenter Justin Webb that "we don't say at any point don't eat cheese… but we are asking cheese manufacturers to reduce salt in cheese by, say, 10%."
Dr Judith Bryans, director of the Dairy Council, explained that "salt is not added to cheese to add flavour… it is actually an integral part of the cheese making process."

People used salt to create cheese as early as 5,000 years ago when nomads in central Asia and the the Middle East discovered milk curdled by gastric juice enzymes within animal's stomachs. The nomads preserved the naturally soured and curdled milk by draining off the water whey and salting the concentrated curds – (Www.Food & Nutrition- Jacqueline Marcus)

Cheese contains saturated fats and was not recommended for those have high lipid levels especially for heart patients. New research however, is showing that saturated fat has a minimum impact on heart disease, and not a risk factor as much as the sugars.

However, read the labels and chose the healthiest choices, and they are lower in fat and sodium. Cheese has high calories and may not be recommended for those on restricted diets. To reduce you may grate or sprinkle harder cheeses over your dishes adding texture and flavour too.

Today, cheese is manufactured from cow and goat milk. It is a great source of protein and these proteins can slow down the process of absorption of carbohydrates eaten at the same time, preventing glucose spikes in your blood. Eating lasagna is a good example; diabetics can enjoy consuming with ease. People having Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Coeliac disease may not be able to digest cheese and may also trigger the conditions to activity. Some migraine suffers may trigger a bout with eating cheese.

Parmesan Cheese

This is a popular hard cheese used in salads and pastas and a favourite of TV cookery demonstrators. Because of its intense flavour only little is grated on the surface of the prepared dish. This hard cheese is high in sodium (salt) and those who are on low salt diets must eat sparingly.

Ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheese is a soft cheese and a good source of calcium and protein. Reduced fat ones are included as part of a healthy diet.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is popular in Sri Lanka and is available in certain super-markets. Those who suffer from heart disease and diabetes should eat sparingly. You could chose the fat free variety if it's available.

Cottage cheese

You could choose a low fat cottage cheese which forms a part of a healthy diet. Cottage cheese has vitamin B12, antioxidants and selenium and may prevent arthritis. The other cheeses not described in this article are: Goat cheese, Feta Cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Romano cheese and so on.

Is cheese fattening?

French eat the most amount of cheese and they are envied because it doesn't seem to make them fat. They seem to export a lot of cheese, too On the contrary Chinese seem to eat very little cheese, according to a report by the International Dairy Federation. In Sri Lanka and other Asian countries there is a rising demand for cheese, they seem to eat as fast food –mainly in Pizza.

As there is a demand for cheese in Sri Lanka, local dairy produces seem to make cheese locally. 'Kotmale' is the largest manufacturer of Cheese in Sri Lanka. `Kotmale` cheese which is available in the form of natural and processed cheese has a wide portfolio of processed, spiced processed and spread cheese in its processed cheese range and Swiss cheese, Ball cheese, Feta, Cottage, Pannier and Mozzarella in the natural cheese range.

The saying goes when we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate.- Gina Barreca What happens to the hole when cheese is gone – think about it.

Copyright © 2000 ~ 2016 Ozlanka®.
Ozlanka is not responsible for the contents of this article or for any external internet sites that may be linked through this website.
The views expressed above are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or concepts of the webmaster or the owners & operators of Ozlanka.

Ozlanka and Auslanka are registered trademarks