Health Benefits of Cheese
Because cheese is a calcium-rich food, it may help reduce the risk for osteoporosis—a disease in which bones become fragile and are more likely to break1.
In addition, cheese is included in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet designed to reduce the risk of high blood pressure2. This moderate fat diet, which includes three servings daily of low-fat and fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, and eight to ten servings daily of fruits and vegetables, has also been shown to reduce other risk factors for heart disease2.
Nutrients in Cheese
Cheese contains important nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Did you know that it takes about ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese? This makes cheese a concentrated source of many of milk's nutrients, such as calcium, which is critical for building strong bones1.
Calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet. According to government statistics nine out of 10 women and seven out of 10 men fall short of calcium recommendations. Additionally, the high-quality protein in cheese provides your body with essential building blocks for strong muscles3.
If you are lactose intolerant, many cheeses, particularly aged cheeses such as Cheddar and Parmesan, contain little or no lactose and are often well tolerated.
Cheese Serving Size
One serving of cheese is one and one-half ounces for hard cheeses (about the size of six dice); two ounces for processed cheeses. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals ages nine and older consume at least three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day1.
Enjoy Different Types of Cheese
Cheese is a delicious and nutritious food that is also very versatile. You can add it to other dishes or eat it by itself. It’s convenient and portable – and kids love it! There are many different varieties with unique flavors to complement any dish.
More than 300 varieties of cheese —including American, Cheddar, mozzarella and Colby—are available in various flavors, forms (chunks, slices, cubes, grated, crumbled, sticks, spreads) and packaging to meet consumers' needs.
From Cheddar to Gruyère—enjoy trying new types of cheeses with your favorite foods to make nutritious, tasty dishes. Cheese can jazz up a salad, pasta, sauces and even desserts!
Having a party? Serve Cheese
Make a quick and easy cheese, cracker and fruit plate. The sweet and savory flavors complement each other perfectly and it requires minimal preparation. You can put toothpicks by the platter for a mess-free appetizer. And, of course, cheese pairs very well with wine.
Concerned about calories? Lower Fat Cheese
Choose harder cheeses you can grate and sprinkle over your dishes or aromatic and sharp cheeses so that you can get the delicious cheese flavor with fewer calories. Many reduced-fat varieties of cheeses are also available.
Keeping your favorite cheeses on hand can take your meals to a whole new level! Be prepared for compliments!
Enjoy the Health Benefits of Cheese - Find Cheese Recipes!
The Secrets, Stories and Stats and Cheese
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. ChooseMyPlate.gov Website. Washington, DC. Dairy. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html. Accessed March 11, 2015.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. Your Guide to Lowering Your Website With the DASH Diet Website. Washington, DC. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf. Accessed March 11, 2015.
3. Moshfegh A, Goldman J, Ahuja J, Rhodes D, LaComb R. What we eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006: Usual intakes from food and water compared to 1997 Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.