The healthiest cheese options to support performance

We know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t cheese loaded with calories and fatAnd while the answer is yes, cheese can eat up a lot of calories and fat from dairy, it’s also a food that can absolutely be part of a well-balanced diet.

When it comes to choosing cheese, you just want to skip the bricks of processed options and the plastic-wrapped slices of America and opt for options that provide a few extra body benefits per delicious bite.

Considering that the average American consumes nearly 37 pounds of cheese per year, according to USDA 2017 data, you might as well learn a little more about how to get the most out of every ounce and how to include cheese in your performance plate. Here’s what to know about choosing the healthiest cheese and the benefits of doing so.

How is cheese made?

Cheese is made from milk, salt, “good” bacteria that trigger fermentation and the rennet enzyme, according to the national milk council. Each cheesemaker may add additional ingredients and has a different aging method, hence the variety of nutritional information, flavors and textures of cheese.

Three main processing details influence these cheese attributes:

  • The type of milk: cow’s milk errs on the buttery, rich side; goat’s milk is tangy and tart; sheep’s milk is nutty and sweet
  • Where it is made: weather conditions, animal diet, time of milking, etc., all impact the flavor of a finished cheese
  • Consistency : mHumidity (the humidity of the aging environment) and the aging process itself impact the texture of cheese.

    There are six main categories of cheese:

    • Hard: aged gouda, aged cheddar, asiago, grana padano, manchego, parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino
    • Semi-hard: colby, gouda, gruyere, havarti, mild cheddar
    • White mold: brie, camembert
    • Blue mold: gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort
    • Costs: burrata, cream cheese, feta, fresh mozzarella
    • Goat: blue goat cheese, goat cheese, goat brie

      What are the health benefits of cheese?

      Eating cheese offers a few health benefits:

        Plus, there’s a fun factor to eating cheese, given how delicious it is, says Michelle Hyman, RD, registered dietitian at Simple Weight Loss Solutions At New York.

        What to Look for in Healthy Cheese

        In general, you’ll get the most satisfaction and nutrition per bite by opting for any real cheese. Those made with 100 percent grass fed milk often contain more than one type of omega-3 fatty acids called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Adequate intake of this healthy fat could less risk of cardiovascular diseasesaid Frances Largeman-Roth, RDNa nutrition expert based in Dobbs Ferry, New York and author of The smoothie plan.

        Most varieties of cheese average about 100 calories per ounce, which means they are pretty high in calories, offering a lot of energy for a small amount of food. It’s good for cyclists, given that you need calories for energy to go through. long journeys.

        Sodium is also a nutrient to watch out for in cheese, as many varieties may contain salt. Hyman suggests aiming for less than 200 milligrams of sodium if you’ve been diagnosed with or have a family history of high blood pressure. (Some cheese varieties contain more than double that amount per serving.) Sodium is also a electrolyte however, it is therefore not bad to take sodium, especially if you sweat a lot.

        Finally, in general, it is necessary to monitor its intake of saturated fats, which are found in many cheeses. Too much saturated fat can raise bad cholesterol and potentially harm heart health. the American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fat intake to 5-6% of your daily calories.

        Alternatively, stock up on one or all of these healthier cheese options on your next run to the supermarket.

        5 of the healthiest cheeses to buy

        Product-specific nutritional information may vary for these cheeses, depending on brand, aging and more, so keep these in mind. macronutrient and USDA’s FoodData Central micronutrient estimates as a general guide.

        The richest in protein: cottage cheese

        Remarkably versatile – try it in everything from lasagna casseroles to smoothies to parfaits – cottage cheese leads the cheese competition in terms of muscle building power.

        Nutritional intakes per ½ cup serving of 2% cottage cheese:

        • Calories: 92
        • Fat: 3 g (1 g saturated fat)
        • Protein: 12g
        • Carbohydrates: 5g
        • Sodium: 348mg
        • Sugars: 4.5g
        • Calcium: 125mg

          Less saturated fat: mozzarella

          In addition to cottage cheese, this salad star and pizza hero ranks lowest in saturated fat if you opt for its still rich-tasting part-skim interpretation, Hyman says.

          Nutritional intakes per 1 ounce serving of part-skim mozzarella cheese:

          • Calories: 72
          • Fat: 4.5 g (3 g saturated fat)
          • Protein: 7g
          • Carbohydrates: 1g
          • Sodium: 348mg
          • Sugars: 0.5g
          • Calcium: 222mg

            Richest in Calcium: Parmesan

            A little parmesan goes a long way, especially if you’re looking for well-aged versions of the cheese. It delivers plenty of nutty flavor per bite, as well as plenty of calcium.

            Nutritional intakes for a 1 ounce serving of Parmesan:

            • Calories: 111
            • Fat: 7 g (4 g saturated fat)
            • Protein: 10g
            • Carbohydrates: 1g
            • Sodium: 335mg
            • Sugars: 0g
            • Calcium: 335mg

              Less lactose: goat cheese

              Goat cheese contains A2 casein, a form of milk protein this may cause less digestive upset than the casein naturally present in cow’s milk. (More and more A2 cow’s milks are coming onto the market, but these are the exception rather than the rule.)

              Nutritional intakes for a 1 ounce serving of soft goat cheese:

              • Calories: 75
              • Fat: 6 g (4 g saturated fat)
              • Protein: 5g
              • Carbohydrates: 0g
              • Sodium: 130mg
              • Sugars: 0 g
              • Calcium: 40mg

                Lowest in sodium: Switzerland

                No, it’s not just because of the holes! Ounce for ounce, Swiss cheese ranks as the healthiest cheese if you watch your sodium intake.

                Nutritional intakes for a 1 ounce serving of Swiss cheese:

                • Calories: 111
                • Fat: 9 g (5 g saturated fat)
                • Protein: 8g
                • Carbohydrates: 0g
                • Sodium: 53mg
                • Sugars: 0g
                • Calcium: 252mg

                  How to add cheese to a healthy diet

                  The flow USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest adults ages 19-59 eat the equivalent of 3 cups of dairy products per day, regardless of the total number of calories in your daily diet.

                  “However, this does not mean that the guidelines recommend that all your dairy the equivalents come from cheese. An equivalent of 1 cup of cheese is 1.5 ounces of natural cheese,” says Hyman. “The guidelines primarily recommend skimmed or low-fat dairy choices.”

                  In addition to cheese and milk, yogurt and soy milk also count as dairy equivalents, so try to mix things up and stick to no more than one serving of these healthiest cheeses per day.

                  “One serving a day can definitely fit into a Healthy eating model,” explains Largeman-Roth. “Cheese is so flavorful, it doesn’t take much to kickstart a meal.”

                  Here’s how to include these healthiest cheeses in your meal plan:

                  • Add slices to a cheese platter with fruits, nuts, jams, mustards, olives and crackers
                  • Use cheese as a topping for pasta, salad, or soup, or as a topping for a veggie-laden pizza
                  • Match a wedge to a piece of fruit for a snack
                  • Create a lunch box with cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, hummus and raw vegetables
                  • Stir crumbled cheese into frittata or scrambled egg
                  • Layer Cheese in a Whole Grain Sandwich
                  • Blend a scoop of cottage cheese into a smoothie or mix it into marinara sauce to enjoy with pasta

                    Is there anyone who shouldn’t eat cheese?

                    Some people are allergic to a protein in dairy products called casein. A typical reaction involves rashes, acne, headaches, sinus congestion and inflammation. If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor about possible allergies.

                    Of course those with Lactose intolerance, also want to avoid certain cheeses. Lactose intolerance refers to the body’s difficulty in breaking down or digesting the lactose in a dairy product. It tends to trigger more digestive problems after consuming dairy products, including bloating, gas and diarrhea.

                    If you really love cheese, but have been diagnosed or think you have lactose intolerance, listen up: “Some cheeses may be tolerated in varying amounts by different individuals because they contain less lactose than others,” explains Hyman.

                    For example, “aged cheese is much lower in lactose, so many people who can’t tolerate liquid milk or soft cheese can eat aged cheeses, like cheddar, with no problem,” says Largeman-Roth.

                    The Basics on the Healthiest Cheese for Cyclists

                    While whole dairy products, including cheese, can be quite high in saturated fat and sodium, they provide enough positive qualities to have a place on your plate, at least in moderation. Aim for one serving a day, which equals 1.5 ounces of hard cheese, ¼ cup of ricotta cheese, or ½ cup of cottage cheese, and pair it with fiber-rich carbs to increase the fill factor and aid digestion.

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