What are the healthiest types of cheese? 9 nutritionist-approved cheeses that are packed with nutrients
- Some of the healthiest cheeses are feta and goat
cheese, which are better for lactose intolerance.
- Cottage cheese and ricotta have more than 11 grams of muscle-building protein in a single serving.
- Swiss cheese is naturally lower in sodium, so it is a good option for people with hypertension.
There are plenty of healthier cheeses out there that can provide you with essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced, equally delicious, diet.
Note: "Given that most cheeses are high in saturated fat and this can raise the bad cholesterol in our bodies, we generally recommend limiting cheese to around an ounce a day," says Liz Weinandy, MPH, RDN at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Here are 10 kinds of cheese that are on the healthier side.
1. Part-skim mozzarella cheese
Weinandy says part-skim mozzarella cheese has a lower amount of saturated fat and sodium compared to many other kinds of cheese, with about 2.9 grams of saturated fat and 175 milligrams of sodium in a one-ounce serving. By comparison brie, another soft cheese has 4.9 grams of saturated fat - almost double.
A one-ounce serving of part-skim mozzarella cheese contains:
- Calories: 72
- Protein: 6.9 grams
- Sodium: 175 milligrams
- Carbs: 0.8 grams
- Saturated fat: 2.9 grams
- Calcium: 222 milligrams
Tip: Melt some part-skim mozzarella on sliced tomatoes and basil to boost your calcium intake for the day.
2. Feta cheese
Feta cheese is traditionally made from goat or sheep milk, says Weinandy. This is beneficial for people who are lactose intolerant because feta lacks casein - the major protein in cow's milk that lactose intolerants can't easily digest.
Additionally, Siegel says feta is rich in the mineral phosphorus which is great for healthy, strong bones and teeth. A one-ounce serving of feta contains 95.5 mg of phosphorous, which is about 15% of your daily dietary value.
A one-ounce serving of feta cheese contains:
- Calories: 75.1
- Protein: 4.0 grams
- Sodium: 323 milligrams
- Carbs: 1.1 grams
- Saturated fat: 3.77 grams
- Calcium: 140 milligrams
Tip: Instead of drowning your salad in a cream-based dressing that's loaded with saturated fat, throw some crumbled feta cheese on for that creamy kick, and then use a vinaigrette for extra flavor without the unhealthy fat.
3. Low fat cottage cheese
Although cottage cheese isn't as high in calcium as some other cheeses, it's a great source of protein, says Weinandy. This can be beneficial for vegetarians who aren't getting protein from other sources, such as meat.
Opting for a low-fat version is preferable if you're watching your weight and following a heart-healthy diet, says Weinandy.
Also, you can easily blend up cottage cheese and add it to other foods for a protein boost. Weinandy says cottage cheese can be blended into smoothies, pancakes, or muffins.
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 11.5 grams
- Sodium: 407 milligrams
- Carbs: 5.3 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.44 grams
- Calcium: 80 milligrams
Tip: Add some fresh berries to a bowl of cottage cheese for a low-cal, low-carb breakfast that's packed with antioxidants.
4. Goat cheese
Goat cheese is a soft cheese with a mild and neutral flavor that can pair well with either sweet or savory foods, says Siegel. Additionally, she says goat milk has less lactose than cow's milk, so it's better tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.
A one-ounce serving of goat cheese contains
- Calories: 80.1
- Protein: 4 grams
- Sodium: 75 milligrams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Saturated fat: 3.5 grams
- Calcium: 19.9 milligrams
Tip: Instead of cream cheese on your bagel, use goat cheese, which contains 30% less saturated fat in a one-ounce serving. (A one-ounce serving of cream cheese has 5 grams of saturated fat.)
5. Ricotta cheese
Ricotta cheese is made from whey protein, which contains amino acids that are beneficial for muscle
"Ricotta is produced by heating milk until the curds and whey separate, and then reheating the whey again to create a creamy, grainy cheese," says Siegel.
A 100 gram serving of ricotta cheese contains:
- Calories: 97
- Protein: 11.29 grams
- Sodium: 242 milligrams
- Carbs: 4.84 grams
- Saturated fat: 3.23 grams
- Calcium: 161 milligrams
Tip: Top a slice of whole-grain toast with ricotta cheese, a drizzle of honey, and sliced figs for a snack or quick breakfast.
6. Swiss cheese
Compared to other cheeses, Swiss is naturally lower in sodium, Siegel says, which makes it a good choice for people with hypertension or at risk of heart disease who are watching their sodium intake. According to the FDA, adults should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
A one-ounce serving of Swiss cheese contains:
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 9 grams
- Sodium: 45.1 milligrams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Saturated fat: 5 grams
- Calcium: 300 milligrams
Tip: Try a healthier version of grilled cheese by topping whole-grain toast with a slice of tomato, some avocado, and melted swiss cheese.
7. Cheddar cheese
Cheddar is usually naturally aged, says Siegel. This is beneficial for those sensitive to lactose since the longer a cheese is aged, the more the remaining lactose breaks down.
Plus, cheddar is high in calcium, with about 15% of your daily value in a one-ounce serving. Calcium is crucial for healthy bones.
A one-ounce serving of cheddar cheese contains:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 7 grams
- Sodium: 190 milligrams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Saturated fat: 6 grams
- Calcium: 200 milligrams
Tip: Sprinkle some cheddar on cauliflower and bake for a low-carb option.
8. Gouda cheese
Gouda is semi-hard and aged, with a sweet and nutty taste. It is typically made from unpasteurized milk, which means it is packed with probiotics, Siegel says.
Tip: For a unique and healthy dish, make roasted zucchini boats stuffed with gouda cheese, whole grain bread crumbs, sliced cherry tomatoes, and basil.
Probiotics are a type of "good" bacteria that can promote a healthy gut by balancing the good and bad bacteria in the gut, which can.
A one-ounce serving of gouda cheese contains:
- Calories: 101
- Protein: 7.06 grams
- Sodium: 232 milligrams
- Carbs: .63 grams
- Saturated fat: 5 grams
- Calcium: 198 milligrams
9. Parmesan Cheese
Siegel says the main benefits of parmesan are that it's packed with calcium and protein. Plus, a small amount of parmesan cheese packs a lot of flavor, so you'll end up eating few calories for all the flavor that you get, says Siegal.
A one-tablespoon serving of parmesan cheese contains:
- Calories: 20
- Protein: 2 grams
- Sodium: 55 milligrams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.5 grams
- Calcium: 60 milligrams
Tip: Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce for a filling, flavor-packed meal.
10. Cashew cheese
Cashew cheese is dairy-free and safe to consume for people who are lactose intolerant or choose to avoid animal products. Siegel says cashew cheese is one of the more popular nut cheeses due to the creamy consistency it produces.
The "cheese" is made from processed cashew nuts, creating an end product that's high in iron, potassium, and fiber, comparable to dairy cheese, Siegel says.
Tip: When you're shopping for cashew cheese, Siegel recommends looking for ingredient lists that include whole food ingredients like nuts and live cultures and avoiding additives, and food coloring.
A one-ounce serving of cashew cheese contains:
- Calories: 90
- Protein: 3 grams
- Sodium: 130 milligrams
- Carbs: 5 grams
- Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
- Calcium: 20 milligrams
When it comes to nutrition, the key is having everything in moderation, and cheese is no exception. Limit your portions of cheese to roughly an ounce a day and you'll be on track to maintaining a balanced (and delicious) diet.
If you need help with planning out your meals and snacks, don't hesitate to reach out to a dietitian for advice.15 healthy and delicious low-carb fruits5 benefits of milk thistle, an herbal remedy that supports skin and bone healthIs Stevia bad for you? Why you should only consume this low-calorie sweetener in moderationIs Stevia bad for you? Why you should only consume this low-calorie sweetener in moderation
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