27 MARCH, 2013

Cheese as a part of our diet

Delicious and full of nutritional ingredients

Some people consume cheese in order to receive essential nutrients, such as calcium, others, eat it because it is part of their daily diet and some, like to accompany their cheese with a glass of red or white wine and give their day a gourmet moment. Regardless of the reasons, what is certain, is that for many, cheese is one of the most basic ingredients of their diet. Cheese is a food category that consists of many varieties, each one of which has its own history and value and remains a food type that has been widely consumed for many years.

Even though there are hundreds of available cheese varieties, with different texture, flavor and aromas, all types have some basic characteristics that make them invaluable to peoples’ diets.

Proteins

Cheese is an important protein source of high biological value. These nutritional ingredients are necessary for the normal growth and development of ones organism. A piece of hard cheese (40-50gr) covers approximately 1/5 of an adults necessary protein intake.

Fat

Fat content in cheese varies from less than 4gr up to 35 gr per 100 gr of cheese: cottage cheese has the lowest fat content, while the harder cheeses are in the higher ranges. The majority of fats in a cheese are saturated – usually over 60%.

Minerals and vitamins

The most well-known ingredient of cheese, if not of all dairy products, is calcium. Even though calcium content in cheese varies depending on the type, in the majority of the cases, 60gr of cheese contain 30-60% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. The extremely beneficial aspect of cheese regarding our bones is supplemented by the high posphorus content. The dietery value of cheese is not limited to the aforementioned, since it also contains important quantities of vitamin B complex, which are necessary for the smooth functioning of the nervous system and the preservation of a strong memory. Cheese also contains other vitamins, such as vitamin A and D, as well as, minerals, such as zinc.

Salt

Salt is a frequent cause for concern when it comes to our health; Sodium especially, which is the main source of salt. In a similar way as fat, salt (sodium chloride) performs some basic functions in cheese, contributing to flavor, texture and most importantly, safety. In almost every cheese production, bacteria are used, but there are some that are unwanted, as well as, some that are necessary during the maturation process and in order to produce specific flavors. Salt controls the increase of these bacteria loads. However, by placing white cheeses, for example, under some water and washing the brime and outer layer, we can decrease the amount of sodium-salt it contains.

Low lactose

One of the most important benefits of cheese compared to milk is that it contains lower lactose quantities. Due to the lactose fermentation that takes place during cheese production, the lactose content in cheese is drastically reduced, making it friendlier to the digestive system.

White VS Yellow cheese

Their differences, as far as their nutritional value, is that yellow cheeses (kasseri, kefalotyri, graviera, parmesan) are richer in ingredients as compared to white cheeses (feta, mozzarella, anthotyro). Furthermore, yellow cheeses contain more calcium and are appropriate for individuals who in development or who have increased requirements for calcium. White cheese contain less fat than yellow cheese (with the exception of fat-free yello cheeses) and as a result, fewer calories. White cheeses are ideal for those who are watching their diet (i.e. who are trying to lose weight or have high cholesterol).




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