One of the most popular varieties of food that can be used in all types of foods such as snacks, appetizers as well as desserts, is none other than Cheese. The moment one hears the name of cheese, the next thing that comes to mind is the excessive fat content, and in this modern world, where the trend is towards low fat and low carb diets, cheese is viewed more as a fat carrier than anything else. Though it is true that cheese has high saturated fat and sodium, one should also take note of the relative advantages of this versatile food.
Cheese, an ancient food, made from the milk of animals such as cows, camels, buffaloes, sheep, goats and yak, is very rich in protein and calcium. Cheese is also said to be a very good source for Vitamin B12.
The primary ingredient required for making cheese is milk. It has been found that as much as 3.8 liters of milk is required to make one lb or 450 grams of cheese. It is the rich protein and calcium content in cheese that makes it a tasty food, irrespective of its fat content. On average, a piece of cheese, typically of 30 grams, contains as much as 115 calories, about 200 micrograms of calcium and around 9 grams of fat.
The only setback or drawback with regard to cheese is that it has high content of fat, cholesterol and sodium. People suffering from cholesterol or overweight, however, should not use cheese as a staple food and instead consider using it very moderately in the form of an occasional treat. Doctors often advise people suffering with heart disease, high blood pressure, and / or high blood cholesterol should drastically reduce the intake of cheese, as cheese is high in cholesterol and the fat content in the food is highly saturated. Consumption of cheese by these patients are likely to increase the risk of atherosclerosis or clogging of the arteries with fatty deposits. The high sodium content in cheese might turn out to be very risky for people suffering with high blood pressure.
However, cheese is advisable for people, especially older women, who are threatened by a disease called osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones. Adolescents are advised to consume more of cheese in their growing stage. People suffering from lactose intolerance or unable to digest milk can take up hard cheese as a viable supplement for milk
Cheese can be stored for a longer period of time. However, aged cheese might cause some allergic reactions to some consumers. They may experience migraine headache among the consumers. A naturally occurring chemical present in aged cheese, tyramine, is responsible for migraine and sometimes, the chemical’s interaction with drugs used for fighting depression might increase the blood pressure levels sharply and may be life-threatening. People suffering from depression or taking medication for depression are better advised not to consume aged cheese without doctor’s advice.
Despite its disadvantages in the form of high fat content and sodium content, a little amount of cheese occasionally will not only improve the flavor of life but also provides protein and calcium to the person. Cheese is an ideal food for children and adolescents in their growing years. A moderation in the consumption of cheese irrespective of the stage in life is advisable to reap the benefits of this staple free from worries about fat content, cholesterol, heart attack and blood pressure.