Cheese is a delicious dairy product that is used as an independent dish or is part of other dishes. How to choose the perfect treat so that it is 100% natural, high quality and healthy?
Secret recipe: how cheeses are made
There are more than two thousand varieties of cheese in the world, and this list continues to grow. At the same time, manufacturers create each type of cheese according to their own special technology, but there are also general principles for manufacturing the product — the same ones that turn milk into cheese.
First, rennet is added to the milk, which helps curdle it. After that, the resulting mass is filtered and heated. Then the future cheese is salted and left to ripen.
At the stage of cheese preparation, various additives can be introduced into it — for example, beneficial microflora or a special mold.
Why cheese is useful: calories and composition
The main advantage of real cheese is that it is rich in easily digestible protein, calcium and tryptophan. The composition of cheeses necessarily includes vitamins A, D, E, K and group B, as well as minerals — iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iodine, manganese and selenium.
The concentration of benefits in each type of product is different, so for health it is better to stick to variety, alternating your favorite cheeses.
The calorie content of cheese is quite high. For example, 100 g of Cheddar cheese will bring an additional 403 kcal to the body, goat cheese — 364 kcal, Roquefort cheese — 369 kcal, and Parmesan cheese — 431 kcal. But there are also dietary options for cheeses: the calorie content of American cheese is 148 kcal, cottage cheese is 98 kcal, and Ricotta cheese is 174 kcal.
On a note!
Depending on the mass fraction of fat in the product, cheeses are divided into several categories: high-fat (fat content — 60%), fatty (45–59.9%), bold (25–44.9%), low fat (10–24.9%) and lean (up to 10% fat).
The fat content of cheese is useful to know for those who are on a diet or have diseases that limit the amount of fat in the diet.
How cheese affects health
You should start with one small minus of cheeses — they have a lot of salt. Specialists World Health Organization it is recommended to consume salt per day in an amount not exceeding 5 g. And 100 g of Parmesan cheese contains about 1.8 g of salt. If a person loves a product, he can easily get carried away and go overboard with the amount of salt. But it is contained in a hidden form and in many other foods.
Therefore, an important rule for the use of cheeses is to adhere to a sense of proportion. Especially for hypertensive patients, as they run the risk of raising blood pressure when eating cheese.
But there is also great news. In all other respects, cheese is a mega-useful product. Due to the high content of protein, it can serve as a “building material” for building body cells, promote muscle growth. A whole range of benefits endow the cheese with general strengthening properties, the ability to control appetite and maintain bone density, improve digestion and prevent the development of many diseases.
By eating cheese for a snack, you can get a good boost of energy, increase efficiency and get rid of daytime sleepiness. But all this is true only for a quality product. How to recognize it — next!
How to choose a natural product
The first skill that cheese gourmets should possess is to be able to distinguish real cheese from a cheese product. Quality cheeses are made from milk, sourdough and salt. They may also contain calcium chloride, a safe substance that has been used to form a clot for decades. It is added to cheeses in an insignificant amount — only 1 g per 10 liters of milk. Therefore, when you see this substance on a product label, you should not be afraid of it.
Cheese product to reduce the cost of the final cost, as a rule, includes non-dairy fats — vegetable or trans fats. Such products lose in taste and benefits to real cheeses, and due to the content of trans fats, they can increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and other pathologies.
Recognizing harmful fats in a product is easy: they can “hide” behind the names “vegetable fat”, “partially hydrogenated vegetable fat”, “cooking fat”, etc.
Cheese Additives: Good or Bad?
Many people are afraid of cheese additives, believing that the best product contains only milk, salt and sourdough. But supplements are not always harmful.
It is they who sometimes make it possible to make the cost of the product more affordable, as well as to give it a good elastic shape, plastic texture and appetizing color.
Some additives prevent the development of harmful microflora in the product and extend its shelf life. So the presence of dyes, stabilizers and preservatives should not be afraid either. The main thing is that they are harmless to health.
Permitted preservatives: E 252 and E 251, dyes — E 160a and E 160b. Other additives in cheese are undesirable.
How to determine the quality of cheese
If the product label has already been studied and surrogates, and not real cheeses, are left on the shelf, it’s time to carefully consider the pieces of cheese you like.
The color of the product should be medium yellow, but not whitish (this may indicate an expired expiration date). There must be no mold on the surface, with the exception of a separate group of moldy cheeses.
A piece of cheese can “sweat” — that is, contain drops on the surface. Only in a real cheese are droplets of fat, and in a surrogate — water.
If you suspect the content of starch in the product, you can do a small test. Apply a drop of iodine to the cut, if it turns blue-green, there is starch, if it remains brown — the product is of high quality and does not contain excess.
Another homemade test for determining the quality of cheese: try rolling a ball out of a small slice. Real cheese will crumble, but with the content of vegetable fats and trans fats it will be flexible and plastic like plasticine.
On a note!
Smoked and processed cheeses are inferior in their benefits to other options and are not suitable for everyone. Cheese makers even refuse to consider processed cheeses as cheeses, and smoked sausage cheeses are allowed strictly in small quantities.
It should be borne in mind that smoked cheese can be called smoked without special processing. Manufacturers add chemicals to such cheeses that give the product a specific taste and aroma, and that’s it.
Top 10 healthiest cheeses
How to choose the best cheese for yourself? This is a task of increased complexity, because every cheese is good for health. It is best to alternate the cheeses you like. And, of course, at least once you should try the most popular cheeses in the world.
Mozzarella. It is an Italian cheese made from cow or buffalo milk. It has a low calorie content — 350 kcal per 100 g of product and a minimum of salt. Contains beneficial lactobacilli.
Blue cheese. Produced on the basis of cow, goat or sheep milk with the addition of mold cultures. Compared to other cheeses, it has a higher calcium content. Therefore, it is recommended to use it for the prevention of bone diseases.
Ricotta. A cheese originally from Italy that has a creamy texture and is often recommended as an alternative to cottage cheese. Calorie content — about 170 kcal per 100 g of product.
Feta. The birthplace of this cheese is Greece. It is produced on the basis of sheep, goat or cow milk. Sold in brine, so it contains a lot of salt. It has a moderate calorie content.
Cottage cheese. It is famous for its high protein content, more than in other cheeses. In 100 product — 11 g of protein. It is often recommended for weight loss. In 100 g of the product, the calorie content will be no more than 100 kcal, but a lot depends on the fat content of the cottage cheese.
Parmesan. It is a hard, aged cheese that has been kept under special storage conditions for at least 12 months. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Very rich in calcium and phosphorus, recommended for osteoporosis. Due to the low content of lactose, it can be used by people with lactose intolerance.
Swiss cheese. Refers to semi-hard cheeses. Due to the low content of sodium and fat, it is recommended for those who suffer from high blood pressure and follow the figure.
Goat cheese. It is a very nutritious cheese with a delicate soft texture. Some people digest it better than cow’s milk cheese because it has a lower lactose content.
Cheddar. It is a semi-hard cheese from England. The taste depends on the variety — it can be both soft and harsh. Rich in protein, potassium and vitamin K. Useful for people with heart disease.
Cheese. Cheese was first prepared in the Arab East more than 7 thousand years ago. In the Caucasus, this type of cheese is considered a product of longevity. The most useful is that cheese, the fat content of which is at least 40–50%. Calorie content of 100 g of cheese is 260 kcal.
Buy high-quality cheeses, show a sense of proportion in their use and be healthy!