Wellness Wednesday: Rise & Rind


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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
A tray of cheeses

Few things hit the spot like a nice piece of cheese. Creamy and rich with flavor, cheese is a decadent delight whether it’s served on a piece of bread, melted on top of a savory dish, or just eaten by itself. From cheddar to camembert, gruyere to goat cheese and beyond, there are more than 1,800 varieties of cheese worldwide to savor. Cheese doesn’t have the best reputation, health-wise, but the fact is that a little bit of cheese can go a long way for your health. 

Rich in Calcium

Cheeses may be high in fat but they are also dense with calcium. Calcium is one of the most important nutrients: it plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone health. Calcium keeps bones strong and prevents the formation of cavities. When your body is low on calcium, it will strip it from your teeth, making them more vulnerable to tooth decay. A bit of cheese can help maintain your calcium levels and protect your teeth and bones.

Good for Blood Clots

Many cheeses are also rich in vitamin K2. This is a nutrient that your body uses to clot blood, which can prevent excessive bleeding. While deficiencies of vitamin K are uncommon in adults, when they happen it can raise the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.

A Reliable Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can promote good brain health, reduce the risk of macular degeneration, alleviate stress, and even help mitigate cognitive decline. Fish tends to be the best way to get large amounts of Omega-3s in your diet, but if you’re not a fan of seafood you’re in luck: cheese is also an excellent source for these brain-boosting, heart-healthy acids.

Improves Blood Flow to the Brain

Speaking of your noggin: cheese is also packed with glutathione. This antioxidant helps maintain brain health by increasing blood flow to the brain. Glutathione makes our blood vessels work better and assists in the process of metabolizing toxins and breaking down harmful free radicals.

Great for Guts

Looking to add some more probiotics to your diet to fortify your gut health? Quite a few cheeses (especially fermented ones) contain probiotic bacteria that can improve your immune system, aid in digestion, and even help keep your cholesterol levels healthy (when consumed in moderation, of course).

Lowers Blood Pressure

The calcium and other nutrients in cheese aren’t just good for your bones: they can also help reduce blood pressure. When eaten in reasonable quantities, lower-fat and low-sodium cheeses have been shown to reduce blood pressure. Cheese that is good for blood pressure include ricotta, parmesan, feta, cottage cheese, or goat cheese.

Reduces Inflammation

The dairy fats in cheese contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Studies have found that this acid can ease inflammation and may also help prevent heart disease and obesity. 

What to Watch Out for

When it comes to good health, not all cheeses are created equal. Cheese made from the milk of animals that are grass-fed tend to be higher in nutrients and vitamins. Harder cheeses are much higher in sodium than their softer counterparts. This is where you’ll want to do a little research before stocking up on cheeses for your next charcuterie shindig. The nutrient content can vary wildly depending on the type of cheese you eat.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid heavily processed cheeses. Any “cheese-flavored” products are not going to give you the good stuff you can get from eating real cheese. Moderation is key: cheeses are full of good fats, but they are fats nevertheless. 


Article by Austin Brietta

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