If you feel worried about being unhealthy when you indulge your cheesy cravings, you’re not alone. The perception that our yummy creamy snacks are bad for our bodies is widespread, but is it true?
Well, nope. Not even a little bit, actually.
In reality, cheese is a healthy and natural addition to your balanced diet, and we’re going to give you 10 facts about the delicious stuff to explain why.
1. It helps you maintain a healthy weight.
While eating some dairy products – like brie or vintage cheddar, for example – might feel naughty, they’re actually high in protein meaning that when you eat them you stay fuller for longer.
If you snack on cheese across the day, you’ll be less likely to snack on junk food. In the long term, cheese can be very beneficial in maintaining a healthy weight.
Bet you didn’t expect that, did you?
2. It helps fight the nasties off.
Cheese doesn’t just keep you fuller for longer – it can help prevent disease, too!
"Cheese doesn't just keep you fuller for longer - it fights disease for you, too!" Image: iStock.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines say that consumption of cheese is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and colorectal cancer – some of the main causes of death here in Australia.
What a lil' champion.
3. A standard serving size is probably different to what you first thought.
Serving sizes can be confusing - so let's clear that all up.
One serving equals two slices - roughly 40 grams - of hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan or Swiss-style cheese. Otherwise, a serve of ricotta or cottage cheese is closer to ½ a cup.
Got it? Too simple!
4. You're not eating enough.
While portion sizes sound very small, when it comes to cheese products (and all dairy foods for that matter), we're just not eating enough.
"The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that women aged between 19 and 50 eat two-and-a-half servings from the dairy food group every single day, and women over 50 to eat four servings a day, but the vast majority of us don’t even come close. The good news is - cheese definitely counts towards those recommendations.”
A measly one in 10 Aussies consume an adequate amount of dairy - and our health is suffering because of it.
Women aged between 19 and 50 should eat two-and-a-half servings of cheese every single day. Image: iStock.
5. Neither are your little ones.
When it comes to your kids, aim to provide two serves of dairy (if they're below the age of eight), or up to three-and-a-half serves if they're a touch older.
A great way to do this can be adding cheese slices to their school lunchbox, or grating it over pasta for dinner.
The fight against osteoporosis starts from a very early age, so give your children the best possible chance to have healthy bones today.
6. It's great for building lean muscle.
Many athletes love cheese for this brilliant reason – the protein is terrific for building and maintaining lean muscle.
Chances are if you love a female athlete, she loves a cheddar cheese toastie! Or a cheese platter... or cheesy pasta...
7. It's super (super, super) versatile.
Okay, so there's SO MUCH MORE you can do with cheese than just chop it up on a board and pair with crackers.
Cheese is super, super versatile. Image: iStock.
Why not sprinkle some on top of your steamed veggies at dinner time? Or enjoy with your spinach salad?
Melt it! Chill it! Chop it! Grate it! You literally cannot stuff cheese up - it's Tasty-with-a-capital-T in all forms.
8. It's brilliant if you have fussy mouths to feed.
If you have kids that are a teeny tiny bit picky when it comes to what's on their plate, why not give them a range of cheeses to try?
Whether your family likes it mild, stinky, strong and bitey, soft or crumbly, there is a cheese for everybody. They might have pushed the blue cheese far, far away, but they're bound to love a milder ricotta cheese, or parmesan on their pasta.
9. It's good for strong bones.
Over one million Aussies suffer from osteoporosis, and many of those are women, who become more susceptible to the brittle bone disease once they turn 50.
Feeding your little ones (and yourself) cheese is really important to help lower your risk in later life. Consuming calcium-rich cheese - like mozzarella, cheddar, and Greek cheese - can ensure your loved ones have healthy, strong bones in later life.
10. If it's hard, it's (almost completely) lactose free!
Being diagnosed with lactose intolerance doesn't mean you need to avoid cheese, because hard cheeses contain virtually none of the natural sugar that is found in milk (in fact most cheeses are super low in lactose).
A good rule of thumb is the harder the cheese the lower the lactose. Always consult your doctor if you're concerned.
I've just blown your world, I know.
Pass the parmesan, please.
What's your favourite thing about cheese? Let us know in the comments below!
This post was written thanks to our brand partner Dairy Australia.
We all love cheese. From healthy snacks to weeknight meals, cheese is your secret weapon in the kitchen. Best of all, the science behind cheese’s health benefits has never been stronger, so you can enjoy cheese knowing it’s good for you. With some of the world’s best cheese created right here from Australian milk, it’s the perfect time to support Australian dairy.
Australian dairy. Legendairy.