Are you swearing off certain foods for your New Year resolutions? Sweets? Bread? Alcohol (it’s really not a food is it, no matter how much you want it to be!)? I hope you aren’t totally giving up all of these, and most of all, I hope you aren’t giving up on my favorite food – cheese!
Seems crazy to me to even contemplate giving up such a fantastic food but some people think……(drum roll) cheese isn’t good for you. Can you imagine?! CRAZY! If you are one of those people I am here to save you from your own “do not eat” list, and maybe even, save your life.
Cheese is GOOD for you! Really! I was so happy to find that out years ago, when I became a cheesemaker. Cheese doesn’t make me fat, bloated, ill, upset or mean. It doesn’t make me break out or break things. What a relief to find out that what I was dedicating my life to wasn’t a bad choice for my body. I knew somehow – professionally and healthfully – that something so tasty, versatile, natural, and with a 4000 year history, must work for us humans.
Did you know that some of the highest consumers of cheese in the world are some of the healthiest? The French and the Greeks. One report claims that the average French person eats 57 pounds of cheese per year. The Wall Street Journal noted humorously that “the French are both mocked for the amount of cheese they eat and envied because it doesn’t seem to make them fat.” The average Greek eats a whopping 68 pounds, yet the Mediterranean diet has been heralded as one of the best in the world for quite a while now – leaving Greeks as anything but whoppers.
One caveat here. When I talk about cheese being healthy, I am NOT talking about processed cheese foods. That’s just not cheese. And you’d never catch a Frenchman, or Frenchwoman, eating that!
Here are some good hard facts about why cheese can stay on your 2016 good list (and might actually save your life!):
- Calcium. The calcium in cheddar cheese helps maintain strong bones and teeth, may relieve PMS symptoms, and can help maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Omega-3s. Cheese is high in Omega-3s, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis.
- Protein. Cheese is an excellent source of protein, which helps your body repair cells and make new ones.
- Sexy Time! According to an article by Sharon Feiereisen, cheese contains phenylethylamine (PEA), one of the ingredients that gives chocolate its reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. PEA is responsible for the release of endorphins; fresh cheeses like young goat cheese are reported to contain more than ten times as much PEA as chocolate.
- Dopamine. A chemical that causes a “feel-good” response in the body. Cheese is high in dopamine and eating dopamine-triggering foods can benefit your health.
Did I convince you? Listen to Mandy Oaklander, who writes in a recent article for Time magazine on cheese. “The results are clear: even nutrition buffs go weak in the knees for cheese”. And guess what Mandy, so do I!
For a healthy new year (and life) eat more cheese! Happy New Year!