If you can’t turn down a wedge of Brie or a chunk of cheddar, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are many benefits of cheese. It still contains fat and calories, so you can’t live on cheese alone, but when you do indulge, it’s nice to know you’re doing your health a favor at the same time. Once you know the benefits of cheese, you can enjoy a favorite treat and know you’re taking care of yourself at the same time.
1. It Protects Your Bones
Dairy foods are one of the best ways to increase your calcium intake. Calcium is a nutrient that’s vital for healthy bones. If you don’t get enough, you run the scary risk of brittle bones and osteoporosis. You might consider those old lady diseases, but they can strike the younger crowd. So, increasing your calcium intake might just be the best of the many benefits of cheese.
2. It Contains Zinc
Cheese contains zinc, which plays a role in healthy skin. Zinc promotes tissue growth and repair, so a deficiency can result in skin conditions you don’t want to mess around with. Zinc is also important for eyes and can help prevent diseases associated with aging. You might be young now, but not taking good care of your eyes now can mean problems in the future. Those years will sneak up on you, so make sure you’re getting enough zinc from cheese and other foods throughout your life.
3. It Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
When I feel like neglecting my healthy teeth routine, I picture myself with missing teeth. It’s not pretty. Tooth decay occurs when plaque builds up on your teeth and damages the enamel. Eating hard cheeses, such as cheddar, after a meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which helps rinse debris left over from your meal off your teeth. You can’t replace brushing with eating more cheese, but it can help when you don’t have a toothbrush with you.
4. It Increases Your Intake of Protein
Protein plays a huge role in many of your bodily functions. It contributes to healthy skin, hair and nails. It’s also vital for strong muscles. Protein helps your muscles function and repair after a workout. Cheese is a great source of protein, along with other dairy foods, so you can feel good about that extra wedge tonight.
5. It Eases PMS
If you’re knocked flat by PMS symptoms every month, look no further than a serving of cheese. Don’t worry, you’re not hearing something that’s too good to be true. The calcium in cheese can help ease the mood swings, water retention and pain that come with PMS. The carbs in cheese can help with mood swings as well. So if you’re craving carbs, go ahead and have a chunk of cheese.
6. It Has Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient you can only get from animal foods, like cheese. It plays a role in converting your food into energy, so you definitely don’t want to skimp on it. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have the energy to get through the day. It wouldn’t be good, I can tell you that!
7. It’s Versatile
Cheese can be used for so many things, there’s really no reason why you can’t have a little bit every day. Add shredded cheese to salad or toss a slice on your sandwich. Melt cheese on a tortilla and salsa for a tasty snack. If you eat a ton of cheese, it pays to go for low-fat versions, which are lower in saturated fat and calories and are much better for your health, but still offer the same benefits.
What’s your favorite kind of cheese? I’m partial to goat cheese on bread with roasted red peppers and green olives. Knowing it’s good for me makes it even better!