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For ages, cheese has been part and parcel of daily life in Europe, the Americas, Australia and nearly every country of the world that has a cold climate, except certain countries in the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle Eastern region. Cheese is prepared from milk or milk products such as curd. That being said, India and some of its neighboring countries have been using a slightly different form of cheese which is commonly known as ‘cottage cheese’ or ‘paneer’ for generations. There are many varieties and flavors of cheese available all around the world. The health benefits of cheese include the following.
Cheese has a very high calcium content, the first and foremost thing you need for strong teeth. Moreover, it is very low in lactose content. The older the cheese, the lower the lactose content. This also is beneficial for the teeth as any form of sugar (glucose, maltose or lactose) in food can harm the teeth. Cheese causes to produce more saliva in the mouth which helps to clear food and reduce the amount of sugar present for fermentation and acid production by mouth bacteria. Saliva also helps to neutralise the acid that is formed, and can help to inhibit the action of plaque bacteria helping to reduce acid production and damage.
Apart from having a very high calcium content, cheese is also rich in vitamin-B, which is very good for children, women (particularly when pregnant or lactating) and elderly people, for the formation and strengthening of bones and cartilage. The vitamin-B in cheese aids to the proper absorption and distribution of calcium.
Osteoporosis is mainly a deficiency disease which is caused due to a deficiency of calcium (non-absorption), resulting in a decrease in bone mineral density. This is particularly seen in women who have undergone menopause, elderly people and children who suffer from malnutrition. This can be treated with protein, calcium and a vitamin-rich diet. Calcium alone will not help much, because the problem is with its absorption and its utilization for bone formation. These three components are found in abundance in cheese. Therefore, cheese can be an ideal part of the diet of those suffering from osteoporosis.
Sodium and cholesterol are the two elements mainly considered harmful for hypertension and hypertensive people are advised to avoid them.In this way, cheese should be viewed critically. In general, cheese is not recommended for people suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure). Although low sodium and low fat cheese is helpful in reducing homocysteine, an agent which is often related with heart diseases, this fact still does not make it recommendable for hypertensive people. Another thing in cheese that can help hypertensive people is the vitamin-B content, if they do choose to eat it.
Cheese is an excellent food for gaining weight. Cheese is full of proteins, fats, calcium, vitamins and minerals. You need protein for muscle formation and growth, fats for fat-based processes in the body, calcium for heavier and stronger bones and vitamins and minerals for improved metabolic function. You just need to eat a lot of them, do your exercise and sleep an adequate amount.
It contains a lot of vitamin-B which develops in it during the fermentation process. Vitamin-B is very good for maintaining many functions in the body and also for protection against diseases like Beriberi. It also enhances blood formation, strengthens the liver, and facilitates the absorption of nutrients in the body.
People who have lactose intolerance tend to suffer from symptoms such as bloating, production of gas, stomach cramps and diarrhoea which can be painful and unpleasant on consumption of certain lactose. For this reason dairy products are often avoided by this section of the population and this can compromise requirements for nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous towards which dairy products make a significant dietary contribution. Cheese has particularly low lactose content compared with other dairy foods. It is therefore well tolerated by those who suffer with lactose maldigestion or lactose intolerance and provides them with the nutrients in dairy foods.
Over the last 10 years or so, cheese has become widely popular in India and neighboring countries. Contrary to the popular belief of fresh edibles being more nutritious, fermented cheese is far more nutritious than its fresher counterpart. Next time do not grimace about the cheese in your pizza or burger.
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