France, the country of cheese par excellence!
More than 90% of the French consume cheese once a week and almost half of the population consume it every day!
Cheese is therefore a product rooted in the eating habits of the French.
FROM A NUTRITIONAL POINT OF VIEW
Cheese has many qualities and its nutritional composition depends largely on :
- the origin of the milk (species and breeds of cows, goats, ewes, etc.)
- the type of milk (raw, pasteurized, sterilized, homogenized, etc.)
- the manufacturing processes (soft dough, cooked dough, etc.)
- the methods used (traditional or industrial)
So it is difficult to generalize, knowing that there are more than 1200 varieties of cheese in France!
Nevertheless, the majority of cheeses have the same benefits.
Rich in proteins!
Proteins are essential for our organism, especially to maintain our tissues (skin, muscles, organs), our immune system or to transport oxygen in our vessels!
Besides, the proteins of animal origin contained in cheese are of excellent quality because they have optimal assimilation compared to vegetable proteins.
A 30g portion of cheese provides as much protein as an egg, even 2 eggs for Parmesan, which is one of the richest cheeses in protein!
It is therefore a good way to help cover our daily needs at any age.
A high calcium content
Calcium allows us to maintain our bone capital, blood coagulation, to contract our muscles, and also to make our brain work (nerve conduction)!
With a portion of cheese (about 30g), we can cover almost a third of our calcium intake over the day, which is very interesting.
Cooked pressed cheeses are the richest in calcium (Gruyère, Comté, Beaufort, Parmesan, etc.). As the solid part of the milk (the curd) is heated, most of the components whose calcium will be concentrated thanks to the evaporation of the water, which gives them this richness.
Cheese provides many vitamins, such as the B group vitamins, which help produce energy within our cells, including vitamin B12, which plays a role against stress and fatigue.
There is also a very interesting content of vitamin A in cheese for our organism, contributing to the maintenance of normal vision, healthy skin, and bones, as well as active protection against infections.
The advantage of raw milk cheeses!
Raw milk has not undergone any heat treatment (no pasteurization, sterilization, etc.), it is the milk that comes out of the animal’s udder.
Cheeses made with raw milk have the advantage of ensuring their defense against bacterial proliferation, by naturally limiting the development of pathogenic bacteria.
This bacterial flora of raw milk will have a direct impact on the quality of the final product, i.e. the cheese, and contribute to the development of specific aromas and smells.
Also, raw milk is less allergenic and much more digestible than homogenized milk found in supermarkets (UHT milk), because the structure of the latter is no longer the same when it goes through industrial treatments and is no longer assimilated in the same way by the body.
Raw milk cheeses can therefore have a direct benefit on our intestinal flora and immune system.
The ideal is to choose raw milk cheeses made in an artisanal way as proposed by La Boite du Fromager for example, which offers subscription cheese boxes.
And what about salt in all this?
Most cheeses contain a significant amount of salt because it plays a very important role in the different methods of cheese-making. It is used to form the rind for example or to protect and preserve the cheese.
However, salt is not to be banished (apart from pathologies) from the diet because it is essential to keep a good glycemia (blood sugar level) and to maintain all the exchanges of flows within our cells.
It is also necessary to pay attention to the quality of the salt used because industrial salt will be less beneficial than unrefined natural salt for example.
If one prefers a healthy, unprocessed diet, i.e. with as little industrial food as possible, then a reasonable daily consumption of cheese is entirely feasible and will not cause any salt concerns.
Saturated fats, really that bad?
Cheese is composed mainly of saturated fatty acids, and that doesn’t mean it should be avoided!
Wrongly demonized during the last decades, notably by numerous biased studies that did not take into account different parameters, saturated fats do not increase cholesterol or the risk of cardiovascular disease in reasonable quantities. They remain essential for our organism.
Saturated fats provide us with energy, maintain the structure of our nerve cells and promote the production of many essential hormones.
It’s all a question of quantity, so don’t rush into cheese, but a portion of 30 to 40g per day is part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Does cheese have its place on our plates?
Yes, but on one condition!
You shouldn’t deprive yourself of cheese if you like it!
Being on a diet or paying attention to your figure is perfectly compatible with cheese consumption. Cheese is an integral part of a balanced diet and it is therefore perfectly possible to consume cheese every day.
The only condition is to turn to quality cheeses, with raw milk if possible and made with traditional methods.
Industrial cheeses, often made from “reconstituted” cheeses and poor quality milk that has undergone various treatments should be avoided at all costs. Besides, additives or other molecules that are harmful to the body are usually added to these cheeses for reasons of conservation and cost.
Buying industrial cheeses contributes to the standardization and uniformity of the taste of cheeses (low-quality Emmental type) and to the disappearance of the many varieties of cheeses that make up our cultural heritage. The dairy industry, therefore, offers us products with little “personality”.
It would be a real shame to deprive ourselves of a food offering so many benefits and pleasure.
If you wish to vary your cheese consumption and bet on quality, you can find the products selected by La Boite du Fromager by clicking here.