Not only is it delicious, but Greek feta cheese can also be good for you. Namely, it has a unique nutritional value, so that it is known as “the Healthiest Cheese in the World”.
Nutritional Value of Greek Feta Cheese:
Greek Feta has a great nutritional value, particularly if it is made from organic goat’s or sheep’s milk. This type of cheese is packed with:
- Phosphorous (51% of the recommended daily amount or 506mg per cup)
- Calcium (74% of the recommended daily amount or 739mg per cup)
- Vitamin B12 (42% of the recommended daily amount or 2.5mcg per cup)
- Riboflavin (74% of the recommended daily amount or 1.3mg per cup)
- Protein (about 14 grams per cup)
However, it is also high in:
- Sodium (70% of the recommended daily amount or 1674mg per cup)
- Cholesterol (44% of the recommended daily amount or 133mg per cup)
Here Are a Few Important Therapeutic Effects of Greek Feta Cheese:
People Who Cannot Digest Cow Dairy, Can Tolerate Greek Feta Cheese
Most of the people have different levels of difficulty digesting cow’s milk products. But, by eating feta, you do not have to avoid cheese. High quality Greek feta cheese is made mainly from sheep’s milk and goat’s milk that is much easier on your stomach. So, avoid buying feta that is made from cow’s milk because its flavour and nutritional value are different from the real Greek feta cheese.
Bone Health and Calcium
Feta cheese is packed with calcium. Calcium is a mineral responsible for keeping your bones healthy. Furthermore, it also helps your nerves send messages, your muscles contract, and your blood clot adequately.
Most of your body’s calcium stores are present in your teeth and bones. Also, you lose calcium through your feces, urine, sweat, nails, hair, and skin on a daily basis. Unluckily, your body does not have an ability to create new calcium to replace it. This means that either you get this mineral from your diet, or your body depletes your bones of it, thus resulting in breaks, fractures, and even osteoporosis.
What’s more, other crucial minerals for bone health include magnesium and vitamin D. In short, calcium cannot do its job properly without these nutrients.
Every cell in your body contains protein. We need protein to repair cells and make new ones, and for proper immune function. They function as enzymes, antibodies, messengers, structure and support, transport, and storage. In short, we wouldn’t exist without protein!
Lowers risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Greek Feta has a high protein content, sitting at 4 grams of protein per 28 gram serving. What’s better, is this study that shows how effective protein, especially from animal milk products such as cheese, is at lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The researchers found that the protein in these products has a positive effect on insulin secretions, and that the combination of calcium, magnesium, potassium, specific fatty acids, and low glycemic index sugars have beneficial effects on glucose control, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion. This, in turn, lowers your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Calcium and Bone Health
It’s no surprise that feta cheese is a good source of calcium, the mineral that plays an undeniable role in the health of your bones. Calcium also helps your blood clot properly, your nerves send messages, and your muscles contract. (10, 11)
99% of your body’s calcium stores are found in your bones and teeth, and every day, you lose calcium through your skin, hair, nails, sweat, urine, and feces. Unfortunately, your body cannot produce new calcium to replace it, so either you get it from your diet, or your body steals calcium from your bones, leading to fractures, breaks, and osteoporosis. (10, 11)
Other important minerals for bone health are vitamin D and Magnesium, without them calcium can’t do its job. Read here for more information on vitamin D, and here for more information on Magnesium.
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin crucial for immune function, vision, reproduction, and communication between your cells. (12)
Greek Feta is an excellent source of vitamin A, and the fat content in the cheese makes it more readily absorbed by your body.
- Protein (14g per cup)
- Riboflavin (1.3mg per cup, 74% DV)
- Vitamin B12 (2.5mcg per cup, 42% DV)
- Calcium (739mg per cup, 74% DV)
- Phosphorous (506mg per cup, 51% DV)
- Cholesterol (133mg per cup, 44% DV)
- Sodium (1674mg per cup, 70% DV)
Beyond just pure nutritional content, however, feta cheese has some unique properties about it that make it worthy of being called the healthiest cheese. These five surprising health benefits of feta will perhaps give you the green light when deciding whether or not to add feta cheese to your salad at lunch today.
As mentioned earlier, despite all of its nutritional positives, feta is still cheese, and a salty one at that, so a little goes a long way. Keep it to a sprinkling add pizzazz to a salad, pita, bruschetta bread, or try some along with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey.
Tips on How to Buy Good Quality Greek Feta
- REAL Greek feta is made from sheep or goat’s milk (or a combination of both). NOT from cow milk.
- Watch out for yellowing. Feta should always be white, and is stored in brine to keep it that way. Yellowing means at some point it has been exposed to air outside the brine.
- Buy Greek, if you can. Regulations for Greek feta cheese in Greece are rigorous (they have their priorities straight!) so you know that by purchasing Greek feta cheese, you are getting authentically sourced and produced feta cheese.
- It should have tiny holes on the surface, and shouldn’t crumble too easily. Super crumbly feta means that it was probably made using cows milk (aka fake feta). (13)
Greek Feta cheese has plenty of benefits, and when used in moderation, can help improve your health. Even just a small amount can make even somewhat boring foods taste incredible, so go ahead – indulge in a little feta cheese. Your body (and your taste buds!) will thank you.