Another food of the gods?

Cheese. Mankind’s first and best fast food which has come, over time, to be called a Food of the Gods.

Delicious,nutritious, a great source of calcium, and hard to get enough of.

Cheese is very valuable food; being rich in protein, it may be used as a substitute for meat. A pound of cheese is equal in protein to two pounds of beef. Cheese in the raw state is difficult of digestion. This is somewhat overcome by cooking and adding a small amount of bicarbonate of soda. A small piece of rich cheese is often eaten to assist digestion.

Tasty Health Benefits

With its many tasty benefits, cheese plays a healthy role in your diet and lifestyle. Even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can incorporate cheese into your meals and still feel great. So, do something good for yourself – have some cheese – and read more about why cheese is a basic building block for good nutrition.

It’s a myth that if you are trying to eat right, cheese is not on the menu. In fact, you can be depriving yourself of some important nutritional benefits. Did you know the calcium cheese provides not only helps prevent osteoporosis – it may help reduce the risk of hypertension and colon cancer?

That cheese supplies essential nutrients like riboflavin, phosphorus, zinc and Vitamins A and Vitamin B12? That a one-ounce slice of cheese provides the same amount of protein as two tablespoons of peanut butter – with fewer calories?

Cheese: Biblical

Jesse the Bethlehemite, father of David, told David on that fateful day he was to kill Goliath (which David didn’t know): “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers; also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand” (1 Samuel, 17:17).

Then we have Job. With his oxen as asses slain; his sheep, his camels, and his servants; his 7 sons and his 3 daughters all dead; himself afflicted with sores “from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head“–Job at last complained. As Job apostrophized to God, “Didst thou not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?” (Job 10:10).

Cheese Nutrition

You get the point. Cheese can be a healthy part of your diet when balanced with exercise and overall good nutrition.

Cheese is a great ingredient for any meal. Not only does it taste great but it’s jam packed with nutrients, such as calcium — essential for building strong bones.

Half an ounce of cheese has about one-third fewer calories, 10 times less cholesterol and four times more calcium than an egg.

Sprinkle cheese on a salad or add a slice to your favorite sandwich — it’s easy with cheese!

Cheese and Calcium

The National Osteoporosis Foundation warns that 28 million Americans don’t get enough calcium and are at risk for osteoporosis. Recent studies show that adequate calcium intake helps regulate blood pressure, reduces the risks of colon cancer, and even lessens symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

So, what is the connection between calcium, good health, and cheese? You do the math: A 1-ounce slice of cheese can provide 20 to 25 percent of your daily recommended amount of calcium.

Cheese and Weight Loss

A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that cheese, of all things, plays a role in weight loss. Researchers compared urine and fecal samples from people whose diets were rich in either cheese or milk, and cheese eaters had higher levels of butyrate, a compound made by gut bacteria that’s linked to lower blood cholesterol. This comes on the heels of a study that found eating more cheese may trigger weight loss when it’s part of a low refined carb diet.

Researchers also suspect that harder, mature cheeses like Parmesan, Gruyere, and aged Cheddar have more fat burning potential.

Protection Against Dental Caries

Certain cheeses may help to reduce the risk of dental decay (caries). Cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, blue, Monterey Jack, Brie, Gouda, mozzarella, and Roquefort, as well as process American cheese, exhibit a potential protective effect against tooth decay. The chemical or physical characteristics of cheese responsible for its protective action against tooth decay are not completely understood.

However, cheese has a number of properties that may help reduce risk of tooth decay Cheese’s beneficial effect may be explained in part by its texture, which increases saliva flow. This in turn reduces the increase in cavity-causing acids by plaque bacteria and increases the clearance of sugars from the oral cavity. Components of cheese such as protein, calcium, and phosphorus may prevent acid demineralization and enhance remineralization of tooth enamel. The protective effect of cheese against dental caries may also be explained by an antibacterial effect of components in cheese (e.g., fatty acids).

Eating cheese immediately after meals, or as a between-meal snack in place of snacks that promote dental caries, may be a practical way to reduce tooth decay.

Cheese Facts

  • cheese benefitsAsiago is named for the northern Italian village in which it was created. Cheese makers in the United States began producing Asiago in the mid 1900s.
  • To keep cheese moist, wrap it in a soft cloth wrung out of vinegar and keep it in an earthen jar with the cover slightly raised.
  • When too much fat is removed from cheese, it may have a rubbery texture. The fat in cheese gives it the smooth texture we prefer. Cheeses that are the exceptions, like ricotta, camembert and brie have higher water content, and a low fat content.
  • Most cheese substitutes are produced from soybean vegetable fat.
  • The higher the water content of cheeses, such as cottage cheese, the faster they tend to go bad. Cottage cheese lasts for only three weeks after it is produced. Remember to store it upside down and mix the liquid (whey) back in.
  • Cheddar cheese is so low in moisture that it can last for years. However, it will get a stronger taste as it ages. Low fat cheeses do not have a long shelf life due to their increased water content. You are just paying for more water.
  • Cheddar cheese gets its name from the English village of Cheddar Gorge.
  • Grate small bits of cheeses that are leftover to get variety. Makes a great topping for salads and casseroles.
  • 100 grams of cheese equals 25 grams of protein.
  • The average woman needs 46 grams of protein per day, the average man 56 grams.
  • It takes eight pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. One ounce (average slice) of cheese equals as much fat and protein as one cup of milk. Also, it is a concentrated source of cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • The cheese industry has developed numerous methods of changing a good quality product into a chemical smorgasbord. While most cheeses are naturally white (not yellow), the industry has resorted to a variety of artificial chemicals to make cheeses more appealing to us visually.
  • The following is just a partial list of these chemicals that are used to give cheese their sharp taste, to color them, to make them smell more appealing or to thicken them. They include: malic acid, tartaric acid, phosphoric acid, alginic acid, aluminum potassium phosphate, diacetyl, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, benzyl peroxide and certain yellow dyes.
  • These same chemicals that are used to alter cheeses are used for making cement, bleaching clothes, producing cosmetics and even rust-proofing metals.
  • Cheese is an excellent food but you should be more aware of the kinds of cheeses to choose from. Try to purchase cheeses made from part skim milk, low fat milk, non fat milk and are labeled natural. Also, try to find one that says that it contains no preservatives or additives.
  • An ounce of cream cheese may contain as much as 110 calories. True, it does have fewer calories than butter for a comparable weight, but we tend to use more.
  • Try to choose from low sodium and reduced fat cheeses.
  • A dental study showed that a number of cheeses will actually help to prevent cavities. These include: Romano, Muenster, Gouda, Swiss, Edam, Monterey Jack, Tilsit, Port du Salut, processed American cheese singles and aged Cheddar.
  • Moldy cheese may contain a harmful toxin (alflatoxin), especially gorgonzola, blue cheese and Roquefort.
  • If a cheese is natural, the name of the cheese will be preceded by the word natural, or will not have anything preceding the name of the cheese.
  • One cup of grated cheese is made from one-quarter pound of cheese.
  • The wax coating on cheeses will protect it. If there is an exposed edge, try covering it with butter to keep the cheese moist and fresh.
  • Cottage cheese will remain fresher for a longer period of time if you store it upside down in the refrigerator. Many chefs keep a number of different products upside down if they will move in the container. This slows the effects of oxidation.
  • To keep cheese longer without it forming mold, place a piece of paper towel that has been dampened with white vinegar in the bottom of a plastic container that has a good seal before adding the cheese.
  • Another way to prevent mold from forming on cheese is to store the cheese in a sealed container with two lumps of sugar.
  • Soft cheeses can be grated using a metal colander and a potato masher.
  • Dishes with cheese should be cooked slower to avoid curdling and stringiness.
  • A dull knife works better to cut cheese. Warm the knife and the cheese will cut like butter.
  • Yellow cheese: 71 percent of the calories are fat, 39 of those saturated.
  • Dried out cheese (without mold) should be saved and grated, then used for cooking.
  • The U.S. is the leading producer of cheese in the world. Wisconsin is the leading state.
  • There are approximately 800 varieties of cheese in the world. The U.S. produces 200 of them.
 

Cheese Preferred

With a little imagination, cheese can turn ordinary dishes into great tasting meals, and, at the same time, provide a significant portion of the calcium you need each day.

Whether it’s a hunk, chunk, cube or slice… melted, crumbled, shredded or spread… versatile cheese is the perfect ingredient to slip into almost any meal. Try these easy, creative ideas to incorporate cheese into some of America’s most popular foods:

When a recipe calls for sharp Cheddar cheese and you haven’t any on hand, a dash of black pepper and ground mustard and Worcestershire sauce added to a mild cheese will give it a sharp flavor.

  • Team chunks of cheese with your favorite fruits and serve on short skewers for a crowd-pleasing appetizer kabob.
  • Liven up ordinary breakfast foods like omelets and frittatas by melting shredded cheese over the top.
  • Spoon shredded cheese over baked potatoes and top it off with other favorite ingredients, such as salsa or broccoli.
  • Add pizzazz to “ho-hum” side dishes, such as steamed vegetables or rice, by drizzling melted cheese over them.
  • Swiss cheese has great melting power.
  • Melt a slice of cheese over a toasted bagel or English muffin for a quick, portable breakfast.
  • Roll up a slice of cheese with your favorite luncheon meats in a tortilla for a delicious twist on the all-American sandwich.
  • Use shredded cheese to top off your favorite casserole, soup or salad.
  • Add extra taste to your favorite Italian dishes with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
  • Tasty Tip: Cut grilled cheese sandwiches into sticks to dip into salsa.

Cheese it? High-fat foods can have a place in low-fat cooking — if you know how to pick your spots. For a true cheese flavor in gratins and pasta dishes, use small amounts of aged cheese, such as extra-sharp cheddar or Reggiano Parmesan. A tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese has only 22 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. The result is far more satisfying than using a larger amount of a bland, low-fat cheese.

Trimming Tidbit: Replacing mild Cheddar cheese with sharp boosts the flavor enough so that you can cut the amount of full fat cheese called fro in the recipe … without cutting out the flavor.

Unique Sweet Cheese Pairings

  • Gorgonzola and Honey. Gorgonzola cheese is even better with a drizzle of honey. The sweetness plays up the flavor of gorgonzola, which contains only 100 calories per ounce. And healthful honey eases coughs and soothes tummies.
  • Feta and Figs. Dried or sweet figs are wonderful paired with feta cheese. This classic Greek cheese can be made from sheep’s, goat’s or cow’s milk.
  • Manchego and Membrillo. Membrillo is paste made from the quince fruit. It’s amazing layered over Manchego, a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk.
  • Stilton and Port. Dessert wines are nearly fool-proof with cheese. Nutty Stilton (a firm blue cheese) and port are made for each other.
  • Cheddar and Mango Chutney. Put out a block of Cheddar and serve it with mango chutney, a traditional British combination.
  • Camembert and Grapes. Fall fruit makes a juice and low calorie counterpoint to pungent, soft-ripened Camembert.
  • Goat Cheese and Dark Chocolate. Yes, really. Earthy goat cheese brings out the fruitiness in dark chocolate.

Guilt Free Cheese for Vegetarians

A great cheese for vegetarians that actually tastes good! This is a grated Parmesan style topping to use as a cheese alternative. Sprinkle a little on all your favorite foods. For example, pizza, pasta dishes, soups and salads. Go veggie is dairy and gluten free, too.

What Is Neufchatel Cheese?

Neufchatel is a traditional, soft-white, table cheese, originating from the village of Neufchatel-en-Bray in northern Normandy. Made from cow’s milk, it is one of France’s oldest cheeses, dating back as far as 1035. It is similar to cream cheese, but generally contains less fat.

Yummy: Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

Cook 12 to 16 ounces refrigerated cheese ravioli according to directions. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine one 16-ounce can rinsed and drained chickpeas, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, 1-tablespoon olive oil, 1-tablespoon dried basil, one-half teaspoon salt; mix well. Add cooked ravioli, toss gently to mix and coat. Serve immediately.

Light Toasted Cheese Sandwich

Not only is this cheese sandwich faster than a grilled, easier and cleaner to make, it’s lower in fat and calories thanks to your toaster and microwave.

  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 slices reduced fat Cheddar cheese
  • Leaf lettuce or chopped spinach

Using your toaster, toast your bread to suit your toast preference. As soon as the toast pops out of your toaster, place two slices of reduced-fat Cheddar (or other favorite of your own) between the two slices of bread. Immediately pop into the microwave on a paper towel or microwave safe plate and microwave about 30 seconds to melt the cheese.

Suggestions:

Add some leaf or chopped spinach on the cheese for an added nutrition kick. You can also use two types of cheese for a nice variety.

Slimming Suggestion: If you prefer grilling your sandwich the “usual” way, try using butter-flavored non-stick cooking spray in place of the butter on your bread.

Cheesy Polenta

Cheesy polenta is an easy and versatile side dish. Simply bring 3 cups of water or low-sodium chicken broth to a boil and whisk in instant polenta. Cook until the grains dissolve, adding more liquid if needed. Before serving, stir in your favorite shredded cheese, salt, and black pepper and if desired, fresh or dried herbs such as oregano or thyme. For creamy polenta, add a touch of milk or cream before serving.

Cheesy Bagel Melt

Place 2 slices of your favorite low-fat cheese between two halves of a whole-wheat bagel. Microwave just until the cheese melts. A perfect breakfast for grab-and-go!

Did you know?

In 1915, processed American cheese was introduced to American stores by J.L. Kraft.

History Lore

According to British author T. A. Layton (1957), cheese was invented by accident:

There was a merchant from Arabia, so the story goes, way back in the mists of history, who put his day’s supply of milk into a pouch made of a sheep’s stomach. He hoisted himself upon his camel and clip-clopped over the desert. The beast’s ambling movement, the residual rennet of the sheep-stomach pouch, and the hot sun did the rest. That evening, the first drink of whey quenched the nomad’s thirst – and his hunger was satisfied by the curd. Cheese was born.

Did you know?

The average American eats 1/2 ton of cheese in a lifetime.

Because Parmigiano-Reggiano is all natural and so easily digested, it’s one of the first solid foods fed to babies in Italy.

Read More: Food Facts