As you may already know, feta cheese is a type of cheese which can be made with goat or sheep milk and its flavor is bold and tangy.
This particular cheese boasts amazing minerals and vitamins and it can also contain saturated fat and sodium. It should definitely be a part of every diet because of its beneficial nutrients.
This soft cheese has several to no holes and unlike other cheese, for example, French cheeses, that have skin, feta doesn’t.
Even though the nutrients depend on the particular type of feta, most of them offer riboflavin, vitamins A, B6, zinc, phosphorus, and a lot of trace minerals like manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Common in Mediterranean cuisine and very popular in Greece, it’s definitely a popular cheese that’s added to various types of dishes, from appetizers to desserts.
Should You Add Feta Cheese to Your Diet?
Cheese is abundant in some important nutrients, like calcium for healthy bones and teeth, zinc for wound healing and stronger immunity, and vitamin A for good eye and skin health.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should begin eating cheese without limit, but consume it carefully and moderately.
Opt for quality feta to ensure it’s healthy, as well as cheese that’s not processed, it’s acquired from grass-fed animals, and certified organic.
What Kind of Cheese Is Feta?
Did you know that feta cheese originates from Greece and that it’s a PDO product, i.e. only cheese which is made in specific parts of Greece can be referred to as feta?
In these areas, the feta is made with milk from goats and sheep that are grass-fed and it’s this environment that provides it with unique properties.
It’s produced in blocks and it’s quite firm; however, it can crumble during cutting. In the mouth, it has a creamy feel.
Best Health Benefits of Feta Cheese
Good for the bones
Cheese is the major calcium source in Western diets and feta cheese is abundant in phosphorus, calcium, and protein, all of which have been found to improve bone health.
And, milk made from goats and sheep has more phosphorus and calcium than that from cows. So, adding it to your diet may help you acquire the RDA of calcium.
Soothes the gut
Probiotics are friendly bacteria which are good for our gut bacteria and feta contains Lactobacillus plantarum that accounts for around 48 percent of its bacteria.
They can help improve the immunity and gut by keeping the intestinal tract safe from bacteria that can cause disease such as E. coli and salmonella.
They also possess anti-inflammatory advantages.
Rich in good fatty acids
CLA is a type of fatty acid present in animal products and it has been found to better body composition, lower fat mass, and boost lean body mass. Plus, it may help in reducing the chance for diabetes and it also has anti-cancer properties.
Cheese that’s made from sheep milk has a higher CLA concentration than that made from goats or cows and feta cheese may have up to 1.9 percent CLA that accounts for 0.8 percent of its fat content.
Although the content lowers during the processing and storing, according to a study, the usage of bacterial cultures in the making could help elevate the CLA concentration.
Important to Note
- It’s rich in sodium
Feta cheese has 312 mg of sodium in an ounce of serving that accounts for up to 13 percent of the RDI. So, for people sensitive to salt, it’s good to rinse the cheese prior to consumption to lower the salt content.
- It has lactose
Unripe cheese is usually higher in lactose than aged ones. As feta is unripened, it contains higher lactose levels than some other cheese. So, if you’re allergic or intolerant to lactose, avoid it.
- Not suitable for pregnant women
Pregnant women are often advised to stay away from raw veggies and meat, and unpasteurized dairy as they can be contaminated with bacteria from water and soil known as Listeria monocytogenes.