Cheese: it’s the guest of honor at every gathering, the comfort in every bite, and perhaps, a slight concern for the health-conscious among us. But before you relegate cheese to the list of forbidden foods, let’s take a whirl through the dairy aisle with a different lens. Not all cheeses are created equal, and some come with surprising health benefits that might just allow you to keep saying “cheese” with a smile. Here are the healthiest types of cheese and the reasons they deserve a spot on your plate.

mozzarella cheese

1. Mozzarella: The Light Delight

Mozzarella, especially the part-skim variety, is a lighter cheese option that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Rich in protein and calcium, it supports muscle health and bone strength. Its high moisture content also means it’s lower in fat and calories compared to its aged counterparts. Bonus: Mozzarella is a great source of probiotics, particularly when it’s fresh, aiding in gut health. So go ahead, top that tomato salad or whole wheat pizza with a guilt-free sprinkle.

2. Feta: The Mediterranean Marvel

Feta, a staple in Greek cuisine, is celebrated not just for its tangy taste but also for its health benefits. Made primarily from sheep’s milk, it’s rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), known for its potential to combat obesity and improve body composition. Feta is also lower in fat and calories than many other cheeses and is a good source of B vitamins, calcium, and phosphorus. Its strong flavor means a little goes a long way, perfect for adding zest to salads and dishes without overdoing it.

ricotta cheese

3. Cottage Cheese: The Protein Powerhouse

Cottage cheese is often the go-to for fitness enthusiasts—and for good reason. It’s packed with casein, a slow-digesting protein that keeps you feeling full longer. Low in fat (especially the low-fat or no-fat varieties) and high in protein, it’s an excellent choice for muscle maintenance and weight management. Cottage cheese also offers a generous amount of selenium, an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in protecting your cells from damage.

4. Ricotta: The Versatile Virtue

Ricotta cheese boasts more whey protein than most other cheeses, making it a fantastic pick for muscle repair and growth. It’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and B. Its creamy texture makes it a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes, allowing for delicious experimentation without compromising on health.

goat cheese

5. Goat Cheese: The Digestive Aid

Goat cheese, or chèvre, is not only flavorful but also easier on the digestive system for those who are lactose intolerant. It contains less lactose and fewer allergenic caseins compared to cow’s milk cheese. Goat cheese is also high in fatty acids, which can improve satiety and promote a healthy metabolism. Its rich content of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, calcium, and magnesium, makes it a nutrient-dense addition to your diet.

cheese board

Cheese, Please!

In the grand symphony of healthy eating, cheese can indeed play a harmonious part. Like all good things, moderation is key. Opting for these healthier cheese varieties allows you to enjoy the decadence of cheese without compromising on your wellness goals. So the next time you’re navigating the cheese platter, remember these picks. Pair them with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for a balanced and nutritious diet. Let’s raise a slice to health, happiness, and the delightful world of cheese!

By Stanislav Kondrashov