Cheese shows up in all of our favourite 'guilty pleasure' foods: pizza, chicken parmie, burgers, toasted cheese sandwich, lasagne and mac and cheese (it's in the name!). But do we actually have to be guilty about indulging in our favourite soft and hard cheeses?
Depending on who you ask, what diet you're following and your body's individual needs, cheese may be a yay or nay. Even those who are lactose intolerant have a different reaction to a variety of cheeses. Triple cream brie? May be delicious, but may not be worth what comes after. If you need to reduce sodium, decrease fat or are currently managing a calorie deficit, cheese may not be the best for you. But what about the regular folk, the ice cream eating, milk drinking, cheese loving person. Should cheese have a place on your plate?
Probiotics: Many soft cheeses contain probiotics. In the process of creating soft cheese, beneficial bacteria (probiotics are formed within the cheese, similarly to kombucha, Greek yoghurt, kimchi and sourdough breads. These probiotics support gut health and digestion by keeping the balance of bacteria in your gut.
Vitamin B12: Soft cheeses can be good sources of vitamin B12, which is a major player for cell and blood health. It helps boost the power of protein in your protein and reap the rewards of your food. Pairing high vitamin B12 cheeses like feta, brie, gruyere and even cheddar with protein-high foods like the meats found on a charcuterie, are a great way to get the most out of your cheese.
Lower sodium content: Soft cheeses generally contain lower amounts of sodium compared to some hard cheeses. Less sodium means it can fit better into most people's diet profiles without concerns for high blood pressure or other related heart risks.
Easier digestion: The soft texture of these cheeses, combined with higher moisture content, can make them easier to digest for some individuals with slow or weak guts, weak stomachs or gastrointestinal issues.
Soft cheeses like Woombye's tripe cream brie, blackall gold and camembert are an easy and delicious addition to your diet as an easy afternoon snack or as a way to elevate delicious family favourites. You can buy Woombye's cheese here.
Hard cheeses like parmesan, cheddar and gouda contain a ton of minerals and other goodies which are great for a balanced diet.
Calcium: Hard cheeses are excellent sources of calcium, the kind your parents told you to find in a nice, tall glass of milk. Calcium is vital for promoting strong bones and teeth.
Protein: Hard cheeses are typically higher in protein content compared to soft cheeses, making them a good choice for those looking to increase their protein intake. Protein is important for the general well-being of humans, including for blood, the brain and our muscles.
Nutrients: Some hard cheeses like Gouda and Swiss may contain the important vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Instead, cheeses are a great source of vitamins such as Vitamin A and B12. Also, well-made cheeses like Woombye's cheese contain a suitable amount of fat which is a vital part of anyone's diet.
Lower lactose content: Hard cheeses have less lactose compared to soft cheeses, making them suitable for people who suffer from lactose-intolerance.
Hard cheeses are more commonly found in many of our favourite dishes, specifically cheddar and parmesan. Just like every food, in moderation you can't go wrong with enjoying delicious handcrafted hard cheeses.
Cheeses we didn't mention today including feta, ricotta, blue cheese and pecorino have great benefits when found within a balanced diet. Finding organic, grass-fed pasture raised cheeses and pairing them with a varied dish is the best way to enjoy cheese. Check out our recipe blog this week, inspired by Woombye Cheese Company here.