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Benefits & Harms of Cheese Print

Cheese is the curd of milk separated from the whey and prepared in many ways as a food. It is a nutritious snack but should be consumed in moderation as some are high in saturated fat. For example, a piece of cheddar contains six times as much saturated fat as a sirloin steak of the same weight.

Cheese is a valuable source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is mostly derived from meat. As such, cheese can be an important part of a vegetarian diet.


Cheese contains high amounts of calcium. This may assist towards reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Research indicates that adequate consumption of calcium during childhood and adolescence assists in preventing osteoporosis later in life. The body absorbs calcium from dairy easier than calcium from other foods.


Small amounts of cheese eaten after meals are demonstrated to have to halved the number of cavities caused by sugar. This protection against tooth decay arises from cheese blocking the formation of acids which attack the teeth enamel.

Consuming large amounts of saturated fat leads to high cholesterol levels. This can cause atherosclerosis – a major factor in heart disease and strokes. However, different types of cheeses, have different fat content. Hard cheese such as Cheddar, Parmesan and Stilton contain up to 35% fat. Soft Cheeses such as Camembert and Brie have about 26% fat. Ricotta is 11% and Cottage is 4% fat.

Cheese can be harmful to people who are dairy intolerant in general. It can cause eczema, migraine, ear infection etc. Cheese made from goat’s or sheep’s milk has less adverse reactions than cheese made from cow’s milk.

A chemical tyramine triggers migraines. Blue-veined cheese as well as aged cheeses, are highest in tyramine, e.g. mature Cheddar, Parmesan etc. Unripen cheese, such as cream cheese, cottage cheese and fresh goat’s cheese are less likely to cause migraines. People who are allergic to penicillin should avoid blue cheeses, as these contain penicillin.

Al-Bukhari, at Tirmizi et al record Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as having eaten Aqit, a dried cottage cheese.


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