Health

Brie Stetho
Beginning in 2010 we have focussed our resourcing more and more on cheeses that are functional food, based on the newest studies that prove the health benefits of artisan cheeses. We consulted scientists, doctors, pharmacists, farmers and cheese makers. Here is what we found.

INTRODUCTION*

Cheese has a long history in the human diet. In ancient times, cheese was primarily a concentrated form of milk with the benefit of a prolonged shelf life.

Recent advances in science have highlighted the contribution of cheese to nutrition and health. It is a rich source of essential nutrients; in particular proteins, bioactive peptides, amino acids, fat, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.  The high concentration of essential amino acids in cheese contributes to growth and development of the human body.

Despite the presence of a notable amount of saturated and trans fatty acids, there is no evidence relating the consumption of cheese to any disease. Quite contrary: Conjugated linoleic acid and sphingolipids present in cheese may have anti-carcinogenic properties. The high concentration of calcium in cheese is well known to contribute to the formation and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, but also shows a positive effect on blood pressure and helps in loosing weight in combination with low-energy diets.

Cheese is an important dairy product and an integral part of a healthful diet due to its substantial contribution to human health…

…go to the study

Not all cheeses have the same effect: Commercial production with the animals being fed hay, silage, supplements etc delivers a lot of milk. But these cheeses do never reach the nutrition levels of mountain, and most of all Alpage cheeses (summer production). The richness of the meadows are essential (see “The French, the Swiss and other paradoxs”).

*Courtesy of Agroscope, Berne, Switzerland

The Goods
The Benefits
Proteins
are essential for developing and renewing tissue, 3.5 oz of cheese deliver around 1 oz of protein!
The Federal Nutrition Departments
of Germany, Austria and Switzerland recommend that an adult intake 30% of the daily energy through fat. On a 2400 kcal diet that’s almost 3 oz of fat. 2 oz of cheese deliver 25% of that value.
Calcium
is arguably the most important mineral in cheese. Adults should intake 1000mg, adolescents even 1200mg of calcium a day. 3.5 oz (100gr) of hard or semihard cheeses deliver the daily amount for an adult. Calcium is not only essential for the bones and teeth, it plays a major factor in the transmission of impulses in the nervous system.
Zinc & Phosphorous
are abundant in cheese, the amounts are higher in hard than soft cheeses. Zinc works as an activator for many enzymes, is important for storing Insulin and strengthens the immune system. Phosphorus is beneficial for bones & teeth.
Cheese fights carries
still the most prevalent dental disease. Bacteria ferment sugar and starch which creates acids that attack the tooth enamel. A bite of (aged)cheese though brings pH rapidly to normal levels due to calcium and phosphorus.
Cheese fights cancer, too
It contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and sphingolipids which are anti-carcinogenic compounds. Vitamin amounts are significantly higher in cheese compared to milk. Vitamin A by a factor of 5.4, Vitamin E by 4.8, B2 by 3.4 and B1 by 1.7.

 

True? No, False.

 

If you are lactose intolerant, you can’t eat cheese.

Lactose is partly washed away with the whey and the rest fermented into lactic acid within 24 hours of ripening. All types of cheese except fresh and, in a few cases, soft cheese, are free of lactose. So are all buffalo milk cheeses.

The trans fatty acids in cheese enhance the risk of coronary heart disease.

Clinical studies show quite the opposite: trans fatty acids of ruminants do not alter the cholesterol, even a negative correlation has been observed in men and women. It is mostly unnatural trans fatty acids resulting from the incomplete hardening of vegetable oils that increase the risk of heart disease.

If you want to lose weight with a low-energy-diet you should stay away from eating cheese.

Again, the newest research shows different. In fact, overweight women seem the ones to profit mostly from a low-energy-diet that includes the consumption of (full-fat) cheeses. They also have a high satiety value.

People with high blood pressure should not consume diary products.

In several studies dairy products have shown a beneficial effect on blood pressure, especially in mildly hypertensive subjects. Two main components seem to be relevant in this situation: calcium and bioactive peptides. Instead: Failure to ingest adequate amounts of dairy products increases the risk of hypertensive heart disease.

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