Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cheese is good food.

Cheese is a delicious and tremendously efficient source of nutrition. It supplies many valuable nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, sugars, and trace elements. A 4oz. piece of solid farmhouse cheese supplies over half the adult nutritional requirements for protein, fat, calcium and phosphorous as well as significant portions of vitamins A, B2, and B12. If you compare the nutritional content of 100 grams of an aged cheese like cheddar or Emmental to an equivalent amount of chicken eggs (2 eggs are about 100 grams), the cheese contains nearly twice as much protein and only a quarter of the cholesterol.

The miracle of evolution has ensured that milk is an extremely nutritious food. Without it, how would mothers, down through the eons, have guaranteed the survival of their precious newborns. Cheese has the same nutrients as the milk it came from except they are much more concentrated, which makes it a highly efficient delivery method.

Plants in the pasture have absorbed nutrients from the soil; the dairy animals have extracted those nutrients, packing them in the form of milk. The cheese makers have concentrated and preserved the milk.

Another advantage of cheese is that its nutrients are "predigested" by bacteria and enzymes during the cheese making and aging. This means the process of breaking down its proteins, fats and sugars has already begun before our digestive system goes to work. This enables our body to devote less effort to processing and digesting the cheese than many other comparably nutritious foods.

Nutrition experts increasingly recognize that fat tastes good and satisfies us and also that there are beneficial fats available in milk. Many of them work as antioxidants and also provide fat soluble vitamins good for our skin and organs. In cheese, milk fats undergo lipolysis, which breaks them down into more easily absorbed and beneficial fatty acids, some of which, in turn enable us to metabolize the fats from other foods.

It is true that cheese has some "bad fats"- the saturated type from animal sources, which are associated with bad cholesterol- but it also has lots of good ones. Cheese, especially those made from the milk of grass fed animals, are a good source of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a highly beneficial nutrient, which is considered an antioxidant, a cancer fighter, and miraculously a fat reducing fat! (Studies have shown that people and animals consuming more CLA eat less.)

Real cheese delivers a big bang for your buck. It represents very concentrated nutrition, so a little goes a long way. Consider it takes 10 units of milk to make one unit of cheese. So all those nutrients are packed into a convenient, portable package. The best part is, that to us those nutrients translate into flavor. The more nutritious grasses the animal ate, the more flavorful the milk will be, and consequently more intense and delicious the cheese will be.

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