Are you someone with a history of bad cholesterol and your doctor probably recommended you to keep your hands off cheese? If your answer is ‘yes’, then worry not. We have got you covered. By this time, you must have realized avoiding cheese is not all that easy. After all, how can it be? Everyone loves the heavenly taste of sinful cheese.
But what really makes it so sinful? And is all cheese equally bad? This post will give you all the answers to finding the best low cholesterol cheese shortly after we talk about fats and their link to cholesterol.
How fats and cholesterol are related?
Fats are of two types – saturated and unsaturated, of which saturated fats come from meat and dairy whereas unsaturated fats come from plants, nuts & seeds, and seafood. Where unsaturated fats are good for energy and maintaining healthy cholesterol, saturated fats do the opposite. Saturated fats are responsible for what you may call bad cholesterol or LDL.
Cheese and bad cholesterol
Cheese comes from milk, which means animal fat. Now other than fat, cheese is also rich in what is essential for our body – calcium and protein. Animal fats are high in saturated fats, which cause an increase in bad cholesterol.
Cheddar, parmesan, halloumi, Marscarpone, and cream cheese contain higher fat content whereas skim mozzarella, string cheeses, farmer’s cheese, Goat cheese, feta, and cottage cheese, ricotta, Monterey Jack, Brie, Swiss, Colby, Muenster contain low-fat content.
The texture of the cheese
Cheese takes three categories based on its texture: soft, semi-soft and hard.
Brie, Camembert is soft cheese. Feta, Muenster mozzarella are semi-soft cheese. Parmesan, Swiss, Romano, aged sharp Cheddars are hard cheese.
Fat content in cheese
Now hard cheese generally has more saturated fat than soft ones. Although these three types of cheese will have a different amount of fat content in them. The variations in their fat content are tiny. Therefore, whether you use hard cheese or soft cheese, it will not make much difference.
The sharpness of the cheese
What is more important is the ‘sharpness of the flavors’. Harder cheese has sharper flavors than the other ones. It means that you can use an even lesser amount of hard cheese which is equivalent to more amount of soft cheese.
Cheese with reduced fat
You can also go for cheeses with reduced fats – you will find these with labels of ‘reduced fat’ or ‘low fat’ on market shelves. Here the idea is that the cheese will have 25% less fat than their regular cheese.
Consumption of 2 ounces of reduced fat cheese gives you 40-50% of the recommended daily intake of calcium along with 15 g of protein. Reduced fat cheese has 6g of total fat of which 4g is saturated fat only.
So, now you know which cheese is more favorable than the others for your blood cholesterol, it is time for you to know how to keep in check your cheese consumption.
Tips on healthy cheese consumption
Check your portions
The recommended consumption of cheese per day is two ounces per serving. To watch the portion size almost becomes impossible since cheese comes in block size. If you cannot figure your portion size, know that it is nearly the size of a small matchbox.
You can always enjoy cheese occasionally if you reduce your intake of saturated fats in other forms, i.e. dairy or meat.
Foods for low cholesterol
Go for plant-based unsaturated fats, i.e. nuts and vegetable oil. These help lower cholesterol faster. Take nuts and seeds – they are high in fiber content and help you reduce your cholesterol more quickly.
If you cannot keep track of how much fat or calories you take, make sure you download some diet tracking apps like MyFitnessPal.
Always check labels on cheese products for full information on how much fats and cholesterol is present per ounce.
If you want to have fun eating, then don’t only rely on a diet for lower cholesterol. Do plenty of exercise with plenty of water so that your metabolism is good enough to help you with lowering your cholesterol.
Whether you choose to eat cheese or not, just keep in mind that you limit your daily intake of saturated fats to 7% only. Here, my friends, ‘moderation’ is the only key. You can satiate your taste buds but do not be negligent about your health.