The Cheese Report Card: A Guide to the Best Cheeses


 

Though high in saturated fats, it provides many essential nutrients including protein, vitamin D and zinc as well as calcium.

Here’s a round-up of your favourite cheeses and how healthy they are. All figures are based on a healthy portion size of 30 grams (a matchbox-size chunk).

 

  • Swiss
    120 calories, 9 g fat, 290 mg calciumVery high protein, with a matching high-mineral content. A 30g portion of Emmenthal provides more than a third of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of calcium and nearly a tenth of the RDA for zinc – essential for healthy skin, reproductive health and the immune system.

    Health score: 8/10

    Brie
    96 calories, 8 g fat, 162 mg calcium

    Most people assume it is one of the fattiest cheeses, but it has lower levels than cheddar or stilton and a good quantity of calcium. It is also a reasonable source of zinc and the rind is rich in vitamin B1 – essential for cells to release energy.

    Health score: 6/10

    Camembert

    89 calories, 7 g fat, 105 mg calcium

    Camembert has a third less fat and a quarter fewer calories than hard cheeses. It is high in folic acid which the body needs to make red blood cells, though pregnant women (who need a higher intake of folic acid) should avoid Camembert.

    Health score: 5/10

    Parmesan
    136 calories, 9.8 g fat, 360 mg calcium
    Extremely high in calcium, just a tablespoon of Parmesan grated over pasta supplies 15 per cent of the RDA. It is also the best cheese for zinc, although it is high in salt.

    Health score: 9/10

    Cottage Cheese

    29 calories, 1.2 g fat, 22 mg calcium

    This is the only truly low-fat cheese, making it ideal for slimmers. But the downside is a low calcium content, which reduces its nutritional rating compared with other cheeses.

    Health score: 5/10

     

    Cheddar

    124 calories, 10.3 g fat, 216 mg calcium
    One of the highest-fat cheeses, but it’s also a good source of calcium and zinc. A national favourite, nonetheless.

    Health score: 6/10

    Half-fat cheddar

    78 calories, 4.5 g fat, 252 mg calcium
    Also higher in protein, calcium and zinc than normal cheddar. But on the downside, it’s a bit lower in vitamins A and D.

    Health score: 9/10

    Cream cheese

    132 calories, 14.2 g fat, 29 mg calcium

    The unhealthiest cheese as it is close to 50 per cent pure fat and has only a fraction of the calcium content of many hard cheeses.

    Health score: 2/10

    Edam

    100 calories, 7.6 g fat, 231 mg calcium

    Contains a medium amount of fat, is rich in calcium, but high in salt so is not advisable for high blood pressure sufferers.

    Health score: 8/10

    Goat’s cheese

    59 calories, 4.7 g fat, 57 mg calcium

    Low in calories and richer in vitamin D (an important bone-strengthener) compared with cow’s milk cheeses, although it is not a great source of calcium or zinc.

    Health score: 6/10

    Processed cheese slices

    78 calories, 5.6 g fat, 213 mg calcium
    Rich in calcium and lower in unhealthy saturated fats than unprocessed cheese. Gets its dubious ‘plastic appeal’ from added milk proteins, modified starch, preservatives and emulsifiers.
    Health score: 6/10

    Feta

    75 calories, 6 g fat, 108 mg calcium

    Made with sheep’s milk, it has a moderate amount of calcium and fewer calories than half-fat cheddar. Feta is also a better source of vitamin D than cow’s milk cheese, but is also the saltiest variety – a 30g portion has a fifth of the daily guideline intake for women.

    Health score: 7/10

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    Mozzarella
    90 calories, 7.5 g fat, 155 mg calcium

    A medium-fat cheese which can be disproportionately high in unhealthy saturates. However, it has a good calcium content.

    Health score: 7/10

    Ricotta

    56 calories, 4.4 g fat, 63 mg calcium
    Fairly low in fat and salt, and contains low to medium amounts of calcium.

    Health score: 7/10

    Stilton

    123 calories, 10.7 g fat, 96 mg calcium

    Similar to cheddar in fat and calories, but has a much lower calcium content. It is high in folic acid, though, like all blue-veined cheese, it is not suitable for pregnant women as it carries a listeria risk.

    Health score: 4/10

 

Be sure to stop by Shisler’s Cheese House to pick up your supply of healthy cheeses or order online here!

 

 

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