To say that cheese tastes good would be stating the obvious. We all know that. In fact, that is precisely why most of us have the urge to steer clear of it and have it nowhere near our pizzas and sandwiches. However, what if you were to learn that cheese isn’t so bad after all? It actually has several benefits to offer. As a health counsellor, one of the biggest challenges I face is getting my clients to overcome their fear of cheese. The idea of being able to eat cheese when “on a diet” seems false at best, crazy at worst.

If you love cheese as much as the next person, below are five health-related reasons to say yes to cheese:

1. Yes, cheese contains fat. But aren’t we past the era where we still believe that fat makes us fat? Yes, fat does have double the amount of calories (9 per gram) when compared to protein and carbohydrates (4 per gram). But guess what? This is exactly why we associate cheese with words like ‘heavy’ and ‘filling.’ You need a small amount to feel satiated and it digests slowly, keeping us fuller for longer.

2. Cheese isn’t all fat. It also contains protein and has an entire host of amino acids to offer. Too often, people complain about how they think they aren’t getting enough protein. Adding some cheese to your diet would be a good way to stock up on protein.

3. Calcium and phosphorus — micronutrients that aid bone health, better cartilage formation and tooth health can also be found in cheese.

4. One of the most popular nutrient deficiencies that we hear about these days is B12. In fact, it is increasingly becoming second nature to most individuals who live stressful lives. Cheese, owing to its fermentation processes, is rich in B12 and can help us meet our daily needs.

5. Zinc, a micronutrient that aids our digestive system, stress levels and immune system is also abundant in cheese.

Talk about a rich nutrient profile! One caveat would be to try and purchase fresh, unprocessed cheese (one you purchase by weight) as opposed to the pre-packaged variant from a supermarket shelf.

Happy eating!

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