Cheese is one of the most popular dairy products all over the world. There are many kinds of cheese, and feta cheese is one of them. Traditionally found in Greece, feta cheese is quite popular among a lot of people. Usually, feta cheese is made from the milk of sheep, or a mixture of goat and sheep milk. However, there are several places where it's made from cow's milk as well. Feta cheese has a grainy texture and can be used in salads and pastries. Adding feta cheese to salads gives them a unique taste. But, is feta cheese healthy? There are several benefits as well as disadvantages of consuming feta cheese. These have been mentioned below.
The amount of calories feta cheese contains is very high. Studies have shown that a single cup of feta cheese contains almost 400 calories. Moreover, the amount of saturated fat in feta cheese is very high. Is feta cheese fattening, then? Not if you control the intake. Though this form of cheese may be high in calories, it does not imply that this cheese is not healthy. As compared to other types of cheese, like cheddar cheese, the amount of fat contained in feta cheese is relatively less. Additionally, there are some low-fat varieties of feta cheese available in the market which one can use to reduce the amount of fat that is consumed.
There are several feta cheese health benefits. Feta cheese is rich in calcium, and consuming a cup of feta cheese provides three-fourth of the daily calcium requirement. Calcium is required for the development of bones, and therefore, consuming feta cheese strengthens the bones. Additionally, it contains high amounts of riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.
Riboflavin is required by the body as it helps in metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Phosphorous is required for the formation of bones and teeth. No doubt, calcium is an important component of teeth and bone formation, but calcium alone is not able to build strong bones, which is why, phosphorous is an important mineral. Vitamin B12 is required by the body so as to keep the red blood cells healthy and prevent heart diseases. Moreover, it also helps the immune system function effectively.
|Nutrients||Values (in gm)|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||4.237|
|Total lipid (fat)||6.03|
**The figures mentioned in the table are taken from USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
Feta Cheese and Pregnancy
Feta cheese is a healthy choice to make for pregnant women, but only if it is pasteurized. Though soft and unpasteurized feta cheese is readily available, it is important that pregnant women avoid the same. This is because, unpasteurized feta cheese may contain bacteria called Listeria, which may lead to an emergence of mild flu. Though this flu may not be as harmful for the mother, it may be harmful for the baby. Studies have shown that if Listeria causes any infection, there are chances of premature birth or even miscarriage. So, only pasteurized feta cheese can be consumed during pregnancy. It is therefore important to check the label, and see if it says 'pasteurized' before you buy feta cheese.
So, to answer the question, is feta cheese good for you, it's a yes and a no. Eating feta cheese is recommended, but only in small quantities. Make sure you don't eat it too often as it may be harmful. If you have any doubts, it's always better to consult a dietitian or nutritionist who will be able to guide you better about how much feta cheese to consume and how it can affect health.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.