Cheese is a food consisting of proteins and fat from milk of either of cows, sheep, goats, mares, yaks, camels, even buffaloes. There are hundred types of cheeses that are being produced and their different textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal's diet), whether it has been pasteurized, butterfat content (fat is responsible for the cheese rich texture and delicious taste), the kind of bacteria and mold used and the processing done including the length of aging. Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents.
How Cheese is made: Cheese is made by culturing milk with bacteria, then adding rennin or another enzyme to curdle it. For a few cheeses, the milk is curdled by adding acids such as vinegar or lemon juice. When the liquid whey is drained away, the remaining curds can be used as cottage cheese. Or the curds can be mixed with other ingredients, injected with special molds or bacteria, soaked in wine or beer, pressed or molded, or smoked or aged to make different cheeses. On average, it takes four quarts of milk to make a pound of Cheddar, Muenster, Swiss or other firm cheese.
Lactose Intolerance: Many people who cannot digest milk because of lactose intolerance can eat cheese, especially the hard types; the bacteria and enzymes used to make cheese also break down a reasonable amount of the lactose (milk sugar).
Cheese Nutrient Content (one ounce serving of cheese):
- Calories: 100
- Calcium: 180 mg
- Fat: 8 g
Calories in some cheese:
- Cottage cheese has the fewest calories – about 90g in a half cup serving, but it has only half the calcium of milk.
- Cream cheese, Brie, and other soft cheese are comparable to hard cheeses in calories and fat, and they also have much less calcium.
- High in protein and calcium.
- A good source of vitamin B12.
- Cheddar and other aged cheeses may fight tooth decay by neutralizing the mouth acids that promote dental decay.
- Individual who have weight problem or cholesterol problem should consume cheese in moderation. Because most cheese is high in cholesterol and its fat is highly saturated. Saturated fat increases the risk of atherosclerosis, the clogging of arteries with fatty deposits. Most cheese is also high in salt, which is bad for people wit high blood pressure.
- Aged cheese can trigger a migraine headache in some susceptible people.
- Individuals who are allergic to penicillin may react to blue cheese and other soft cheeses that are made with molds.
- Individuals allergic to cow’s milk may react to cheeses. Cheeses made from goat’s or sheep’s milk are less likely to be allergenic.
- Cheese made from raw or unpasteurized milk can harbor dangerous salmonella and other bacteria that may cause food poisoning.