Why Feta Cheese is the World’s Healthiest Cheese!
Feta cheese is one of the most unique cheeses you can find. If you’ve ever had Greek or Middle Eastern food, then you know how much feta can elevate a dish. And it’s as good for you as it is delicious! Its unique nutritional profile may make it worth of the title ‘Healthiest Cheese in the World’
Organic feta, made traditionally from sheep or goat’s milk, or a combination of the two has some undeniable nutritional pluses. and it also has surprising health benefits that might tempt you to add feta cheese to your dishes from now on!
Feta cheese is a good source off the following:
- Protein (14g per cup)
- Riboflavin (1.3mg per cup, 74% DV)
- Vitamin B12 (2.5mcg per cup, 42% DV)
- Calcium (739mg per cup, 74% DV)
- Phosphorous (506mg per cup, 51% DV)
Five Surprising Health Benefits of Feta Cheese
1. Suitable for anyone who can’t digest cow dairy
Good quality feta cheese is made primarily from sheep’s milk and sometimes goat’s milk, which is much easier on the human digestive system than cow’s milk.
Actually, most people have a degree of intolerance to products made from cow’s milk – but most eat it oblivious to this fact unless they suddenly develop a severe intolerance or some other gut health issue.
So never buy feta that’s made from cow’s milk because it’s not the real thing, and the flavour and nutritional profile is completely different! My wife and I went to a trendy restaurant on the seafront in Cyprus, and we were astonished to find that the ‘feta’ wasn’t the real deal. It didn’t taste as good and it felt heavy on our digestive systems.
2. Histidine and Vitamin B6 Combination
Histidine is an essential amino acid (especially for children), which means our bodies don’t produce it – and we need to obtain it through our diet. Vitamin B6 is crucial for converting food into energy, metabolizing fats and proteins, and is a key nutrient for the health of our eyes, hair, skin, and liver.
When You combine histidine with vitamin B6, they create histamines, which are part of the inflammatory response by your body’s cells in response to injury and illness. Small amounts of acute inflammation are required to fight off sickness and help your body heal. This makes feta cheese beneficial for your immune system, especially when eaten alongside antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
Studies also show that foods with both histidine and vitamin B6 are useful for anyone dealing with chronic fatigue.
3. High Protein Content
Feta has a high protein content, sitting at 4 grams of protein per 28-gram serving.
Every cell in your body contains protein. We need protein to repair cells and make new ones, and for proper immune function. They function as enzymes, antibodies, messengers, structure and support, transport, and storage.
It’s no surprise that feta cheese is a good source of calcium, the mineral that plays a critical role in the health of your bones. Calcium also helps your blood clot properly, your nerves send messages, and your muscles contract. 99% of your body’s calcium stores are found in your bones and teeth – but, every day, you lose calcium through your skin, hair, nails, sweat, urine, and feces.
5. Vitamin A
Feta is an excellent source of vitamin A, and the fat content in the cheese makes it more readily absorbed by your body. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin crucial for immune function, vision, reproduction, and communication between your cells.
Feta literally means slice
The history of cheese is as old as humanity itself, and is connected to the taming of domestic animals 10,000 years B.C ago. The roots of cheese making are not known with certainty. It is, however, believed that cheese was first produced roughly 8.000 years ago. It is very likely its discovery was completely accidental, during transport of milk in stomachs of young animals.
To the modern consumer, the word Feta means brine cheese, produced in Greece, using specific technology from sheep and goat milk. According to Greek mythology, the gods sent Aristaios, son of Apollo, to teach Greeks the art of cheese making.
There are many records regarding production and consumption of cheese in ancient Greece, from Aristoteles, Pythagoras and other ancient comedy writers. It has been known at least since Homer’s time. The cheese that was prepared by Cyclope Polyfimos and described in the 8th B.C. century in Homer’s Odyssey, is considered to be the ancestor of Feta:
“We entered the cave, but he wasn’t there, only his plump sheep grazed in the meadow. The woven baskets were full of cheese, the folds were full of sheep and goats and all his pots, tubs and churns where he drew the milk, were full of whey. When half of the snow-white milk curdled he collected it put it in the woven baskets and kept the other half in a tub to drink. Why my good ram are you the last to leave the fold? You have never been left behind by the flock before. You were always first walking ahead to graze the tender sheets of grass.”
According to myth, Cyclope Polyfimos was the first to prepare cheese. Transporting the milk that he collected from his sheep in skinbags made of animal stomachs, one day he realized to his great surprise that the milk had curdled and had taken a solid, tasty and conservable form.
Essential Tips for Buying Good Quality Feta
- Look for feta cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk (or a combination of both).
- Only buy certified organic.
- Watch out for any discolouration/yellowing. Feta should always be white and is stored in brine to keep it that way. Yellowing means at some point it has been exposed to air outside the brine.
- Buy Greek feta, if you can. According to EU regulations, only the Greek variety can be labelled as feta, which is defined as as a brined cheese made in Greece from sheep milk, sometime mixed with up to 30 percent of goat’s milk. In 2002, Feta was added to the EU’s list of protected food products.
- It should have tiny holes on the surface, and shouldn’t crumble too easily. Super crumbly feta means that it was probably made using cow’s milk (aka fake feta).
In closing, it’s safe to say that feta cheese has plenty of health benefits, and when used in moderation, can be used to help improve your overall sense of well-being, as well as adding some pizazz to your dishes! So go ahead and indulge in a little feta cheese now and then!