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Cheese can be the perfect component to complete your meal or snack. A few ways to use cheese are for cheese plates with grapes, egg white and cheddar cheese breakfast burritos, Swiss cheese and ham sandwiches, Greek salads with feta cheese, pasta with Parmesan cheese and chicken baked with mozzarella cheese. Cheese is a source of many essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, and it can be a regular part of a healthy, balanced diet.
An ounce of most kinds of cheese has 95 to 120 calories, although feta cheese is slightly lower, with 75 calories per ounce. High-calorie foods, such as full-fat cheese, can lead to weight gain. Monitor your portion sizes and eat them with lower-calorie foods to avoid this. Try shredded Swiss cheese as a topping for onion soup, grated Parmesan in an omelet made with egg whites and a green salad with diced apple and blue cheese.
Fat in Cheese
An ounce of cheddar cheese has 9.4 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat, and an ounce of brie cheese 7.8 grams of fat and 4.9 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol levels, and healthy adults on a 2,000-calorie diet should limit consumption to 20 grams per day. Cheese is among the top sources of solid fats in the typical American diet, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Choose reduced-fat dairy products to limit your consumption of saturated fat and calories. An ounce of low-fat cheddar cheese has 2 grams of total fat and 1.2 grams of saturated fat.
Calcium in Cheese
An ounce of cheddar cheese provides 200 milligrams of calcium, or 20 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Soft cheese has less calcium per serving, with 52 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving of Brie cheese. Calcium is necessary for maintaining strong bones. Eat your cheese with a source of vitamin D to improve your body’s ability to absorb calcium from the cheese. Choose cheese fortified with vitamin D or have a pizza with cheese and anchovies.
Sodium in Cheese
An ounce of regular cheddar cheese has 247 milligrams of sodium. Most cheese contains sodium because of the salt added during the cheese-making process. Not counting dishes with cheese such as pizza and pasta dishes, cheese provides 3.5 percent of the total amount of sodium in Americans’ diets, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. A high-sodium diet can increase your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, and healthy individuals should limit daily intake to 2,300 milligrams per day. An ounce of reduced-sodium cheese has only 4 milligrams of sodium.
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Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
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