Raise your hands if you love cheese. We’re sure plenty of you don’t just have your hands raised but you must have also had a moment of feta memory flash by you. It’s true when people say cheese makes food delightful, for cheese can turn a boring salad or sandwich into the most scrumptious dish. But many stay away from all things cheese. This is because, for years or maybe even centuries, fats have always carried the bad reputation of being bad and being the sole reason for weight gain. Most of us have started adopting the healthy lifestyle of eating right and working out to live a happy and active life. And if you ask people what is it that they should not indulge in when on diets, they’ll say “cheese” for sure. This is very wrong to do so! Because if one thinks that giving up on fats will help lose all the extra kilos, they’re very wrong. The doctors say that there are three main nutrients that are required for the body. One is carbohydrates that generate energy for the body, second is proteins that work on building up the muscle part of the body, and third are the fats that are vital for insulation, the functioning of hormones, and even the sheath coating on the nerves. And if you choose to completely cut on fats in your diet to lose weight, you are hampering the normal functioning of the body.
There are many foods that have helped fat regain its respect in the diet world and cheese is certainly one among them. It accounts for one of the best healthy fats. And in the world of cheese, it is the “feta cheese” that is most recommended by healthy nutritionists and doctors to be included in our food, especially in our everyday salads. So, let us understand a little more about feta cheese and why it is posed as a healthy fat food.
What Is Feta Cheese?
The word ‘feta’ in Greek means ‘slice’. This cheese hails from Greece. It is a salty, crumbly, white cheese that is made out of sheep’s milk. It is usually made and sold in block sizes. The most authentic feta cheese is made by filtering the sheep’s milk first. Later it is pasteurized by heating the milk in huge cauldrons. Once the milk has cooled, the probiotics present in its cultures. And then rennet gets added to thicken up the milk. Once this mixture becomes solid enough that it can be cut, the mixture is then transferred to molds to so that all the whey (the cheese milk) gets drained away and salt is sprinkled onto it that acts as a brine while cheese ages slowly in wooden barrels or metal tins for at least a period of two months.
For those who aren’t aware, feta falls under the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) category—this implies that feta has to be made in a certain way only. This means that feta when made, a minimum of 70% of sheep’s milk has to be used and this needs to be sourced locally only.
Different Types Of Feta Cheese
All of them look familiar, but not all the feta varieties that you see in the store are created equally. Here’s a low down on certain types of feta cheese which will help you choose feta that suits your texture and taste preferences.
- Bulgarian Feta
This feta cheese is also made from sheep’s milk. But it falls into the category of the creamy cheese. This makes you hungry almost instantaneously and gets you ready for nap time.
- Australian Feta
If you’re very cautious while consuming cheese then this one needs to be your pick. This feta is generally infused with thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, and garlic. It is also packaged using olive oil.
- Israeli Feta
This pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese is creamier, sliceable, and very moist. This feta cheese isn’t as crumbly as the original varieties.
- Danish Feta
This is also known by the name Danish White, this is a smoother, firmer, and creamier version which also has the potential of holding up on a grill as well. This is made out of cow’s milk.
Healthy Benefits Of Consuming Feta
If you look a little beyond the nutritional goodness that feta cheese comes with, you will find several attributes that rightly give feta the title of the healthiest cheese. Here are a few of the health benefits that feta provides you with, read on.
- It Supports Bone Health
When you look at Western diets, it is the cheese that forms the main source of calcium. And feta cheese is an excellent source of the same. It’s also a good source of protein and phosphorous which are also known to boost bone health in the body. Eating feta will help improve the density of the bones which keeps problems like osteoporosis at bay. Also, milk from sheep is recorded to have much more calcium and phosphorous content in them, thereby making feta cheese an excellent choice.
- It Protects Against Cancer
Being an excellent source of calcium, we know that calcium helps fight all types of cancers. Feta cheese also has the presence of Alpha-lactalbumin, a powerful protein that may possess several antifungal, antibacterial, and antitumor properties.
- It Improves Gut Health
We already know that probiotics are friendly, live bacteria that benefit our health. In feta cheese, 48 percent of the bacteria found are Lactobacillus Plantarum. This is that bacteria that helps to boost the immune system and even gut health. It also boosts the production of those compounds that protect the body from inflammation.
- It Acts As A Treatment For Anemia
We all know that anemia is a problem is the inability of the hemoglobin cell to transport oxygen into the body. When the body fails to provide enough oxygen to the tissues of the body, they become weak. This problem can be treated with certain supplements like Vitamin B12. This is found in feta cheese.
- It Prevents Migraine And Headache
As feta cheese is a good source of vitamin B2 and riboflavin, feta cheese could be used as a remedy for both migraines and headaches.
How To Eat Feta Cheese
Feta cheese can make for an excellent addition to your everyday food because of its texture and flavors. In fact, Greeks place feta on their dining tables for people to add it to their meals freely. Here are some fun ways of including feta in your food:
- On bread: Top your pieces of bread with some olive oil, feta, and season it with salt and pepper.
- Grilled: Grill the cheese and season it.
- On salads: Just sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on salads.
- With fruits: Watermelon-feta-mint is a worldwide loved combination.
- On pizza: Use crumbled feta cheese as a topping on your pizza.
We hope that the above mentioned health benefits provided you with enough reasons to add it to your salad meal today. Oh, we forgot to mention that it is also one of the oldest cheese in the world. It is easier to digest and is also allergenic in nature.