Parmesan Cheese: The Healthiest Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is a popular type of cheese that is often enjoyed on its own or used in recipes.

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But is Parmesan cheese good for you? And is it the healthiest type of cheese?

Let’s take a closer look at Parmesan cheese and explore its health benefits and potential downsides.

Is Parmesan Cheese Good for you?

Yes, Parmesan cheese is good for you. It’s a good source of protein and calcium. It also contains significant levels of magnesium, cobalamin (Vitamin B12), phosphorus, and vitamin A.

According to the United States Department of Agricultural (USDA), a one-ounce serving of Grated Parmesan cheese provides:

  • Calories – 119
  • Water – 23%
  • Total Fat – 8 grams (12% Daily Value)
  • Saturated fat – 4.4 grams (22% Daily Value)
  • Cholesterol – 24.6 mg (8.2% Daily Value)
  • Carbohydrate – 3.5 grams
  • Protein – 8.4 grams (17% Daily Value)
  • Sodium – 496 mg (21% Daily Value)
  • Potassium – 52 mg (1.49% Daily Value)
  • Calcium – 250 mg (25% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin B12 – 0.38 mcg (6.33% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A – 64.6 mcg (8% Daily Value)
  • Magnesium – 9.9 mg (2.5% Daily Value)
  • Phosphorus – 179.6 mg (18% Daily Value)
  • Iron – 0.13 mg (0.7% Daily Value)
  • Zinc – 1.23 mg (8% Daily Value)
  • And small amount of other micronutrients.

Parmesan is packed with nutrients. It’s a good source of energy and it provides the body with many essential nutrients that are required for good health.

Weight loss and Inflammation

Parmesan is also a good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (1). CLA is a type of fat that has been linked to several health benefits, including weight loss, and boosting immunity.

In one study, people who took CLA supplements for 12 weeks lost more body fat and inches off their waistlines than those who didn’t take the supplements.

That said, Parmesan could be helping you in your weight control routine.

The other fatty acids also play positive roles in reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and improving vascular function (2).

Probiotic

Parmesan cheese is also a good source of probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health, whereas prebiotics are compounds that feed good bacteria.

Parmesan cheese contains lactic acid bacteria, which has been shown to improve gut health and reduce digestive problems such as gas and diarrhea (3).

These bacteria can help boost immunity, and they also help protect against some intestinal infections (such as H. pylori) and chronic diseases (such as inflammatory bowel disease) (4).

Is Parmesan Cheese a Superfood?

Some people refer to Parmesan cheese as a “superfood.” While it’s not technically a superfood, Parmesan does offer some impressive health benefits.

Is parmesan the healthiest cheese? The answer to this question is a little complicated. While Parmesan cheese is good for you, it may not necessarily be the “healthiest” cheese. Other cheeses such as cheddar and mozzarella also offer similar health benefits.

Therefore, it really depends on your individual dietary needs and preferences. But one thing that can be sure parmesan is the more expensive cheese.

What are the Potential Downsides of Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is high in sodium and saturated fat. In just about 2 teaspoons (1 oz), you’ll take in the daily needs of 21% of sodium and 22% of fat. Granted, not all of this is from Parmesan cheese, it’s a pretty significant amount.

Therefore, If you’re watching your sodium intake, you’ll want to be mindful of how much Parmesan you add to your dishes.

Saturated fats are also known to raise the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Parmesan cheese is also a high-fat food, and fat has more calories than protein or carbohydrates. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to limit your intake of Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan cheese is also a common allergen, so if you’re allergic to cow’s milk, you’ll want to avoid Parmesan cheese.

Good for Diabetics?

Parmesan cheese is also safe for diabetics. It’s a low glycemic food, meaning it doesn’t cause blood sugar levels to spike.

In fact, including Parmesan cheese 30 minutes before a meal can help improve blood sugar control and insulin secretion in people with diabetes (5). It also suggested that dairy products, such as parmesan, can prevent the development of type-2 diabetes.

Reference:

  1. USDA FoodData Central – Grated Parmesan
  2. WebMD – Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
  3. NCBI – Cheese as Functional Food
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