Cheese is a versatile food that can be eaten by itself or added to other dishes. There are more than 2,000 varieties of soft and hard cheeses, available in various flavors, forms, and packages.
Cheese contains nutrients such as protein and calcium, which are essential for bone health, wound healing, eye and skin health, and the production of red blood cells. However, it is also high in saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease in the past.
Newer studies challenge the assumption that all saturated fat impacts the body in the same way and suggest that the links between dairy foods and health outcomes may be different than other foods that contain saturated fat.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming at least three servings of milk, cheese, or yogurt each day for individuals ages 9 and older.
- The recommended daily intake of cheese varies depending on the type of cheese, with 1½ ounces of hard cheese, 1/3 cup of grated cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese being common servings.
- Cheese is a good source of calcium.
- A study found that biomarkers of dairy fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- The concept of “food synergy” suggests that consuming a variety of healthy foods, including cheese in moderation, can contribute to a healthy diet.
- The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides further information on recommended daily intake of various food groups, including dairy.