Sunday, March 26, 2017

Does Cheese Affect Your Cholesterol?

Although cheese is a delicious food both by itself and with other items, you do need to be careful to eat it in moderation. Most people associate cheese with fat and worry that it will affect their cholesterol in a negative way. This makes sense as cheese has both dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. Luckily, however, cheese will either not affect your cholesterol levels at all or even be helpful in most cases. It only rarely negatively affects cholesterol.
What It Does To Low-Density Lipoprotein
Most people know low-density lipoprotein as their “bad cholesterol.” This is the type of cholesterol linked to a higher risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. The good news for those who love eating cheese is that research has shown that cheese may not affect your low-density lipoprotein at all, even if you get as many as 13 percent of your daily calories from cheese over the course of six weeks.
How It Affects High-Density Lipoprotein
High-density lipoprotein is your “good cholesterol” since it removes cholesterol from the blood, decreasing your risk of heart disease. Studies done on cheese and high-density lipoprotein levels found that those who eat cheese frequently will have higher levels compared to those who don’t eat it as much. To make that discovery even better, the study also showed that eating a lot of cheese may lower triglyceride levels, which will lower the risk of heart disease even more.
Why Cheese Helps Or Is Neutral For Cholesterol
Scientists are still trying to figure out why cheese lowers your cholesterol or doesn’t affect it at all despite containing saturated fat. They have a few theories, but aren’t positive which is the actual reason. Some hypothesize that the calcium within the cheese reduces the amount of fat that is absorbed during digestion. Emerging research has also shown that eating full-fat dairy products (such as cheese, yogurt, or milk) may not be linked to any risk of heart disease. In fact, these items may be linked to a reduced risk. The results imply that despite being filled with saturated fat, dairy fat may not actually be an issue for heart disease. It is also possible that something in the way that nutrients and fat are combined in cheese, referred to as the cheese matrix, leads to these minimal or beneficial cholesterol affects.
Something To Remember
While cheese isn’t likely to negatively affect your cholesterol, that doesn’t mean you should regularly binge on it. Cheese is still fairly dense in terms of calories and fat. Eating too much of it can quickly put you over your daily recommended amount. Because of this, cheese is best enjoyed in smaller quantities that let you savor the flavors with the occasionally larger portion mixed in.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Can You Have Cheese If You Are Allergic?

Asking whether you can have cheese if you are allergic is much more complicated than it seems at first. That is because it is different depending on what your allergy is actually to. Some people think they are allergic to cheese but actually end up having lactose intolerance, a milk allergy, or something else. In these cases, you will still be able to enjoy cheese as long as you know which ones to choose.
Eating Cheese With A Cheese Allergy
In the vast majority of cases, people who have an allergic reaction to cheese are actually allergic to the milk within it or a general dairy allergy. Keep in mind that most dairy allergies will disappear by age three so your doctor will need to confirm whether this is actually an allergy. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itchy skin, a runny nose, hives, wheezing, diarrhea, vomiting, and more.
The good news for those with a true cheese allergy is that you can probably still eat some types of cheese. The allergy is your body reacting to a protein in the milk within the cheese and it releases histamines which lead to symptoms. Sometimes, the allergic reaction is actually because of histamines found naturally in aged cheese. If this is the case, you will probably be able to eat fresh cheese, but need to avoid aged ones like parmesan, cheddar, Roquefort, Brie, and gruyere. You will, however, want to consult your doctor before doing so to make sure it’s safe.
Eating Cheese With Lactose Intolerance
As mentioned earlier, some people who think they are allergic to cheese are actually lactose intolerant. These people won’t have an enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is a sugar found in dairy and milk products. This means that they can’t properly digest cheese or other dairy-based products. It isn’t life-threatening but can lead to severe discomfort, including diarrhea, gas, cramps, and nausea. Those with lactose intolerance will actually be able to eat some cheeses with minimal to no discomfort; they just have to choose wisely. As a general rule of thumb, fresh cheese will have more lactose than aged cheese. That is because as cheese ages, the majority of lactose drains off along with the whey. Only a little bit is left and this becomes lactic acid during aging. If aging doesn’t occur, less of the remaining lactose becomes lactic acid. As a general rule of thumb, those who are lactose intolerant should avoid fresh cheese but can enjoy aged cheese and the more aged, the better.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tips For Using Cheese For Your St. Patrick’s Day Party

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up so you will want to start planning your party. Instead of making it all about beer or random foods you can dye green, consider letting cheese play a starring role in your upcoming celebration. Here are a just a few ways you can serve cheese at your St. Patrick’s Day party.
Serve Irish Cheeses
While Ireland isn’t known for having age-old cheese traditions like those in Italy or France, there are still multiple cheeses found in the area that you can serve at your St. Patrick’s Day party. If you do a bit of research and shop at specialty cheese retailers, you will be able to find some unique Irish cheeses that you and your guests may not have heard of. These include Ardrahan, Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar, Coolea, Crozier Blue, and Carrigaline.
Include A Cheese Platter
If you don’t want to splurge on Irish cheeses or simply can’t get a hold of them, you can still serve a cheese platter at your St. Patrick’s Day party. After all, not everything you serve has to fit the theme of the day. To put it in the Irish spirit, why not do some research and discover which cheeses pair best with the Irish drinks you plan on serving. Guinness, for example, goes great with cheddar cheese or pretty much anything. You can also pair any stout with Gouda or blue cheese, brown ale with cheddar, or a pilsner with Havarti.
Don’t be afraid to turn any cheese into a St. Patrick’s Day treat with some decorations or styling. While you may want to avoid trying to dye the cheese you serve green, you can serve it on a green platter or get creative. Why not cut your hard cheese into the shape of a four-leaf clover before serving it?
Make A Cheesecake
Cheesecake is a classic dessert and the perfect way to combine cheese with St. Patrick’s Day. Since you will want to play up the green theme, a mint cheesecake will be the ideal option as it is brightly colored and delicious.
Make Irish Cheese Soup
Another great idea to combine the Irish theme of the day with cheese is serving an Irish cheese soup. You can easily find a recipe online and many of the best ones will include an Irish farmhouse cheese, an Irish beer, and the normal ingredients for soup like half-and-half cream, flour, potatoes, stock, and a range of vegetables. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Four Tips For Getting Your Children To Like Cheese

Kids tend to either love or hate most foods without much room in between. The trick as a parent is making sure that your children actually like the foods that are good for them, such as fruits, vegetables, and cheese. The good news is that if you start early and are creative, it can be very easy for your children to appreciate the taste and texture of cheese.
Introduce It Early
A good way to make sure that your children will like cheese is to introduce it to them early, as soon as their pediatrician says it is safe to do so. By introducing cheese to your children early, they will get used to it right away. They will see it as a normal food and enjoy it. It will also help if your child sees you eating cheese. After all, any parent knows that kids like food that comes from their parents’ plate the most.
Make It Fun Shapes
Kids are more likely to eat something if it is fun to do so. Make sure that you give them cheese as a finger food when they are young and get creative with presentation. Cut hard cheese into fun shapes like stars or hearts with small cookie cutters. Or make your child a fruit salad that includes cheese and forms a fun shape, such as a face with little balls of cheese for the eyes. You can even make cheese into a snowman for your child to enjoy.
Get Creative With Recipes
If you want your child to like cheese, it will help if you can show them how versatile it is and give them every opportunity to enjoy it. It is a good idea to have some cheese-filled recipes up your sleeve that your children will love. Classics like grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese can both be made from scratch with natural unprocessed cheese instead of the heavily processed stuff. Some other cheesy dishes your children may love include lasagna, pasta with cheese on top, pasta bakes, casseroles, fried cheese sticks (which you can make from scratch), cheese omelets, frittatas, homemade pizza, and cheesy bread.
What To Do If They Don’t Like It At First
In some cases, your child may be hesitant to try cheese or claim not to like it despite your best efforts. In this case, you should simply wait a little and then introduce it again. You could also encourage them to just eat a single bite and say they don’t have to eat any more than that unless they want to. Your kids may also be more likely to want to try the cheese if they see you enjoying it. If all else fails, sneak some cheese into their favorite dishes to prove to them they like it.

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