Are you a big fan of cheese? Then you’ll be happy to know cheese can be good for you (in moderation, of course). There are several benefits you may not be aware of. A 2013 study discovered organic dairy has 62% more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than regular milk. And you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of cheeses to choose from; there are more than 3,000 different types of cheese made around the globe, according to chef and author Georgeanne Brennan. In celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month, here are some of the ways cheese can do a body good.
1. Bone health
Cheese, particularly mozzarella, is chock-full of calcium. That means indulging in some cheesy goodness may help strengthen your bones. This is good news considering many Americans are not getting enough calcium in their diets. “Cheese contains a host of nutrients like calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet. According to government statistics, nine out of 10 women and six out of 10 men fall short of calcium recommendations,” said the Dairy Council of California. Are you allergic to dairy? No problem. There are plenty of dairy-free sources of calcium you can choose from, such as kale and tofu.
2. Stronger muscles
If you’re looking to build muscle, the protein in cheese can help you along. The Dairy Council of California mentions that cheese contains high-quality protein that can provide the body with important building blocks for strengthening muscles. “In essence, you need to be consuming adequate amounts of high quality protein at each meal to optimize and maintain lean muscle mass,” said registered dietician Joan Salge Blake. “This is especially important as you get older since your muscle mass tends to decline as you age. According to Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD, muscle mass declines by 0.5% to 1% each year beginning at about 40 years of age. Leucine is found abundantly in cottage cheese as well as other dairy foods, meat, and eggs. According to Mohr, leucine is the igniter that sparks the synthesis of muscle mass in the body. Hence, my beloved cottage cheese is very good for my muscles.”
3. Lower stress
If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, reach for a cheese pizza. Cheese contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin, which may have a calming effect by regulating your mood and anxiety levels.
4. More sex?
A survey conducted by dating and social networking site Skout analyzed the link between sandwich preference and sexual activity. Respondents who said they love grilled cheese sandwiches (32%) reported having intercourse more than six times a month compared to 27% of those who said they didn’t fancy grilled cheese. This isn’t to say that if you eat cheese you’ll have more sex, but it’s possible that if you love cheese you just might be a bit frisker than most. So next time you write an online dating profile, don’t forget to write “must love grilled cheese sandwiches.”