Cheese and nutrition

Cheese is not only one of the oldest human food, it is also one of the most valuable. Lots of protein with a high biological value and a large proportion of minerals like calcium and phosphorus and numerous vitamins make it an important part of our nutrition.  

Protein component

Why does our organism need protein? There is no life without protein. Tissue, enzymes and blood plasma are largely made up of this material. As all body cells (except brain cells) are regularly regenerated and renewed, the body's protein must repeatedly be built up.

Minerals

Just like protein the minerals found in cheese are another essential component for life. They give the human skeleton its strength and solidity, thus permitting its support function. They also influence the physical and chemical properties of the body fluids in a dissolved form. Minerals cannot be produced in the organism. Every emission of fluid from the body (sweat, urine) requires constant replacement through nutrition. Phosphorus and calcium have proved to be particularly important and they both have a considerable presence in cheese. They play a decisive role in building up bones and teeth.  

Fat

Cheese does not contain any carbohydrates (with the exception of cream cheese) but it does contain milk fat and the percentage of this present in the dry matter must be indicated. From a chemical perspective fats are made up of one molecule of glycerine and three molecules of fatty acids with the latter being divided into saturated and unsaturated. Its most important function is the preparation and long-term supply of energy to the organism. The fats which are of value to the body are those with multiple unsaturated fatty acids which are principally found in vegetable oils. These are all free of cholesterol. 

Vitamins, minerals and trace elements

Cheese also contains vitamins. Types which are high in fat also contain lots of vitamin A which is important for vision. Vitamin D is also present. This ensures that calcium is integrated into the bones. The milk also contains a few water soluble vitamins such as B1 for the utilisation of carbohydrates in the body and B2 and B6 which are necessary for cell metabolism. B12 controls the protein utilisation and forms the red blood cells. Vitamin E is responsible for muscular activity and the regulation of hormone production. Minerals and trace elements are also present. These are potassium, chloride, sodium, zinc, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese and cobalt. Calcium and phosphorus play the most important role as they are indispensable substances for building up the bones and teeth.  

Amines in cheese

The cooperation of micro-organisms like bacteria, mould and yeasts is necessary for the development of cheese from milk. The actual ripening of cheese only occurs once the lactic acid fermentation has been completed. During the metabolic conversions which then take place, enzymes break the protein down into amino acids which are then either enriched, converted into other amino acids or broken down into so-called amines by the separation of carbon dioxide. Larger quantities of the aforementioned substances, namely histamine and tyramine, are found in Camembert, Tilsiter and Edam cheeses as well as hard cheeses (such as Emmental etc.). Histamine for example can largely be tolerated by the human organism.    

The following generally applies: There is virtually no reason not to eat cheese - it always depends on the quantity. In principle it is true to say that adequate nutrition in the form of a balanced diet has a preventive or healing effect on the organism for many illnesses.

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