Is Feta Cheese Good or Bad For You?
Just like pasta, soup and so many other delicious foods, cheese comes in all sorts of varieties. One of the more popular types is feta. And while it might not be the go-to cheese for every dish, feta cheese is incredibly versatile. It even goes well with Riesling.
Of course, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s healthy. So, is feta cheese good for you? Here’s a hint: Its great taste is only one of the good things about feta.
What Is Feta Cheese?
Feta cheese is nothing new. The first written mention of the Greek cheese, appearing in Homer’s Odyssey, dates to the 8th century B.C. Today the mild, crumbly white cheese is enjoyed worldwide, being used in salads, pastas, soups, pizzas and more.
Originally, feta cheese was made solely from sheep’s and goat’s milk. But feta cheese can also be made from cow’s milk to produce a cheese that’s less gamey and a little lighter. Because cow’s milk is readily available in the United States, it is often used to make feta.
Feta Cheese Nutrition Facts
Feta cheese made from cow’s milk is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and also provides nutrients like calcium, vitamin A and riboflavin. In other words, there are plenty of healthy reasons to enjoy this cheese.
Feta’s vitamin B12 supports normal energy metabolism and helps keep the blood and nervous system healthy too. Its calcium can help us maintain strong bones. And as a natural source of fat, feta cheese can also help our bodies better absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K – making it a great topping for salads, vegetables dishes and more.
Feta Cheese and Dietary Needs
Conditions such as lactose intolerance and dairy allergy will directly affect the type and amount of feta cheese someone can tolerate. If someone has a dairy allergy, it’s best to avoid dairy products. Alternatively, people who are lactose intolerant might not have to give up dairy entirely. Feta cheese is naturally lower in lactose due to the cheesemaking and aging process. Additionally, using lactose-friendly tips can help people enjoy dairy foods without any uncomfortable symptoms.
Incorporating Feta Cheese
Are you striving to follow healthy eating patterns, like the Mediterranean Diet? Add feta. From fruits to legumes, feta — like many dairy foods — plays well with others and is a delicious way to round out a plant-based diet or enjoy the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
Feta cheese can be used in all sorts of dishes, for every meal of the day. You could have a summer vegetable frittata for breakfast, a Greek chicken tzatziki wrap for lunch, and a homemade pizza — made with Greek yogurt pizza dough and topped with grilled zucchini, harissa and feta cheese — for dinner.
You could even have feta cheese as a midday snack. Who’s going to stop you?
A Short Summary of Feta Cheese
As great as feta cheese tastes, there are plenty of other important things to know about it. Here are some key facts about this type of cheese:
- Feta cheese is a Greek cheese that has existed for thousands of years.
- While feta cheese was originally made solely from sheep’s and goat’s milk, it can also be made from cow’s milk.
- Feta cheese is a natural source of several important nutrients that can benefit our health.
- Feta cheese can be incorporated into all sorts of dishes for every meal of the day.