Picnics with Love deliver you locally sourced, quality ingredients for their picnics & platters. Their picnics include a range of artisan cheeses, freshly baked goods and antipasto selections. But, have you ever wondered which cheeses from a nutritional perspective, are the greatest for our health? Or, if you aren’t a real cheese-goer, what you can pair them with, for your next picnic?
My name is Olivia Brown, and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Nutrition. I’m here to give you the rundown on all things good and cheesy.
Cheese is a major source of dairy in many people's diets. As a result, a high cheese intake can increase the amount of calcium in the body, along with zinc, magnesium, and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K). An adequate intake of dairy & calcium (e.g cheese) can support bone health, dental health, brain development in children and can aid in the prevention of osteoporosis in adults. It can also reduce blood pressure, which means it's great for heart health. Studies have shown that the blood vessels of those who consume cheese, had better functionality!
So the next time you feel guilty about that cheeky Friday night cheese platter with the girls, don’t - the following will help you select the right cheese for you. This will ensure you don’t over indulge, rather, eat mindfully. Cheese is not only a soul food; it can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. So here is a rundown of different cheese types and their perfect food pairs.
From the top.
Light and creamy cheeses
Mozzarella, cottage cheese and ricotta. Three amazing choices, great for toppings, spreads and to meet the nutritional requirements for those trying to loose weight. Overall, these cheeses have fewer calories and sodium than most other cheeses! Mozzarella, in particular, brings diverse probiotics into our diets to support our micro-biome, immune system and help to fight inflammation in the body. Mozzarella pairs perfectly with tomato, basil, olives and balsamic glaze. Cottage cheese and ricotta pair perfectly with berries, cinnamon and peaches.
Blue cheese and vintage cheese. These are among the highest calcium cheeses, necessary for optimal bone health! These cheeses have greater calories than the light cheeses above and also a very different flavour. Aged cheeses have more distinctive, tangy flavours and pair perfectly with a nut / nibble mix, or on a cracker of choice with honeycomb and fig. *DROOL*
Salty cheeses e.g feta
Feta has a much higher sodium profile than most other cheeses, but is still a lower calorie option (80 cals in 28 grams). Feta does provide a nutritional benefit, being part of the full-fat dairy cheeses, it does provide CLA (conjugated lenoloic acid) to our diets, which has been shown to improve body composition and help to reduce body fat. Feta perfectly pairs with mixed olives, diced tomatoes as well as hummus!
Swiss cheese, is a hard cheese that is lower in salt and fat. It is recommended for those with high blood pressure, as it inhibits enzymes in the body which are responsible for narrowing blood vessels and raising blood pressure (ACE). Cheddar cheese is another hard cheese which is very rich in vitamin K, crucial for bone and heart health. Vitamin K also reduces the risk of blockages and calcium deposits in the walls of arteries and veins. Cheddar is among the higher fat cheeses so should be eaten in moderation compared to the cheeses listed above, in a well balanced diet.
Both of these hard cheeses pair perfectly with sliced apple or quince paste!
Finally - the creamy cheeses e.g camembert and brie.
Brie, although very similar to Camembert, has more fat, whilst both these creamy cheeses have less fat than cheddar! Brie is also high in vitamin A - great for eye sight, and vitamin B, which aids in creating the bloods natural cleansers (antioxidants). Brie and camembert pair perfectly with citrus fruits/jams & berries, best eaten with a baguette.
So there you have it, some of the most common cheeses, their nutritional benefits and stunning, perfect pairs to help you be more cheese wise. This should help guide you the next time you create your own delicious platter. Be sure to try these perfect pairs and be rest assured you will never go back.
Now pass the cheese, please!