Feta is the most popular cheese in Greece. It is soft, white, brined cheese that is made from sheep of goat milk and it is very nutritious. Feta is easier to digest and much less allergenic and inflammatory than cheeses from cow’s milk, making it a good choice for people who are sensitive to dairy products. Below are some benefits you can get from feta cheese when used in moderation.
1. Supports Bone Health: Feta cheese is high in calcium, phosphorus, and protein which are essential for promoting bone health. Calcium and protein help maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis, while phosphorus helps your bones absorb calcium. Also, milk from sheep and goats contains more calcium and phosphorus than cow’s milk.
2. Protects against Cancer: Research suggests that calcium (combined with vitamin D) helps protect the body against various types of cancer. And as it is very high in calcium it can protect against cancer. Furthermore, the protein alpha-lactalbumin can be found in feta cheese, and when it binds to calcium and zinc ions, has been suggested to have antibacterial and antitumor properties.
3. Contains Beneficial Fatty Acids: The animal products contain the fatty acid Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to help improve body composition, decreasing fat mass and increasing lean body mass. CLA may also help prevent diabetes and has shown anti-cancer effects. In cheeses made with sheep’s milk the CLA concentration is higher than cheese made with cow or goats milk, so consuming feta cheese could increase your CLA intake.
4. Boosts Immune System: There is a protein found in feta cheese called histidine, which is essential for infant and adults health. When histidine is combined with vitamin B6 (also found in feta cheese), it undergoes a molecular process to become histamine. That compound is part of the inflammatory process. It is generally important to avoid foods that cause inflammation, but a small degree of inflammation is what allows your immune system to fight disease. Eating foods like feta cheese sparingly, combined with a diet high in antioxidants to protect from the damage of excess inflammation, can ensure a healthy immune system.