20 Types Of Cheese And Their Nutrition Values
Oh, how we love cheese. The widely cherished culinary ingredient is often the center of attention in many beloved, comforting dishes worldwide. From grilled cheese to chili paneer, cheese is used in thousands of ways. It is so versatile that every country has its own version.
Apart from its versatility in various dishes and addictive taste, cheese comes with several health benefits. It is rich in essential nutrients even though it contains high amounts of saturated fat. All cheeses offer some nutritional benefits, but some varieties more than others. With that, here are 20 types of cheese and the nutritional value of cheese.
1. American Cheese
American cheese, unlike other cheeses made with milk, is processed and made with a combination of cheeses like cheddar and Colby jack. It is a mainstay in the U.S. and can be found everywhere, from the deli counters to the supermarkets. The taste and texture vary depending on the cheese used and additives. Also, the color ranges from orange and yellow to white, depending on the manufacturer.
This cheese is often criticized for its high calories, fat, and sodium content but is still used in cooking because of its other nutrients. It contains a good amount of protein and calcium. It also melts well when cooked and is often a staple in cheeseburgers.
Ricotta is a fresh, non-aged cheese made from whey, a liquid left over after milk is curdled and strained. The whey comes usually come from the milk of sheeps. The whey is heated until the curds and whey separate, and the curds are cooked again to create this cheese. It has a slightly sweet, and creamy texture.
Ricotta is also an excellent source of protein, as it contains all nine essential amino acids. The cheese is high in calories but offers much nutritional value thanks to its essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients support muscle and bone health, making it popular with athletes and bodybuilders.
Mozzarella is a curd cheese from southern Italy. It is traditionally made from buffalo milk. The milk is cooked with animal rennet, a substance derived from the stomach lining of unweaned young animals. This causes the curds and whey to separate. The curd is then melted and stretched in hot water to form mozzarella.
Mozzarella is known for its smooth, shiny surface, porcelain color, and delicate milky flavor. It is soft and elastic, allowing it to be easily pulled apart or stretched. The cheese is lower in sodium and calories than other cheeses, making it healthier.
During the production of mozzarella, there were lots of mozzarella curds left over. Cheese artisans did not want to waste them, so they combined the remnants with fresh cream, and encased the mixture in a delicate pouch of mozzarella. This innovative technique led to the birth of Burrata.
From the outside, it looks just like mozzarella, but once you stab it, the luscious, rich, creamy center oozes out. Burrata has higher calorie and sodium content than mozzarella because of the cream, but it still offers many nutritional benefits. However, it should be eaten moderately.
Brie is a soft, creamy, buttery cheese named after the region where it was first created. It is made from cow’s milk, rennet, and cheese cultures or bacteria used in cheese making. This mixture goes through a lactic fermentation process, causing white mold to form on the rind of the cheese. Unlike other molds, this one is safe to eat.
It has all the common cheese nutrients, but with the addition of the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The fermentation leads to the formation of CLA, a fatty acid that is highly anti-inflammatory. According to a study, the CLA may exert anticancer effects.
Feta, a staple in Greek cuisines, is a fresh, white-brined cheese. It is made from a combination of goat’s and sheep’s milk. This particular combination gives feta its unique taste. The sheep’s milk gives it a sharp acidic flavor, while the goat’s milk makes it mild and palatable. This cheese is suitable for people who are intolerant to cow’s milk.
Like Brie, feta also contains CLA, which offers many benefits, including weight loss. According to a 2019 analysis, people with obesity who took 3 g of a CLA supplement each day for three months experienced decreased body fat mass than those who did not.
7. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting cheese made from cow’s milk and cream. It is made with curds from fermented milk, cream, and lactic acid. The curds are heated, after which stabilizers are added to make the cream cheese. It has a slightly sweet and tangy taste with a hint of lactic aroma.
The lactic acid contains bacteria, some of which are probiotics. These probiotics offer health benefits, such as maintaining a healthy gut, boosting our immune system, and reducing inflammation in the body.
Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese that hails from Italy. Like most cheeses, it starts with milk, but for gorgonzola, it is strictly cow milk. The milk is mixed with Penicillium roqueforti, a fungal starter culture, and other cultures to extract the curds. These curds are pressed and tucked away for fermentation.
During the fermentation, metal rods are used to create air channels in the cheese that enable the blue mold to grow. This creates the distinctive blue-green veins on the gorgonzola. It has a creamy texture and milder aroma and taste than other blue cheeses, which makes it perfect for people looking to try blue cheese.
Chevre refers to any cheese made from goat’s milk. It is aged for two to three days or weeks, depending on the consistency and flavor you want. Fresh chevre is soft and creamy with a mild, buttery flavor. As the cheese ages, it becomes drier and crumbly with a strong tangy taste.
This type of cheese is highly nutritious and has more medium-chain fatty acids than cheese from cow’s milk. Due to their shorter length, these fatty acids digest faster and are absorbed rapidly into the body. This could help reduce body weight and prevent obesity.
10. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is soft, white, and creamy and does not undergo an aging or ripening process. It is made by coagulating milk with an acid, resulting in curdled milk. The curds are separated and cooked to release moisture, which results in a sweet and crumbly cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese is high in protein, like most cheeses, and offers many benefits. It can help reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance, which is associated with diabetes. It can also help improve bone health and provide antioxidant protection.
There are many types of cheddar cheese, depending on how long it is aged and wrapped. Regardless of the type, making cheddar is similar to other cheeses. The curds are separated from the whey and stacked on top of one another in tight blocks.
It is cylindrical and its colour ranges from pale yellow to yellow-orange. A young cheddar, aged for less than six months, has a smoother texture and creamier and less tart flavor than one aged for at least a year. Cheddar is rich in protein and calcium. Additionally, it is an excellent source of vitamin K2, which is important for heart and bone health.
12. Queso Blanco
Queso Blanco, or white cheese in Spanish, is a soft and crumbly cheese made of pure cow’s milk or a combination of cow and goat’s milk. Unlike other cheeses that are aged, queso blanco is fresh. The cheese curds are aged for three days before it is consumed.
Homemade queso blanco does not hold very long, but the ones found in grocery stores do because it is vacuum-sealed in plastic. It has a mild, milky flavor with a crumbly texture that gets smooth and creamy upon heating. It is also healthier than other cheeses because of its lower sodium and fat content.
Camembert is soft, surface-ripened cheese made from cow’s milk. It is often mistaken for a Brie. Both of them have a bloomy edible rind with a soft ivory-colored center. However, the flavor profile and aroma are slightly different. Camembert has an earthy scent, while Brie has a light buttery aroma.
They could taste similar as well, but there is a subtle difference. Camembert has an earthy flavor and a dense texture, while Brie has a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Despite the differences, both are equally healthy. Camembert is a vital source of calcium, phosphorus, and other wide range of essential minerals.
14. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese is a generic name given to all the cheeses that Switzerland makes. There are countless types of Swiss cheese, but the most popular one is the Emmental, a semi-hard cheese with distinctive holes of varying sizes. These cheeses have a mild, nutty, buttery flavor and a silky-smooth texture.
Most Swiss cheeses are produced under the strict Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) standards or Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in Switzerland. These cheeses start with cow’s milk, making them high in calcium and protein. They also deliver a healthy dose of vitamin B12 and have comparatively less salt than other cheeses.
Parmesan Parmigiano, or simply Parmesan, is an Italian hard cheese made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow’s milk. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that can be bitter in inferior quality Parmesan. It also has a crumbly and gritty texture and may vary in color from pale to bright yellow.
Unlike other cheeses, Parmesan has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) set by the European Union. This means within the EU, only Parmesan produced in traditional production locations can be sold as Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano. This cheese is suitable for lactose intolerant, as it is virtually lactose-free.
Raclette, meaning “to scrape” in French, is a semi-hard cheese produced in the French and Swiss Alps. It has a creamy texture, ivory-pale yellow pate with irregular holes, and an edible brownish-orange rind. The flavor of raclette will vary slightly depending on where it is produced, but it usually has a nutty, slightly acidic, to milky flavor.
Raclette has good melting properties, making it ideal for dishes that require melted cheese, such as casseroles, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pasta. It can be part of a healthy diet because it contains essential nutrients, but it is important to consume in moderation.
17. Grana Padano
Grana Padano is a hard cheese and a staple in Italy. It has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), and according to the PDO, production of Grana Padano is permitted in some provinces of Italy only. It must be made with raw milk from cows that are milked twice a day. Also, Grana Padano can only be sold on the market after it has aged for nine months.
The name Grana, meaning grainy in Italian, reflects the cheese’s texture. It has a granular texture that becomes more crumbled as it ages. As for the flavor, it is intensely sweet, which becomes pronounced, savory, and complex as it ages.
Paneer, sometimes known as Indian cottage cheese, is a staple in South Asian cuisines. It is a fresh cheese that does not melt and is made from cow or buffalo milk that is pasteurized, raw, whole, or skimmed. The cheese is milky and has a mild taste. It has a firm and spongy texture, similar to cottage cheese and Italian ricotta.
Unlike some cheeses that melt upon contact with heat, paneer holds its shape, making it an excellent vehicle for sauces and marinades. The Indian cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals and is often substituted as meat by vegetarians.
Halloumi is a slightly springy, brined, semi-hard white cheese with roots in Cyprus. It is traditionally prepared from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows. The Cypriot cheese has no rind and has a tangy and salty flavor. You can eat it raw, but it does not taste like much and has a rubbery texture.
Due to its high melting point, it is better to eat it after grilling or frying. The cheese does not melt and becomes crispy on the outside and beautifully melted on the inside. Cooking the cheese also enhances the saltiness. Halloumi is a relatively healthy cheese, but with high sodium levels, it should be eaten moderately.
20. Washed Rind Cheese
Washed rind cheese, as the name suggests, refers to cheese with a brine-washed (or moistened) rind. After the cheese is formed and matured, the rinds are washed with a brine solution containing bacteria called Brevibacterium Linens.
This process causes bacteria to grow on the surface of the cheese, which changes the smell and color of the cheese. The cheese rinds turn a reddish color and give off a pungent smell. Washed rind cheese with a high moisture content is creamier than low moisture ones that are firmer. The flavors also vary from earthy and savory to yeasty and nutty.
Cheese, despite its deliciousness, often gets a bad rap for being unhealthy. People worry that eating too much cheese can make you gain weight. But this is just a misconception. In actuality, cheese is a whole food, which means they are not processed, and unprocessed food is deemed healthy.
Cheese contains many essential nutrients that our body needs. Different cheeses have different nutritional values, but one ounce of hard cheese, or a wedge about the size of your thumb, contains
- Calories: 120 calories
- Protein: 8 grams
- Saturated Fat: 6 grams
- Calcium: 180 milligrams
- Sodium: 300-450 mg per serving
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 1 grams
Apart from these nutrients, most cheeses are high in vitamins A, D, K, and zinc which helps keep our bones healthy.
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