Cheese gets a bad rap in the health and fitness world (high-cal, high-fat, high-sodium — yeah, yeah, we get it), but what if it doesn't have to? Cheese lovers, rejoice, because Women's Health has found seven cheeses that not only taste good, but will do your body some good as well. Researchers have found that butyrate, a fatty acid your gut produces in the presence of cheese, may help thwart colon cancer, reduce disease-causing inflammation, and—ding, ding, ding—help ward off obesity. And while butyrate is found most often in aged cheeses, other types have their own superpowers. A mouthful a day to keep the doctor away? No buts about that.
1. Calm PMS with Parmesan. Per one study, 25 percent of women say they suffer from severe premenstrual agony (and we suspect the rest were too miserable to weigh in). Meeting your daily 1,000-milligram quota of calcium can help tame fatigue, cravings, and mood swings. Few cheeses—heck, few foods—pack as much as Parm. A single serving will get you halfway to that thousand — and all the way to Yumtown. Try it out in our Skinny Spinach & Artichoke Dip.
2. Slim down with part-skim mozzarella. The classic pizza topper has a third fewer calories than most cheeses, clocking in at just 108 per serving. It shreds the munchies with over 10 whopping grams of protein to fill you up and has one-third of your daily dose of fat-burning calcium. Our skinny mozzarella bites are delicious!
3. Safeguard your heart with feta. A 2015 study found that people who downed two ounces of cheeses like feta daily were 20 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 41 percent less likely to succumb to a stroke. Compared with other soft cheeses, this block has about one-third less artery-clogging saturated fat. Check out this detoxifying Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad.
4. Build muscle with part-skim ricotta. Turns out, Miss Muffet knew a good thing when she saw it. Whey, a complete protein found in milk, usually gets tossed when cheese is made. Not so ricotta: It's loaded with 14 body-toning grams per half-cup. It's also rich in the amino acid leucine, which can stimulate muscle growth —and, in turn, shrink your tuffet. Try our Savory Spinach & Ricotta Crepes recipe!
To discover the final three cheeses that pack awesome health benefits, click here to see the original article from Women's Health.