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This is the healthiest cheese you can eat — and it has surprising benefits

Pizza could be heart-healthier than you think.

Everyone loves cheese, but many tend to cut it out of their diets due to high levels of saturated fat and sodium.

“Some foods, such as those high in saturated fat and sodium, can increase someone’s risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, a board-certified interventional cardiologist and medical director of the Structural Heart Program at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center, told Parade. “Conversely, a plant-based, high-fiber and low-saturated fat diet can be beneficial for heart health.”

But there’s still good news for cheese lovers. “Cheese can be part of a heart-healthy diet,” Chen reassured, adding that there are things to look out for when consuming cheese as part of a heart-healthy diet.

The cheese you choose shouldn’t be “too high in saturated fat and sodium, and [eaten] in moderation.”

That said, Chen chooses mozzarella cheese as one of the best for heart health.

“Cheese can be part of a heart-healthy diet,” Chen reassured. Getty Images

“It’s a good source of protein and calcium, and even contains probiotics that can benefit gut and immune health,” he explained. “Fresh mozzarella is also lower in saturated fat and sodium than other cheeses.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, one ounce of mozzarella cheese contains 6.29 grams of protein, 143 miligrams of calcium, 138mg of sodium and 3.94g of saturated fats.

Because mozzarella is lower in sodium and saturated fat, it’s a better option than other cheeses, Chen said. It’s also high in protein and promotes good bone health with its calcium content.

However, sodium content can vary among mozzarellas, so be sure to check the nutrition label before adding it to your cart.

“It’s a good idea to avoid mozzarella cheeses with too much sodium, as this can increase blood pressure, among other effects,” Chen said.

Chen chooses mozzarella cheese as one of the best for heart health
Chen chooses mozzarella cheese as one of the best for heart health. Getty Images/iStockphoto

When focusing on heart health, one should avoid, or at least minimize, consumption of heavily processed and manufactured cheeses — like American cheese.

“These tend to be very high in saturated fat and sodium,” he explained.

One slide of American cheese contains 256mg, according to the USDA.

And though it may be high in protein, you can get that protein elsewhere.

“The protein in cheese can be found in lean meat, while the calcium can be found in foods such as yogurt, beans and leafy greens,” Chen advised.

When it comes to heart health, Chen suggested opting for foods that are high in fiber, low in saturated fat and low in sodium.

“In general, the more processed a food is, the less healthy it is likely to be,” he said.

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