El Gran Queso- Should You Cheese During COVID-19?


Samantha Horvath

The current COVID-19 pandemic has left me questioning my own health choices and the food that I take in. Is cheese really a benefactory choice in my own diet? 

Let’s start off with the facts about cheese. It is classified as a whole food, which basically means that it is an unprocessed and unrefined plant food. Whole foods are generally healthy choices if not consumed inadequately. 

Cheese is a fantastic source of calcium, fat, and protein. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and B-12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin. In an ideal world, with 100 percent grass fed cattle, the cheese made from their milk is high in nutrients and may also contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K-2. There has also been research done that shows cheese could protect your teeth from cavities, which I honestly believe due to the fact I’ve only had one cavity in my entire life. 

Another interesting benefit of cheese includes high-fat cheeses like blue cheese, brie, and cheddar containing small amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Research has suggested that CLA may help prevent obesity, heart disease, as well as reduce inflammation. Not only does dairy fat include CLA, according to research, full-fat dairy products appear to provide greater nutrition and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, have shown to have a clearer positive effect on cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, when dairy is pasteurized with high heat, some beneficial compounds, such as good bacteria and enzymes, are significantly reduced.

With all of the advantages of cheese, there will always come disadvantages. The more obvious being the lactose within the dairy product. 65 percent of the world is affected by this drawback and have found many alternatives so they can still enjoy the taste of cheese and other dairy products. Other people that are invulnerable to casein, one of the main proteins found in dairy, are unable to find alternatives and cheese containing low-lactose would be of no benefit. 

The more unknown downside of cheese is that it is a calorie-dense food. Depending on the variation of cheese you eat, you will be ingesting around 100 calories per ounce. Likewise, it contains loads of sodium which can be bad for people with high blood pressure. Finally, cheese contains no fiber, meaning that excessive amounts of cheese can cause constipation. 

Looking through both advantages and disadvantages of eating cheese, I have concluded that there is no worry about it being unhealthy and bad for my daily meals. Being the cheese enthusiast I am, I will always suggest for you to eat as much cheese as humanly possible. There are so many health benefits as is and I think stocking up on cheese instead of toilet paper might be the more profitable choice. It will also last a whole lot longer than the nine packages of toilet paper you purchase. All jokes aside, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy life as we battle to stay distanced from the COVID-19 virus. As always, stay cheesy my friends.