While cheddar cheese is a delicious addition to many dishes, it doesn’t necessarily have a reputation for being healthy. Many people have concerns about the high calorie content and high levels of saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol. While it has nutritional disadvantages, a small amount of cheddar can be considered part of a healthy diet.
Cheddar cheese origin
Cheddar cheese originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, England, where damp, cool caves provided the perfect moisturizing conditions for the cheese to mature. However, since its creation in England sometime in the 12th century, this tasty dairy product has found its way into the hearts (and bellies) of cheese lovers around the world. Today, Cheddar is one of the most popular types of cheese among Germans, regardless of whether it is served in Mexican quesadillas, a creamy Mac’n’Cheese casserole or a juicy burger.
Cheddar cheese nutrition facts
Nutritional information for cheddar cheese per 100 grams:
Calories: 402 kcal (approx. 110 calories in 1 slice of 30 g cheddar cheese)
Fat content: 33 g
Saturated fatty acids 21 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids 0.9 g
Monounsaturated fatty acids 9 g
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Dietary fiber: 0 g
Sugar: 0 g
Protein: 25 g
Like many cheeses, cheddar does not contain any carbohydrates. That means it doesn’t contain fiber or sugar either.
Most of the health concerns about cheddar are focused on its fat content – and the saturated fats in particular. It’s true that in addition to being high in total fat (9 grams per 30 g), whole milk cheddar is also high in saturated fat (6 grams per 30 g). Traditionally, nutritionists have recommended a diet low in saturated fat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, new research suggests that saturated fat found in whole foods like cheese may not have the deleterious effects on heart health as previously thought. Many experts are now calling for more research to determine the advantages and disadvantages of saturated fat in dairy products.
At 25 grams per 100 g, protein makes up over 30 percent of cheddar’s calories. This can significantly increase your daily protein intake.
Vitamins and minerals per 100 g:
Vitamin A 1,002 IU
Vitamin C 0 mg
Calcium 721 mg
Iron 0.7 mg
Vitamin D 24 IU
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg
Vitamin B12 0.8 µg
Magnesium 28 mg
Sodium: 621 mg
At 721 mg (or 20% of the recommended daily amount) per 100 g, cheddar has a particularly high calcium content. But calcium isn’t the only micronutrient cheddar has to offer. 1 slice of Cheddar (approx. 30 g) covers 6% of the daily vitamin A and 14% of the daily phosphorus requirement and provides small amounts of magnesium, zinc, selenium and riboflavin. However, if you’re trying to eat less salt, keep in mind: Cheddar is also relatively high in sodium.
While cheddar cheese isn’t exactly considered healthy by most people, it actually offers some notable benefits.
Builds healthy bones
With its significant calcium content, cheddar can help maintain bone health. Adequate calcium intake is critical to preventing osteoporosis, the harmful degeneration of bone density.
Protein performs a variety of functions in the body, and at 25 grams per 100 grams, cheddar is a good source of this macronutrient. In addition to building muscle, protein is essential for producing enzymes, repairing cells, maintaining fluid balance, and more.
Fills you up and can help you lose weight
It is true that this type of cheese is high in calories and fat. But this increases the feeling of satiety, which is very important when dieting. This makes it easier to eat less throughout the day.
Suitable for keto and low carb diets
If you want to lose weight on the keto diet, you’re in luck. Because of its high fat content, cheddar is allowed in the ketogenic diet. Since it contains no carbohydrates, cheddar also fits well in any low-carbohydrate diet.
Has a low level of lactose
When it comes to lactose, not all cheeses are created equal. Cheddar is one of the aged hard cheeses that are actually quite low in lactose, which means that people with lactose intolerance can often eat it without unpleasant symptoms such as gas or stomach discomfort.
Although cheddar is low in lactose, it still contains casein and whey – two components that can trigger an immune response in people with a milk allergy. If you are allergic to dairy products, you need to remove the cheddar from your diet.
You’ve probably noticed that cheddar comes in a variety of “spiciness” levels, including mild, medium, hot, and extra hot. This simply relates to how long the cheese has matured: the longer it matures, the hotter (or hotter and tastier) it will be. Mild cheddar typically ripens for two to three months, while extra hot varieties can ripen for up to a year.
If you are histamine intolerant, you should avoid cheddar because it is high in histamine. The more mature the cheese, the higher the histamine content.
And why is cheddar orange? Interestingly, all varieties of cheddar are white (or a similar shade) to begin with, as they are made from cow’s milk. In the 17th century, cheese makers began adding vegetable dyes such as annatto to cheddar to give it a uniform color, and the practice never stopped. Hence, white cheddar could simply be called “original” cheddar. The added extracts are unlikely to change the taste of the cheese.
What is better? Cheddar grated or available as a loaf
There’s no season for cheddar! This cheese can be aged and bought all year round. However, in order to choose the best cheddar, it makes sense to read the ingredients list. Grated or sliced cheddar can be treated with anti-caking agents such as cellulose. Cellulose isn’t necessarily harmful, but it can affect the overall taste and texture of the cheese.
Shelf life and storage
It might go without saying that any cheese should be kept in the refrigerator, but technically, cheddar doesn’t need to be refrigerated. However, storing cheddar in the refrigerator will help it last longer. According to the USDA, unopened cheddar can last up to six months in the refrigerator, and opened packages can stay in the refrigerator for three to four weeks.
Because it is a hard cheese, cheddar is even easy to freeze – but freezing may not extend its shelf life much more than refrigeration. The USDA estimates that cheddar can be frozen for up to six months.
How to use cheddar
Cheddar can be incorporated into any number of cheese dishes or, of course, served as a dip with your favorite crackers. With a melting point of around 65 degrees Celsius, it doesn’t need a lot of heat to become nice and viscous. Because of its high fat content, it is also very elastic. It is perfect for gratinating casseroles, Mexican dishes, burgers, pasta and pizza. The mild cheddar taste goes well with broccoli and cauliflower. This combination is often used for soups, quiches, nuggets and also salads. If you want to reduce the carbohydrates but still don’t want to give up the hamburgers, you can also try salad wraps and breadless burgers.
Cheddar cheese chips
Are you looking for a crispy keto snack to nibble on or enjoy with guacamole or dip? This two-ingredient recipe is for you!
225 g cheddar cheese, grated or thinly sliced
½ teaspoon paprika powder
- Preheat the oven to 200 ° C.
- Spread the grated cheese in small piles on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. (Make sure there is enough space between them so they don’t touch.)
- Scatter paprika powder over the top and bake in the oven for approx. 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness. (Be careful not to burn the cheese as burnt cheese has a bitter taste.)
- Put on a plate and let cool for about 5-10 minutes. It is best to enjoy immediately afterwards, while they are still crispy.
These chips are ideal on their own as a crispy snack or perfect to serve with a dip such as guacamole, salsa or the classic ranch. With a little parmesan on top you will achieve perfection. Instead of paprika powder, you can also use spring onions, garlic, chili powder, or a taco seasoning mix.
Cheddar tortillas for tacos
You can use the same recipe to make your own keto taco shells. About 30 grams of cheddar cheese per shell is sufficient. Draw 3 15 cm circles on the baking paper so that the tacos are the same size. Bake the cheese in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees or until the edges are golden brown.
In the meantime, prepare the frame to give the taco shells their typical shape. For example, use two glasses and place a thick wooden spoon (or any other utensil you have) across the glasses. The handle should be so thick that there is a gap of approx. 4 cm in the curve of your taco.
As soon as the cheddar tortillas are ready, remove them from the baking sheet and let them cool for about 30 seconds. Before the cheese has cooled completely, carefully place the cheddar tortillas on the rack. Let cool for another 5 minutes or until they hold their shape. Then serve with fillings of your choice! Chicken fillets, grated cheese, sour cream, tomato salsa, diced onions, chopped peppers, lettuce and diced tomatoes – the ideas are numerous! If you want to cook other Mexican recipes, you can get inspiration from this article!