Consumption of aged cheeses, table and grated cheeses, are growing: this was revealed by a survey carried out by the Research Center on Retailing and Marketing (REM Lab) of the Catholic University on behalf of Assolatte, which recorded a + 6,8% since September 2016 in the same month of 2021.
The reasons? According to what emerges from the study, the villagers consider these products as well as of high quality and naturalness, also practical and useful to be consumed as an alternative to meat and fish. But they are really healthy for the line and for health?
Let's clarify with the help of the doctor Laura ferrero, specialist in food science in Turin, and of the doctor Annamaria Bisignano, expert in quality and food safety in Potenza.
THEY HAVE MORE PROTEINS THAN FRESH
Like meat, fish and eggs, aged cheeses have noble proteins, i.e. complete with all 9 essential amino acids that the organism is not able to synthesize and that it must necessarily take through food.
"Compared to fish and meat they contain larger quantities. Parmigiano Reggiano, for example, provides 36 g per hectogram against 24 g for veal and 22 g for salmon. Also compared to fresh cheeses they ensure more, precisely because of the seasoning. In particular, they are richer in it those made with cow's milk»Says Dr. Ferrero.
THE BENEFITS FOR HEALTH (AT THE RIGHT DOSES)
Aged cheeses have a important caloric intake, between 350 and 450 calories per 100 g, but just pay attention to the doses to benefit from their nutritional virtues.
“So as not to jeopardize the line it should not exceed 50 g serving 2-3 times a week as a substitute for meat, fish or eggs for lunch or dinner », always suggests Dr. Ferrero. "Even if they contain a lot of fat, particularly saturated, harmful to heart and arterial health if consumed in excess, eat in moderation, mature cheeses, on the other hand, are allies of health. And according to recent research, the synergy of the minerals they are rich in and some specific components of their lipid molecules would even favor intestinal disposal of the fats contained, limiting its assimilation by the body and contributing to the maintenance of body weight ".
Furthermore, aged cheeses are rich in vitamins: «They ensure A, an ally of the skin and eyes, D, useful for the joints and E, precious for preventing cellular aging. They also bring many minerals, in particular calcium and phosphorus, essential for maintaining healthy bones, muscles and nervous system. And I'm great immediately available energy source, especially suitable for those who play sports », continues the expert.
THEY ARE ALSO GOOD FOR INTOLERANTS
Hard or extra-hard aged cheeses (such as grana padano, pecorino, caciocavallo or provola) they can also be consumed by lactose intolerant people.
«With the aging processes the milk sugar it is completely transformed into lactic acid and becomes digestible. Also, compared to the fresh ones they are lighter to digest, especially if from goat or sheep: in fact, they contain enzymes capable of predigesting casein, the milk protein ”, explains Dr. Laura Ferrero.
TO BE SURE OF WHAT YOU EAT
“Those who have the DOP quality certifications (Protected Designation of Origin), Igp (Protected Geographical Indication) and Stg (Guaranteed Traditional Specialty) are qualitatively better both for the origin and for the processing methods, certified by specific production regulations and subjected to greater controls. Even aged cheeses under the Pat brand (Traditional agri-food products) give greater guarantee of quality: they are artisanal products produced without using chemical additives ”, explains Dr. Annamaria Bisignano, expert in quality and food safety.
Those obtained with milk from animals raised in the wild and that feed on wild herbs are qualitatively better on a nutritional level: "They contain more antioxidants, in particular Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids in a balanced and optimal ratio, e betacarotene, precursor of vitamin A ».
At the time of purchase always check the label: «In order for the cheese to be of quality, ingredients such as milk, rennet and salt, and there must be no preservatives, except natural ones such as lysozyme, deriving from the egg », explains Dr. Bisignano. "Furthermore, the rind must not have been treated with wax or paraffin, substances usually used in low-quality products to prolong their conservation ».
Indications to be taken into account also why cheeses are among the most counterfeited agri-food products. «Often to increase their weight they are enriched with fats, in particular with margarine, starch, potato flour or starch. While to mask manufacturing defects due to poor milk they are used dyes and formaldehyde»Concludes the expert in food quality and safety.
HOW TO STORE THEM
«Matured cheeses can be stored for about two weeks in the refrigerator, in medium and large pieces, without losing the characteristics of the product just purchased due to the low water content, the salt content and the low acidity, which inhibit the development of pathogens and make it a safe food from all points of view, especially if aged for more than 60 days », explains Dr. Annamaria Bisignano, expert in quality and food safety in Potenza.
Which also provides another valuable tip: «To avoid the risk of contamination, it is always advisable store these cheeses on the higher shelves of the refrigerator, placing them in containers with hermetically sealed lids ».
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