Il cheese is the product of the coagulation of milk, obtained by adding rennet and, possibly, of probiotics and sale. Rennet is an acidic substance rich in coagulating enzymes, obtained from the stomach of dairy animals, from some plants or from molds.
Cheeses are rich in protein (20-30% of average), especially of casein, which is bound to calcium and phosphorus salts (calcium phosphocaseinate).
The content in lipids it varies, depending on the starting milk (skimmed or whole), 8-20% in low-fat cheeses, 20-42% in semi-fat ones, over 42% in fat ones. It is mainly about saturated fats, but also mono and polyunsaturated, phospholipids (structural components of cell membranes) e cholesterol (40-100 mg per 100 g of cheese).
In the fat component of the cheese are found the fat-soluble vitamins, especially A and D. The content in B vitamins it is variable, depending on the method of processing the cheese, but modest, since they are soluble in whey.
Cheeses, like milk and dairy products, are the main source of calcium and phosphorus minerals.
The content of is also high sodium chloride (salt), often added during processing. Among trace elements there are good amounts of magnesium e zinc.
Cheeses are foods rich in nutrients. They have a significant percentage of proteins of high biological value (rich in essential amino acids), which are essential for the construction and maintenance of organs and tissues of the body. They are a primary source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, essential elements for proper bone development during growth. Furthermore, the regular presence of cheese in the diet helps prevent the decalcification of bones typical of old age.
The fats present in cheeses help to convey the fat-soluble vitamins present (A and D), otherwise not assimilable by our body.
Cheeses, if they are not excessively fatty, have a high digestibility. Compared to milk, in fact, the fats and proteins of cheeses (especially aged ones) are partially degraded into simpler molecules, thanks to the action of lactic ferments and their enzymes.
Cheese should be limited in the following cases: to those with high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, due to the saturated fat content; to those who take antidepressant drugs, since fermented cheeses contain a substance, the tyramine, which can interfere with some antidepressant medications; to migraine sufferers: some cheeses contain substances that constrict the capillaries and can cause headaches; to those allergic to milk and its derivatives and finally in case of hypertension and in low-sodium diets due to their appreciable sodium chloride content.