Goat Cheese Benefits and Nutrition
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The world has been waiting for the great taste of goat cheese to be discovered. Thanks to a new and innovative process, you can now enjoy this mild-flavored and creamy spread with countless gourmet options!
Goat cheese is a type of soft, fresh cheese that has been made for centuries. It’s rich in nutrients and can be used in many different dishes.
If you like cheese, you may be wondering which kind, if any, are beneficial for you. With its acidic flavor and crumbly texture, goat cheese has acquired a reputation as one of the healthiest cheese options. So what are some reasons why dietitians and even some obesity specialists advocate eating goat cheese (if tolerated)? Goat cheese is high in healthful fats, is more straightforward to digest than cow’s milk cheeses, and has a lower calorie and fat content than other cheeses.
Cow and goat milk are the most common varieties used to manufacture dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, and cheese. While there are certain advantages to drinking high-quality cow milk — I advocate drinking raw milk from A2 casein cows whenever feasible – there are many reasons to drink goat milk instead. For example, some individuals prefer goat’s milk over other cheeses because of its distinct flavor. Still, as you’ll see, goat’s milk has a chemical composition that makes it a preferable option for many people.
For thousands of years, people in regions like France have enjoyed high-quality goat cheeses; in fact, historians think that goat’s cheese was likely one of the earliest dairy products ever ingested. You can still obtain traditionally produced, organic, and even raw goat cheeses that are high in protein, calcium, and other critical elements if you look hard enough. Let’s look at why goat cheese is a beautiful addition to your diet, how it differs from different cheeses (such as cottage cheese and feta cheese), and what kinds of goat cheese dishes you should try.
6 Advantages of Goat Cheese
“Numerous types of goat milk cheeses are made globally,” according to the Journal of Dairy Science. Proteolysis and lipolysis are two vital biochemical processes in cheese aging, which include various chemical, physical, and microbiological changes under regulated environmental circumstances.”
Goat cheese is formed by letting raw milk curdle, clot, and thicken, much like other cheeses. The milk is then drained, leaving delicious, high-fat cheese curds left. Filling cheesecloths with curds and hanging them in a warm kitchen for many days to cure is a traditional method of creating soft or semi-soft goat cheese. Certain goat cheeses are matured by keeping them in cold settings for many months to heal and harden more.
Fatty acid composition, lipolytic enzymes, starter and nonstarter bacteria, pH and moisture levels of the curds, storage temperature and duration, salt concentration, salt-to-moisture ratio, exposed surface area, and humidity are all factors that affect how goat cheese comes out.
The following are some of the essential advantages of goat cheese:
1. Provides a source of healthy fats
Why is goat cheese a good source of fat? A serving of full-fat goat cheese contains around six grams of fat, the majority of which is saturated. Even though saturated fat has a bad reputation for being harmful and “hazardous” to your heart, there is much evidence to the contrary. For example, despite being one of the world’s top cheese and butter users, the French do not have higher rates of heart disease than other countries that consume less. In reality, “the French paradox” refers to France’s low rates of coronary heart disease mortality despite high dietary cholesterol and saturated fat consumption. Fat is an essential component of every diet since it aids nutrition absorption, hormone synthesis, and brain function, among other things.
Overall, cow and goat milk have equal quantities of fat. However, goat milk fat globules are smaller and more straightforward to digest. In addition, goat’s milk contains more medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), such as caproic acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid, than cow’s milk. This is one of the reasons why goat’s milk has a tangier taste than cow’s milk. MCFAs may also be present in fatty foods like coconut oil and coconut milk; they’ve been demonstrated to promote energy metabolism and are readily digested, even by persons who have trouble breaking down fats.
Antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects have been discovered in caprylic acid, which is contained in goat milk and goat cheese. In addition, caprylic acid may aid with various fungal and yeast infections, including candida, urinary tract infections, acne, digestive issues, and more.
Can you consume goat cheese if you’re on a low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet? Yes, and you should probably do so. Goat’s milk kefir, a fermented “drinkable yogurt,” includes some sugar (approximately nine to 12 grams per cup), making it a poor option for a very low-carb diet. On the other hand, full-fat goat’s cheese has just approximately a gram of sugar and carbohydrates. During the cheese-making fermentation process, the bacteria in the milk “consume” the sugar, leaving much fewer carbohydrates and sugar behind. Avoid eating processed cheeses, flavored cheeses (such as those combined with honey or fruit), and always choose grass-fed, full-fat cheese to keep carbohydrates to a minimum.
2. A good source of calcium and protein
Goat’s milk and goat cheese, like other dairy products, are high in calcium, which might be challenging to come by if you don’t consume enough green vegetables, almonds, or shellfish. A serving or two of high-quality dairy products each day, such as goat cheese and other raw cheeses, may offer anywhere from 10% to 30% of your daily calcium requirements, depending on the kind.
Calcium is a mineral that aids in the formation of bones, the maintenance of a robust skeletal system, and the maintenance of oral health, among other things. According to a new study, increasing your calcium intake in conjunction with vitamin D (from sunshine and dietary sources) may help control glucose metabolism and protect you against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Calcium also assists in equilibrium with other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These minerals work together to control heart rhythms, neuron and muscle function, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and maintain physiological fluid balance.
Goat cheese has around five to six grams of protein per ounce, making it an excellent complement to salads, roasted vegetables, and other low-protein however, according to studies, goat cheeses have a lower protein content than cow’s milk cheeses due to higher protein breakdown rates throughout the cheese-making process.
3. Probiotics are available
Probiotics may develop naturally in fermented foods or be added to boost their concentration by producers. For example, cheesemakers are increasingly adding probiotic bacteria strains to cheese, as they do with yogurt since cheese is a suitable transporter for these germs. Aged/raw goat cheese (and other raw cheeses manufactured from raw cow’s or sheep’s milk) are generally rich in probiotics, such as thermophilous, bifudus, bulgaricus, and acidophilus, due to the fermentation process such cheeses go through when curing. Probiotic foods provide several advantages, including increasing gut health, boosting immunity, and reducing allergies and inflammatory responses.
The number of probiotics in various cheeses is determined by variables such as the starter used, the salt content, the inclusion of a protein hydrolysate, and the ripening period. These factors all impact the “microbiological, biochemical, and sensory aspects of the cheese,” according to some research. For example, adding B. lactis and L. acidophilus, as well as salt and ripening for 70 days or longer, might increase the number of probiotics accessible in goat cheese.
Because they are not subjected to high heat, which destroys good (and dangerous) bacteria, aged, raw cheeses are more likely to contain greater probiotic concentrations. In addition, due to the presence of L. acidophilus or B. lactis, goat cheese with probiotics may taste more acidic and sour (similar to goat’s milk yogurt or kefir).
4. B vitamins, copper, and phosphorus are all present
Goat’s cheese is high in phosphorus, copper, B vitamins such as vitamin B6 and iron, in addition to protein and fat. The combination of protein, calcium, and iron may aid bone growth and mineral absorption.
With only one ounce of goat cheese, you can acquire between 10% to 20% of your daily copper (depending on the individual variety of cheese). Copper works as a catalyst in reducing molecular oxygen to water, which is the chemical process that occurs when ATP is created; hence getting enough copper is vital for sustaining high energy levels (the fuel that provides bodily energy). In addition, copper is the third most abundant mineral in the body, and it is essential for bone health, hormone synthesis, and hemoglobin and red blood cell development.
The second most prevalent element in the human body is phosphorus. Supporting your metabolism, synthesizing the primary macronutrients from your food (proteins, lipids, and carbs), and managing muscular contractions are all advantages of phosphorus.
5. Maybe easier to digest
Why is goat cheese better than ordinary cheese for persons with dairy sensitivities? Because goat milk has a slightly different molecular composition than cow milk, it may be a viable solution for specific individuals who can’t digest cow milk. Some specialists even feel that persons who are allergic to cow’s milk may safely eat goat cheese. One explanation is that goat’s milk has less lactose (milk sugars) than cow’s milk, and lactose is one of the main reasons some individuals have trouble digesting dairy.
We need to go back thousands of years to understand another reason why goat cheese is more straightforward to digest than cow’s milk cheese. Casein, a kind of protein found in milk from cows, sheep, and goats, is one. Many lactose-intolerant persons are susceptible to A1 casein, a type of protein present in milk produced by most dairy cows in the United States, Western Europe, and Australia. Intestinal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, acne, and dermatitis are all symptoms of A1 casein intolerance.
A2 casein, found in goat milk, is less inflammatory and less prone to produce intolerance. In addition, because goat’s milk has a chemical makeup similar to human breast milk, some mothers have historically weaned their newborns by feeding them goat’s milk. “Proteins from goat’s milk may be appropriate as a protein source for newborn and follow-on formula,” the European Food Safety Authority has concluded.
6. May Aid in the Reduction of Hunger and Cravings
When it comes to dieting and weight reduction, cheese is not the first thing that comes to mind, but what does the research say? Is it possible to lose weight by eating goat cheese? Because goat cheese is satiating and contains fat and protein, it might help regulate your appetite.
Another less apparent reason goat cheese and other full-fat dairy products may be “good for you” is that they taste excellent, which means you may need to eat less to be fulfilled. When you love your food, you’re less likely to go for snacks or feel deprived, which may lower your risk of overeating in the long term. As a result, many weight-loss gurus now advocate eating the actual thing — full-fat, high-quality cheeses — and merely controlling your portion size rather than trying to save calories by eating low-fat, processed cheeses.
Nutritional Values of Goat Cheese
According to studies, the quantities of minerals such as phosphorus, vitamin K, calcium, iron, salt, and zinc vary greatly depending on how goat cheese is cured and aged. Compared to harder cheeses that have matured longer, soft cheeses offer fewer calories, fat, protein, and most of the minerals stated above.
A single ounce of soft goat cheese contains approximately:
- Calorie count: 75
- Carbs: 0.2 gram
- Protein content: 5.2 grams
- Fat content: 5.9 grams
- Copper: 0.2 milligrams (10 percent DV)
- Phosphorus: 71.7 milligrams (7 percent DV)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 0.1 mg (6 percent DV)
- Vitamin A: 289 international units (6 percent DV)
- Calcium: 39.2 milligrams (4 percent DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 milligram (4 percent DV)
- Iron: 0.5 milligrams (3 percent DV)
Other Cheese vs. Goat Cheese vs. Cow Cheese
Is goat cheese healthier than other types of cheese like feta or cheddar? Here’s how goat cheese compares to different types of cheese:
- Many cow’s milk cheeses have more calories, fat, and protein than goat cheese, such as cheddar, brie, and gouda.
- Feta cheese is generally prepared from goat’s milk (or sometimes sheep’s milk) and is popular in Greece, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
- Other beautiful possibilities are sheep’s milk cheeses like Roquefort, manchego, and pecorino romano. Many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium, are found in sheep milk that is not found in cow or goat milk. In addition, sheep’s milk cheese is less acidic and typically creamier than goat’s milk cheese.
Where to Buy Goat Cheese and How to Use
If you’re looking for the most excellent quality goat cheese, you’ve come to the right place. Look for organic goat cheese at your local farmer’s market, or try ordering organic cheeses online. In addition, you may wish to try several types of goat cheese depending on how you want to use it, such as soft, semi-soft, hard, fig, honey, pepper, garlic, and herb cheeses.
Organic goat’s milk from grass-fed animals that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics is used in the finest cheese brands. Although raw cheeses are more difficult to come by, I advocate purchasing them whenever possible since they contain more enzymes and good bacteria because they are not pasteurized at high temperatures. Several investigations have shown that the chemical composition of cheese is influenced by its quality. Farm-produced goat cheese had more excellent dry matter, high protein levels, and more fat, according to a study of 60 different samples of goat cheese. In addition, compared to factory-made goat cheeses, farm cheeses have more significant quantities of lactoferrin caprine and serum albumin proteins.
What are some of the ways that goat cheese may be used? Honey, dates or figs, turkey or chicken, eggs, beets, herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, black pepper, spinach, arugula, kale, avocado, tomatoes, and eggplant pair nicely with goat cheese. Add goat cheese to salads or omelets/frittatas, serve goat cheese with roasted beets and balsamic dressing, add goat cheese to sandwiches or collard wraps, and topping vegetables with crumbled goat cheese are all popular applications for goat cheese.
Recipes for Goat Cheese
Here’s how to make soft goat cheese (commonly known as chevre) from scratch:
- 1-gallon goat’s milk (raw, organic goat’s milk that has not been processed is recommended)
- 1 chevre culture packet (purchase enough culture to set 1 gallon of milk; look for one that includes culture and rennet for cheese making)
- salt (two tablespoons)
- A ladle or a spoon
- Large colander or butter muslin
- Heat the milk to 68–72 degrees F (20–22 degrees C).
- Add the culture to the milk by sprinkling it on top. Allow 2 minutes for the culture to rehydrate before stirring.
- Cover the saucepan with a towel and let the milk remain at room temperature for 6–12 hours.
- Drain the whey from the curd using a colander after the curd has formed (when there is a thin layer of whey over the curd mass). Over 6 hours or longer, the curd will drain gently. The cheese will be drier and tangier the longer the curd can drain. Next, drain the mixture gently for 24–36 hours to make a thick cheese. Softer, sweeter cheeses need shorter draining time.
- Add roughly 1.5–2 tablespoons of salt and any herbs you want once the cheese has drained to your liking. Use within 7–10 days after storing the cheese in a container in the refrigerator.
History and Facts
“Authentic, handcrafted French chèvre has been handed down between generations of farmers for hundreds of years,” according to the Original Chevre website. With a long history of goat cheese-eating, France is one of the leading producers of a variety of goat’s milk cheeses known as French chèvres (chèvre means goat in French).
The types of cheese manufactured from goat’s milk are determined by geography, geology, and climate. The terroir, or terrain where the goats graze, directly impacts the milk quality and flavor. Goat cheese has long been created in Australia, Greece, China, Italy, Norway, Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland, as well as in the Middle East’s Eastern area (where Labneh cheese is often prepared with goat’s or sheep’s milk). Goats were regarded as “mythical creatures” in ancient Greece, and they were farmed not just for their meat but also for their nutrient-dense milk and even their skin.
Consumption of goat cheese has increased in the United States over the last few decades since goat cheese has gained a reputation for being healthier than other cheeses. “Goat cheese has been one of the fastest-growing cheeses in the specialty food product industry in the last decade,” according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. More than half of the goat cheese eaten in the United States is imported, mainly from France. The most common variety of goat cheese offered in the United States is chevre, fresh, soft cheese with a texture comparable to cream cheese that is often served in logs and commonly flavored with berries, herbs, or nuts.
If you have a known cow’s milk allergy or lactose intolerance, gradually introduce goat cheese into your diet to avoid a poor response. Even though goat (or sheep’s) milk is less allergenic than cow’s milk, it is possible to be allergic. If you’ve ever had a histamine reaction to goat milk products, proceed with caution while eating goat cheese. Stop eating goat cheese and other dairy products if you have hives, sweating, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, or swelling.
Because raw cheese is not recommended for pregnant women owing to the risk of bacterial contamination, it’s better to either avoid eating hard cheeses during pregnancy or buy from a reliable merchant you can trust.
- Goat cheese is a soft or semi-soft cheese with a tangy flavor and a silky texture created from goat’s milk.
- Goat cheese contains calcium, good fats, probiotics, phosphorus, copper, protein, B vitamins, and iron, among other nutrients.
- Goat’s cheese is a suitable alternative to cow’s milk cheeses because it has a lower lactose content, includes type 2 casein protein, is often simpler to digest, and is less allergic and inflammatory.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is goat cheese healthier?
A: Goat cheese is a dairy product that contains more nutrients than cow’s milk. The high protein, fat, and calcium content of goat’s milk make it the perfect food for growing bones and maintaining healthy joints.
Is goat cheese better for you than dairy?
A: As far as health benefits go, goat cheese seems to be a healthier option than dairy. Many things affect how healthy a food item is for you, and there’s not just one best answer.
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