Is Feta Cheese Healthy?

Feta is a tasty and popular cheese that originated from Greece. It can be made using only sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. Feta cheese is well-known for its tangy flavor and crumb-like texture. It’s often featured in dishes such as pastries and salads. However, there is the question that many people wonder: is it healthy?

Is Feta Cheese Healthy?

Feta is a nice cheese to enjoy because it has less fat and fewer calories than many other cheeses. But it still should be consumed in moderation. Read to learn more.

1.   Fat and Calories

There are 6 grams of fat (4 grams are saturated) and 75 calories in one ounce of feta cheese. Most people should limit their daily saturated fat intake to about 20-25 grams per day, so having about one ounce of feta cheese per day shouldn’t be a big problem.

2.   Protein

Feta is a good source of protein, although it may not have as much as other cheeses such as Colby and Cheddar. Protein is needed to help provide long-term energy, support the immune system and repair tissues. One ounce of feta has about 4 grams of protein which provides about 8% of the daily recommended amount.

3.   Vitamins and Minerals

Feta cheese has nutrients that are great for healthy eating. For example, eating just one ounce of feta cheese provides 14% of your daily requirement of calcium and riboflavin. Feta also provides small, but notable amounts of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as selenium, zinc and phosphorus.

4.   Sodium Content

When people ask “Is feta cheese healthy?” one of the biggest concerns is feta’s sodium content. One ounce of feta has 315 mg of sodium which is about 14% of your daily recommended sodium allowance.

If you are healthy, feta’s sodium content shouldn’t be a problem. However, for those who are on a low-sodium diet, one ounce of feta is a significant amount; these people are allowed to consume 1500 mg of sodium a day. This is because besides feta cheese, other foods in your diet also contain sodium, such as prepackaged foods and processed foods. If you must have feta cheese, try soaking feta in milk or water ahead of time, as that can reduce some of its sodium content.

Does Feta Have Gluten or Lactose in It?

Feta cheese is not lactose free, but it has lower amounts of lactose than other dairy products. Feta cheese is naturally gluten free, although some versions may be made with ingredients that have some gluten. If you have a gluten allergy, carefully read the feta cheese label to see if any ingredients containing gluten have been added.

Is It Safe to Eat Feta Cheese During Pregnancy?

Because it’s made with unpasteurized milk, feta cheese is at a higher risk for food borne illness, such as Listeria. If it is present in feta cheese, it can potentially lead to preterm labor or miscarriage.

How to Choose Healthier Feta Cheese

After the answer to "is feta cheese healthy”, here are some helpful tips to choose healthier feta cheese.

  • Look at the color. Feta cheese is white. Any other color like yellow is to be avoided since it indicates the cheese has been exposed to air for too long. This means the cheese isn’t as fresh as it could be or hasn’t been properly stored.
  • Pay attention to the ingredients. Feta can be made with different types of milk, but the best feta is made with sheep and/or goat’s milk, along with salt and rennet. Feta cheese that contains cow’s milk won’t be authentic or tasty, since it will be less firm, taste sour and have an unpleasant odor.
  • Choose the cheese with tangy flavor. Feta cheese should taste tangy. It should not taste bitter, sour, bland or rancid. If it does, either it’s gone bad or it’s not real feta cheese.
  • Look at surface texture. Feta cheese will have tiny holes on its surface. If you can’t see the holes, look for another place to buy your feta cheese.
  • Look for feta made in Greece. Feta cheese made in Greece is subject to European Union regulations which require traditional cheese methods and ingredients to be used for a product to be labeled “feta”. In addition, the goats and sheep in Greece produce a special type of milk as a result of the Mediterranean environment. This will allow the cheese to taste the best and be the most authentic.
  • Taste the cheese before you buy it. We can give you all the advice about picking the best feta cheese, but it will ultimately come down to whether you like the taste or not. So before you buy, if it’s possible to taste the cheese, you should do so. It will usually come down to your individual preference as to which feta cheese is the best.

Tasty Feta Cheese Recipes

1.   Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/3 cup of basil leaves, fresh
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Dice the tomatoes and chop up the cucumbers and green onions.
  • Slice the basil leaves into thin strips.
  • Place all the ingredients except the salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix well.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste; then serve and enjoy.

2.   Feta Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Breasts

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 3 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 7 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano (dried)
  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 slices of feta cheese
  • 4 slices of low-sodium bacon
  • 3-4 tablespoons of feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • Is feta cheese healthy? Yes, if consumed moderately. For this recipe, first mix the olive oil, oregano, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Slice open each chicken breast to make a pocket. Place one slice of bacon and feta cheese into each breast pocket. Close the pockets with toothpicks.
  • Place the four pieces of chicken onto a baking sheet or dish; then coat the four chicken breasts with the olive oil mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake the chicken for 28-34 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve and enjoy!
 
 
Current time: 12/12/2017 07:10:51 am (America/New_York) Memory usage: 3232.53KB