Swiss cheese is also called Emmental or Propionic Acid cheese (1). Propionic acid fermentation is when lactic acid breaks down milk and turns it into Swiss-type cheese (2). Swiss cheese is a hard cheese with distinct holes left behind from gasses released by lactic acid bacteria as they ferment the cheese (1). Several health aspects of Swiss cheese make it a good choice for dairy and protein in your diet. Some of these include nutritional value, bacterial species found in Swiss cheese that are good for our gut, and vitamins and minerals that our body needs to run efficiently. So, Is Swiss Cheese Good for You?
Nutritional Value of Swiss Cheese
Unfortunately for all of us, cheese lovers, cheese is high in calories. Most of those calories come from fat, but that doesn’t mean this is unhealthy food. Unlike something deep-fried in oil, these fats are primarily good for you. “What are Healthy Fats?” In case you are wondering, here 20 examples. Compared to cheddar, the mild and hole-filled Swiss cheese is a slightly better option. It contains 2 grams more protein and 2 grams less fat per serving compared to cheddar cheese. Swiss cheese also has much less salt than traditional cheddar (3, 4).
Bacteria Found in Cheeses are Healthy
Bacteria found in cheese are good for your gut
Lactic acid bacteria are found in milk, and when the milk is processed, and fermentation begins, those bacteria start to reproduce and digest the milk, turning it into cheese (5, 6). The most numerous bacteria involved here are Lactobacillus species, which are very good for health (7). They’ve been credited with reducing pathogenic bacterial counts in the gut, enhancing protection against pathogenic bacteria, preventing gastrointestinal infections, and even improving the host’s immune system function (8). Fermented foods like cheese can contain up to 1,000,000-100,000,000 lactic acid bacteria per gram (9). Now that packs a healthy punch.
Lactic acid bacteria aren’t the only type of bacteria found in cheese. Streptococcus was also found in Swiss cheese. The rind of cheeses can also contain Advenella, Psychrobacter, and other types of bacteria that can also be beneficial to your gut, helping you fight off pathogens and more efficiently digest your food, extracting those healthy nutrients (10). Overall, cheeses are a great addition to your diet because these microbes are healthy for us. In moderation, this is a beneficial nutritional supplement.
Cheese extracts also have antibacterial and antifungal properties
The bacteria in cheese can inhibit other pathogenic bacteria and fungus from growing in them. Because the cheese environment is all about competition for food (the milk that is being fermented), the bacteria fight to keep out other microbes that will also eat their food source. A recent study suggests that cheese extracts might be a good alternative to traditional food preservation methods like additions of artificial preservatives (11).
Vitamins and Minerals in Cheese
Cheese is high in several different minerals such as calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth; phosphorous, needed for metabolism and organ function; and magnesium, essential for nerve and muscle function (12, 13, 14). Cheese also contains various vitamins such as B12, needed for the generation of genetic material and nerve health, and A, required for proper vision and immune system functioning (15, 16). Cheese contains many more nutritional contents than it is given credit for and is far healthier than its caloric and fat content would suggest. That said, small amounts of this creamy delight go a long way, and small amounts of cheese is best for health.
Other Disease Fighting Properties of Cheese
Cheese as an antihypertensive
Fats are typically bad for hypertension, which is high blood pressure. But cheese contains antihypertensive peptides, such as an angiotensin-converting enzyme (also called ACE), that can reduce blood pressure by dilating our veins and arteries (17). Several different antihypertensive peptides were detected in various types of cheeses, and for this reason, a little cheese now and then might not be such a bad thing for your blood pressure and overall health (18).
Cheese is neutral for cardiovascular disease
There have been many rumors suggesting that cheese increases the risk and incidence of cardiovascular disease. However, those remain unfounded, and a recent study showed once again that cheese is a neutral food, neither increasing nor decreasing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease if you follow a healthy diet (19)
In conclusion, Is Swiss Cheese Good for You?
While we don’t recommend snacking on an entire brick of cheese at a time, cheese can be a part of a healthy diet. Containing many vitamins, nutrients, and peptides that are healthy for you is a healthy addition to your daily menu. Cheese is high in health-boosting bacteria, and Swiss cheese is among the low fat, low salt varieties of cheese that makes it a better choice than cheddar varieties. Add some Swiss cheese to your sandwich and enjoy some of the many health benefits that this delicious cheese has to offer.