There is much talk about those cheeses of French, Spanish and Italian origin , thanks to the fact that their cuisines are highly recognized for these dairy products , however there is one that many overlook, the elegant Greek cuisine.
This gastronomy has extravagant dishes to its credit, but it is also the owner of a very famous cheese: feta cheese , which we will explain in this article in which we will share its properties and benefits for health.
What is feta cheese?
Feta cheese is a white cheese of Greek origin, being the oldest in this country, dating back to the most remote times of classical antiquity , it is also one of the most famous cheeses worldwide, possessing special characteristics.
This Greek cheese has a very curious preparation, through the mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk as relevant ingredients . It should be noted that it has a slightly salty taste, although it is obtained soft or hard, in the presentation of wheels, in itself it is white with a soft consistency.
Important: An analysis emphasizes the following: “There is a significant concentration of feta consumption in Greece, since this country reaches between 70% and 85% of the total of the European Community.” (1)
Nutritional properties of feta cheese
What is it that makes feta cheese so famous? What is it that allows its high consumption in Greece and its wide distribution worldwide? Those nutritional properties that it gives us, we mention below:
This cheese is rich in several vitamins, highlighting vitamin B12 (1.7 mg riboflavin), vitamin D (with 16 mg), vitamin B6 (0.4 mg) as well as vitamin B2 and vitamin A, although in few portions.
To highlight: It also contains vitamin K , an essential element of feta cheese to prevent deformations and injuries to bone structures, which includes greater strength of soft tissues.
On the other hand, goat’s milk (from feta cheese) is a great source of minerals , where we find the famous phosphorus (337 mg), calcium (493 mg), iron (0.65 mg), potassium (62 mg ), magnesium (19 mg), sodium (917 mg), zinc (2.88 mg), copper (0.03 mg), manganese (0.02 mg) and selenium (15 mg).
Note: It is important to mention that minerals are closely related to the metabolism of the system , which helps with the transformation of proteins into energy.
3. Other compounds
Feta cheese has amazing compounds, which are divided into total fat (specifically saturated) , a considerable level of sugar, carbohydrates, proteins and a low content of monounsaturated fatty acids, although its consumption should be moderate.
To highlight: Another important element is the probiotics, an important complement for the formation of the “traditional feta” , not to mention that they provide hydration to intestinal health unlike many other cheeses of different flavors.
What are the benefits of feta cheese?
Feta cheese has many healthy properties, but what does our body get in exchange for these components? The answer is divided into 9 essential benefits, which are presented below:
1. Improves the immune system
Vitamin A and thiamine are essential components in natural feta cheese to strengthen the immune system (the body’s main defenses), adding a curious element, probiotics .
Note: According to one study, probiotics “ Are non-digestible complex carbohydrates that enhance the immune system” . (two)
2. Promotes intestinal health
The probiotics of natural feta cheese also improve intestinal flora and digestion , together with the power of sodium that favors hydration and gastrointestinal health.
It must also be remembered that the probiotics housed in feta cheese are classified as a booster of the immune system , avoiding intestinal problems due to times of stress or fatigue.
Notable : One review mentions the following “Probiotics stimulate the protective functions of the digestive tract and prevent gastrointestinal infections” . (3)
3. Strengthens bones and teeth
The absorption of iron, manganese and calcium together with vitamin D or K found in feta cheese, help to maintain the strengthening and further development of bone tissue, encompassing the skeleton along with the teeth.
You should know: The low intake of these components suppose the appearance of conditions such as osteoporosis (a condition related to the wear of bone tissue).
4. Protects eye health
The vitamin A that feta cheese has has an additional function, promoting eye health, in short, the ability to see better, taking into account that this cheese also has antioxidants, which prevent the oxidation of cells.
To highlight: Vitamin B2 also has the ability to prevent oxidation of eye health , preventing critical states such as cataracts and glaucoma, many of them related to premature aging.
5. Fights anemia
Anemia is common due to the decrease in red blood cells , the copper in feta cheese allows maintaining an adequate volume of blood, taking into account that riboflavin is necessary for the formation of cells in the body, this includes the formation of red blood cells .
Vitamin B12 also has a job in relation to iron (to deal with anemia), an essential mineral in the human diet , since nutrients are closely related to hemoglobin and oxygen transport through them (which It also depends on the energy.
6. Reduces headaches
Feta cheese has the ability to reduce headaches and migraines in certain cases, this is achieved thanks to the intake of vitamin B12 and vitamin B2, which greatly help in the formation of energy for the body.
7. Prevents some types of cancer
It is claimed that feta cheese has the ability to reduce symptoms or appearances of certain types of cancer, with a combination of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, related to metabolism and chemical reactions in the body. In addition, feta cheese has antioxidants , which limit the damage caused by free radicals.
How to make homemade feta cheese?
Feta cheese has a detailed but simple preparation, the idea is a homemade or rather natural preparation, so that it is healthy for the body. This is one of the ways to make feta cheese at home:
- sheep milk
- goat milk
- Calcium chloride
- mesophilic ferments
- rennet tablet
- You have to pasteurize or make a mixture of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk, for approximately 10 minutes, with temperatures of 68° to 70° .
- At the end, the pasteurized milk is cooled with a maximum of 36°, for at least 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, a mixture of calcium chloride (measured between 10 and 20 g) is added, the same applies to mesophilic ferments.
- The rennet tablet is added between 45 and 60 minutes before being transferred to molds with holes for distillation.
- It must be kept in refrigerated chambers for 24 hours, to then carry out the rennet salting process (where excess milk is removed with brine).
- After a day, it is cut into rectangles , adding a little brine, then stored for a maximum of 15 days at 16° (ripening stage).
- Then it must be stored at temperatures of 2° and 5° for 2 months and thus the cheeses will be consumed properly.
- Feta cheese is one of the most famous cheeses in the world , made from sheep’s and goat’s milk whose flavor can be very light.
- It is a cheese very rich in nutritional compounds , highlighting probiotics and proteins.
- This cheese improves the intestinal flora, boosting the immune system and also the protection of bone tissues.
- The process of making feta cheese can last a maximum of 2 months if you want to obtain a quality homemade product.