The #1 Best Cheese for Strong Bones, Says Dietitian – Eat This, Not That

Cheese really is the perfect food. It can be savory or sweet and can be paired with almost any food. Plus, cheese not only tastes amazing, but it also contains many health-promoting nutrients.

“Cheese is a good source of protein—one ounce can contain between 6 and 10 grams of protein, depending on the kind of cheese you choose,” says Roxana EhsaniMS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Registered Nutritionist and National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Cheese is the perfect food to include in snacks when you’re looking for a source of protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied between meals, and goes great with crackers, grapes, apple slices or tomatoes.”

It’s also great for gut health.

“Some cheeses may contain healthy bacteria that can act as probioticswhich could help support gut health, the immune system, and overall health,” says Ehsani.

But one of the greatest health benefits of cheese is that it is an excellent source of calciuman essential mineral for bone health.

“Most of the calcium in our body is stored in our bones,” says Ehsani. “Low levels of calcium can lead to weaker bones as well as an increased risk of developing fractures and bone diseases. Adequate levels of calcium are also important for the proper functioning of our teeth, heart, nerves and our muscles.”

There is one cheese that may be better than others for supporting your bones.

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Parmesan cheese Not only does it contain one of the highest amounts of calcium per serving of any other cheese, but it also contains phosphorus, another mineral important for bone support,” says Ehsani. “Per ounce (or 2 tablespoons), Parmesan cheese contains 34% of the recommended daily intake amount for calcium and 30% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for phosphorus. Most adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.”

A large study published in Nutrition review found that adults who consumed large amounts of calcium and phosphorus sustained a stronger bone mass.

Another bonus: Parmesan cheese is also very low in lactose thanks to its long aging time, notes Ehsani. Thus, people who are lactose intolerant can eat parmesan cheese.

To get more parmesan in your diet, you don’t need a lot of parmesan to reap the benefits.

“Just 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese a day is enough to get more than 30 percent of your daily calcium and phosphorus intake,” says Ehsani. “You can easily sprinkle parmesan into a healthy diet, you can add it to pasta sauce, sprinkle it on your pasta dish or your pizza.”

Looking for more ideas? Ehsani suggests you can also enjoy a piece with vegetables and fruit on a cheese board or at tea time. Plus, you can sprinkle it on avocado toast or on a salad bowl or cereal bowl to get a little bone building benefits.

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