Feta cheese is a soft, white-colored cheese typically made from the milk of sheep and goats. One of the oldest cheeses in the world, it’s known for a rich aroma and slightly sour taste.
While feta cheese provides you with an excellent source of nutrients like calcium and protein, it also contains high amounts of sodium and saturated fat.
Feta is lower in fat than many other cheeses, however, and is considered a reasonable option to eat in moderation. Because it’s not traditionally made from cow’s milk, but with milk from sheep and goats, it’s also easier to digest.
A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of feta cheese contains:
- Calories: 75
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
- Carbohydrates: 1 gram
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Sodium: 316 milligrams
Feta cheese is a good source of:
Feta cheese also contains a number of B vitamins, which support a healthy nervous system, healthy skin, and energy production.
Potential Health Benefits of Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals. However, the high sodium content in feta cheese may cause complications with certain medical conditions.
Research has found that when eaten in moderation, feta has the following potential health benefits:
Feta contains more calcium than many other cheeses. Calcium helps you maintain healthy teeth and bones.
Feta contains a fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Experimental studies have shown that CLA can help reduce body fat. These studies also show that CLA can help improve your body composition in the long term.
However, these studies are not consistent and further testing is required. Additionally, some studies have shown that CLA can have negative effects on sugar metabolism and cholesterol levels.
Fermented foods like feta cheese contain probiotics. These strains of good bacteria promote a healthy gut and support immune system function.
Researchers are studying if probiotics can help with symptoms of diarrhea and constipation associated with both irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Lowers Risk of Diabetes
Researchers have found that protein and calcium (both of which are plentiful in feta) can help control your body’s blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of developing diabetes and helping to manage existing blood sugar-related conditions.
Potential Risks of Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is a low-calorie source of many vitamins and minerals, but it also has a high sodium content. It contains saturated fats as well, which should be limited to less than 10 percent of your daily calorie count.
Consider the following before including feta cheese in your diet:
Although feta cheese contains healthy amounts of calcium, the phosphorus in feta may weaken bones in people with kidney disease.
Soft, unpasteurized cheeses like feta can contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause mild flu-like symptoms in adults. The bacterium may be quite harmful to unborn babies, however, and pregnant women are advised not to consume unpasteurized cheeses.
Feta also contains tyramine, a naturally occurring substance found in aged and fermented foods. Tyramine has been associated with blood-pressure spikes, heart palpitations, and severe headaches in people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) drugs. For example, those prescribed for depression or Parkinson’s disease.