Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on November 28, 2022



Lactose intolerant? Give parmesan a try. In just 1 (grated) ounce, this low-lactose choice delivers 8 grams of protein, 119 calories, and only 3 carbs, without causing tummy trouble. Plus, it’s high in calcium and phosphorus, nutrients that help build bone.

Goat Cheese

Goat Cheese


It’s often easier to digest than cheese made from cow’s milk because it has different proteins that don’t irritate your digestive system. It also has a higher percentage of medium-chain fatty acids, which your body absorbs quickly instead of storing, the way it does with other types of fats.




This tasty cheese is low in both calories and fat while packing a vitamin B punch. Other nutrients it brings to the table include vitamins A and K, folate, pantothenic acid, iron, and magnesium.

Vegan 'Cheese'

Vegan 'Cheese'


In general, vegan diets can improve gut health and increase your fiber intake. Cheese made from plant-based options such as soy, nuts, seeds, or coconut can be a healthy choice, but pay attention to labels. Some vegan products are overly processed, which takes away from their healthy potential.

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese


This tangy, smelly treat is a solid source of calcium. Just one ounce has 15% of your daily recommended value.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese


This power cheese is packed with nutrients like protein, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. It’s also low in cholesterol and a good source of riboflavin. But it often comes with a load of sodium, so read labels and look for brands that have a lower amount.




If you’re looking for a low-sodium, low-calorie cheese, mozzarella is a smart pick. You also get a dose of probiotics in each serving from the healthy bacteria inside.




The whey in creamy ricotta boasts amino acids -- the building blocks of all proteins in your body. Whey is also good for building muscle, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol.

Farmer Cheese

Farmer Cheese


Farmer cheese is cottage cheese that’s pressed to remove most of the moisture. Because it has less liquid, it also has little to no calcium. But it’s low in calories, sodium, and fat while offering a good amount of protein.

Extra-Sharp Cheddar

Extra-Sharp Cheddar


When you want cheese but don’t want to go overboard on calories, opt for a high-flavor option like sharp cheddar. It can satisfy your flavor craving with just a small, bold dose. In addition, all of these cheeses are available in low-fat versions.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Cheese, blue,” “Cheese, feta,” “Cheese, parmesan, grated.”


Yale New Haven Health: “Say Cheese For the Health of It!”


Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism: “Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and bone health.”                


Proteomics: “Identification of caseins in goat milk.”


Kompen, D., Intech Open, Milk Production - An Up-to-Date Overview of Animal Nutrition, Management and Health, 2012.


PennState Extension: “Selecting Cheese for Health.”


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Health effects of vegan diets,” “Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate in older men.”


Nutrients: “The Health Advantage of a Vegan Diet: Exploring the Gut Microbiota Connection.”


Mayo Clinic: “Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance,” “Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers.”


MSU Extension: “The case for cottage cheese.”


Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins: “Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum Strains Isolated from Mozzarella Cheese: Probiotic Potential, Safety, Acidifying Kinetic Parameters and Viability under Gastrointestinal Tract Conditions.”


Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: “Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids: mechanisms underlying health benefits for active people (review).”


Obesity: “The chronic effects of whey proteins on blood pressure, vascular function, and inflammatory markers in overweight individuals.”


Berkeley Wellness: “Ask the Experts: Farmer Cheese and Calcium.”


USDA Food Data Central: “Cottage cheese, farmer's.”


NC Cooperative Extension: “Can Cheese Be Part of a Healthy Diet?”