|Goat cheese Quick Facts|
|Shapes||Round patties, drum-shapes, log-shapes, round loaves, pyramids, long loaves|
|Major nutrients||Phosphorus (29.57%)
Total Fat (28.83%)
Vitamin B2 (25.92%)
|Health benefits||Healthy fat, Good source of calcium and protein, Provide beneficial bacteria, Provide phosphorus, copper and Vitamin B, Easily digested|
Goat milk is used to make dairy products such as kefir, yogurt and cheese. The people living in France have high quality goat cheese for thousands of years. Likely, goat’s cheese is one of the first dairy products that are consumed ever. Traditionally made raw goat cheese is organic and offers calcium, protein and other essential nutrients.
The factor which influence goat cheese are lipolytic enzymes, fatty acid composition, starter and nonstarter bacteria which are present, storage temperature and time, pH and moisture levels of curds, salt-to moisture ratio, salt, surface area that is exposed, salt-to-moisture ratio and surface area that is exposed and humidity. Goat cheese provides healthy fats, calcium, copper, phosphorus, probiotics, iron, Vitamin B and protein.
It is the best alternative to cow’s milk cheese due to its low content of lactose, easier to digest, contains type 2 casein proteins and is usually less inflammatory and allergenic. This milk is higher in short and medium chain fatty acids in comparison to cow’s milk and these acids are easier for human intestinal enzymes than the larger chain fatty acids found in cow’s milk.
Goat cheese history
The goat cheese has long history of use and France continues to be the largest producers of several types of cheese made from goat’s milk which is commonly known as French chèvres. Climate, geology and geography precept the varieties of cheese prepared from goat’s milk. The quality and taste of milk is directly associated to terroir or land where goats roam. Traditionally, the varieties of goat cheese is made in Greece, Australia, Italy, China, Turkey, Norway, U.K., U.S., Ireland, Netherlands and in Eastern region of Middle East. Goats were treated as legendary animals in ancient Greece and were not raised only for meat but also for their skin and nutrient rich milk.
Goats adapted to arid areas of Mediterranean during Greek and Roman civilization. Goat cheese was used as money and food for pilgrims in Middle Ages. The consumption of goat cheese has increased in U.S. over several decades as goat cheese is known to be healthier in comparison to other cheeses. In past decade goat cheese is the fastest growing cheese in specialty food product market.
Presently, more than fifty percent of the products made from Goat cheese consumed in the U.S. are imported from France. Chevre which is a fresh and soft cheese having similar texture to cream cheese is the most popular type of goat cheese available in U.S. Usually it is sold in logs with added flavoring from berries, nuts or herbs.
Health Benefits of Goat’s cheese
Goat cheese offers these numerous health benefits that are listed below:
- Healthy fat
Goat cheese is a great source of healthy fat. The serving size of full fat goat cheese offers six grams of saturated fat. France is the leading consumer of butter and cheese in the world and it does not have high rate of heart disease in comparison to other nations. The French paradox illustrates the low rate of coronary heart disease death rates in France due to the high intake of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Healthy fats are essential part of diet because fat assist nutrition absorption, production of hormone and also protects neurological health.
Though the goat milk and cow milk have similar fat amount, the fat globules that are found in goat milk are small and easy to be digested. In comparison to cow’s milk, goat’s milk has high content of medium chain fatty acids such as caprylic acid, caprioc acid and capric acid. Due to this, the product made from goat’s milk have tart flavor in comparison to cow’s milk. Goat milk and cheese have caprylic acids that possess antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. The consumption of caprylic acid might be helpful to counteract fungal and yeast infections such as urinary tract infection, candida, digestive problems, acne and others. Goat cheese contains carbs and less sugar. During fermentation process of cheese, the bacteria found in milk consume sugar that results fewer carbs and sugar is remained. For the minimum carbs, avoid consuming processed cheese and flavored cheese.
- Good source of calcium and protein
Goat cheese and goat’s milk are healthiest source of calcium. The serving size of high quality dairy products could include goat cheese and other raw cheese offers 10 percent to 30 percent of daily needs of calcium that depends on the specific kind. Calcium is a crucial mineral that assist to build bones and maintain strong skeletal system and also supports dental health. Research shows that consumption of calcium in diet with vitamin D might be able to regulate glucose metabolism and also protects against diabetes, cancer and heart diseases. It also normalize the levels of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium which maintains balance of fluids in the body and regulates heart rhythms, blood pressure, nerve and muscle function and also cholesterol levels.
- Provide beneficial bacteria
Fermented foods naturally grow probiotics bacteria or could be added by manufacturers to promote its concentration. Now it has become common to add probiotic bacteria strains to the cheese like yogurt because cheese is the good carrier of these microbes. As the cheese undergoes fermentation process, they have high content of probiotics such as bifudus, thermophillus, acidophilus and bulgaricus. Probiotic foods improve gut health, promote immunity and also lower allergies as well as inflammatory reactions.
The probiotic content in different types of cheese varies on factors such as the amount of starter used, salt concentration, ripening time and addition of protein hydrolysate. The studies have found that the variables affect biochemical, microbiological and sensory properties of cheese. Probiotics could be optimized by adding L.acidophilus, B.lactis, salt and ripening for 70 days. Raw cheese which is aged more has high content of probiotic as it is not exposed to high heat and eliminates harmful bacteria. Goat cheese has probiotics which has more acidic and tart taste due to the content of B. lactis and L.acidophilus.
- Provide phosphorus, copper and Vitamin B
Besides protein, goat cheese grants copper, phosphorus and vitamin B such as iron and Vitamin B6. The combination of iron, calcium and protein also supports formation of bones and assist the absorption of minerals. The serving size of one ounce of goat cheese offers 10 percent to 20 percent of daily requirement of copper. Adequate amount of copper is essential to maintain high level of energy because copper acts as a stimulant in lowering molecular oxygen to water which is a chemical reaction that exists then ATP is synthesized. Being the third most prevalent mineral in the body, it plays a vital role in maintaining skeletal health, production of hormones and also the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Human body has phosphorus as the second most abundant element. It supports metabolism, controls muscle contractions and synthesize major macronutrients from diet such as fats, protein and carbohydrates.
- Easily digested
Goat cheese is helpful for those who are sensitive to dairy. It is a perfect choice for those who are not able to digest cow’s milk due to the different chemical structure. It is believed that goat cheese could be consumed safely by those who are allergic to cow’s milk. It is due to low content of lactose in goat’s milk in comparison to cow milk. Lactose is the responsible for not being able to digest dairy very well. It is the reason that goat cheese is easy to be digested than cow’s milk. A2 casein found in Goat milk is less likely to be inflammatory and cause intolerance. The chemical composition found in Goat’s milk closely resembles human breast milk.
- Lower cravings
Goat cheese provides protein and fat that is able to control hunger as it is satiating. Beside its great taste, goat cheese should be consumed in order to feel satisfied and helps to lower the chances of overeating in the long run. Instead of cutting down calories, processed cheese and low fat, weight loss experts recommend to consume full fat and high quality cheese by watching the portion size.
How to Eat
- It goes well with foods such as dates, honey, figs, chicken or turkey, beets, eggs and herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley; spinach, black pepper, kale, arugula, tomatoes, avocado and eggplant.
- Add goat cheese to frittatas, omelettes and salads.
- Serve it with balsamic dressing, roasted beets by adding it to collard wraps or sandwiches and top it veggies with crumbled goat cheese.
- Stuff roasted peppers with goat cheese and warm it in oven.
- Pizza could be topped with chopped fresh tomatoes, chevre and basil.
- Fresh goat cheese could be rolled in breadcrumbs or nuts and bake it 10 minutes at 350°F.
- Stuff fresh goat cheese into pork tenderloin or chicken.
- Goat cheese could be crumbled on steamed asparagus, roasted eggplant or grilled zucchini.
- Goat cheese could be added to quiche or omelets with ham, herbs or prosciutto.
- Spread goat cheese on bagels or toast.
- It could be used as a substitute for cream cheese.
- Use the crumbled cheese to top green salads.
- It could be used in lasagna.
- Combine goat cheese with pesto to make simple pasta sauce.
- Use it on baked potatoes.
- Some people might be allergic to goat milk products. So they should avoid it.
- It might cause symptoms such as sweating, hives, abdominal pain, swelling and diarrhea.
- Pregnant women should not consume raw cheese due to the bacterial contamination.
- Do not consume it in excessive amounts.