Many varieties of cheese, such as mozzarella, blue cheese, and feta, can provide protein and other important nutrients.

Cheese is a dairy product that comes in hundreds of textures and flavors.

It’s produced by adding acid or bacteria to the milk of various animals and then aging or processing the solid parts of the milk.

The nutrient content and flavor of cheese depend on how it’s produced and which type of milk is used.

Some people are concerned that cheese is high in fat, sodium, and calories. But cheese is also an excellent source of protein, calcium, and several other nutrients. Eating cheese may even aid weight loss and help prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.

However, some cheeses are more nutritious than others.

Here are 9 of the healthiest types of cheese.

fresh mozarella on a cutting boardShare on Pinterest
Image credit: Ratri/Adobe Stock

Mozzarella is a soft white cheese with high moisture content. It originated in Italy and is usually made from Italian buffalo’s or cow’s milk.

Mozzarella is lower in sodium and calories than most other cheeses. A 1-ounce (oz), or 28-gram (g) serving of full-fat mozzarella contains:

  • Calories: 85
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sodium: 6% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Calcium: 11% of the DV

Mozzarella also contains bacteria that act as probiotics, including strains of Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus fermentum.

Studies in both animals and humans suggest that these probiotics may improve gut health and regularity, promote immunity, and decrease inflammation.

One older study in 1,072 older adults found that drinking 7 oz (200 milliliters) of fermented dairy containing Lactobacillus fermentum each day for 3 months significantly reduced the duration of respiratory infections compared to not consuming the drink.

These results suggest that dairy products that contain this probiotic, such as mozzarella, may strengthen your immune system and improve your body’s response to infections. However, more research is needed.

Mozzarella tastes delicious in caprese salad, which is made with fresh tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar. It can also be added to many other dishes.


Mozzarella is a soft cheese that’s lower in sodium and calories than most other cheeses. It also contains probiotics that may benefit your immune system.

Blue cheese is made from cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk that has been cured with cultures from the mold Penicillium.

It is typically white with blue or gray veins and spots. The mold used to create blue cheese gives it a distinctive odor and a bold, tangy flavor.

Blue cheese is very nutritious and is a good source of calcium. A 1-oz (28-g) serving of blue cheese made with whole milk provides:

  • Calories: 100
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sodium: 14% of the DV
  • Calcium: 12% of the DV

Since blue cheese is high in calcium, a nutrient necessary for optimal bone health, adding it to your diet may help prevent bone-related health issues.

In fact, calcium deficiency may be linked to decreased bone strength and an increased risk of osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle.

However, blue cheese is also high in sodium. If you are on a low sodium diet, you should keep this in mind.

Blue cheese tastes great on top of burgers and pizzas or in salads made with spinach, nuts, and apples or pears.


Blue cheese has distinctive blue or gray veins and a tangy taste. It’s a good source of calcium, which may promote bone health and help prevent osteoporosis.

Share on Pinterest
Image credit: Sunny Forest/Adobe Stock

Feta is a soft, salty white cheese originally from Greece. It’s typically made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Sheep’s milk gives feta a tangy and sharp taste, while goat’s-milk feta is milder.

Because feta is packaged in brine to preserve freshness, it can be high in sodium. However, it is typically lower in calories than most other cheeses.

A 1-oz (28-g) serving of full-fat feta cheese provides:

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sodium: 14% of the DV
  • Calcium: 11% of the DV

Feta, like all full-fat dairy foods, provides conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is associated with many benefits, including reduced body fat and other changes in body composition.

A small 2019 study in 54 people with obesity found that taking 3 g of a CLA supplement per day for 3 months was associated with decreased body fat mass and body fat percentage compared with a placebo.

Thus, eating CLA-containing foods such as feta may help reduce body fat.

However, research is limited and has mostly focused on CLA supplements. Therefore, more studies on the effects of foods that contain CLA, such as feta, are needed.

To add feta cheese to your diet, you can try crumbling it over salads, adding it to eggs, or whipping it into a dip to eat with fresh vegetables.


Feta is a Greek cheese that’s higher in salt but lower in calories than other cheeses. It also contains CLA, a fatty acid linked to changes in body composition.

Cottage cheese is a soft, white cheese made from the loose curds of cow’s milk. It’s thought to have originated in the United States.

Cottage cheese is much higher in protein than other cheeses. One ounce (28 g) of low fat cottage cheese provides:

  • Calories: 23
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Fat: 0.8 g
  • Carbs: 1.3 g
  • Sodium: 4% of the DV
  • Calcium: 2.3% of the DV

Since cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories, it is often recommended for weight loss.

Several studies indicate that eating high protein foods such as cottage cheese can increase feelings of fullness and help decrease overall calorie intake, which in turn may lead to weight loss.

In a small 2015 study in 30 adults, researchers found that cottage cheese was just as filling as an omelet with a similar nutritional composition.

Thus, adding cottage cheese to your diet may help you feel fuller after meals and reduce your calorie intake.

It tastes great spread on toast, blended into smoothies, added to scrambled eggs, or used as a base for dips.


Cottage cheese is a fresh, clumpy cheese that’s loaded with protein. Adding cottage cheese to your diet can help keep you full and may support weight management.

Share on Pinterest
Image credit: Eugene Mymrin/Getty Images

Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from the watery parts of the milk of cows, goats, sheep, or Italian water buffalo that are left over from making other cheeses. Ricotta has a creamy texture and is often described as a lighter version of cottage cheese.

A 1-oz (28-g) serving of whole milk ricotta contains:

  • Calories: 42
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: 2.9 g
  • Carbs: 2 g
  • Sodium: 1.4% of the DV
  • Calcium: 4.5% of the DV

The protein in ricotta cheese is mostly whey, a milk protein that contains all the essential amino acids that humans need to get from food.

Whey is easily absorbed and may promote muscle growth, help lower blood pressure, and reduce high cholesterol levels.

One review of 22 studies in people with metabolic syndrome and related conditions suggests that supplementing with whey protein reduced levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C, a marker of long-term blood sugar regulation.

However, this review focused on whey supplements rather than whey from dairy foods.

While ricotta may offer similar benefits, more research on whey from whole foods is needed.

Ricotta cheese tastes delicious in salads, scrambled eggs, pasta, and lasagna. It can also be used as a base for creamy dips or served with fruit for a sweet-and-salty snack.


Ricotta is a creamy white cheese that’s loaded with protein. The high quality whey found in ricotta may promote muscle growth and help lower blood pressure.

Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese that has a gritty texture and a salty, nutty flavor. It’s made from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk that is aged for at least 12 months to kill harmful bacteria and produce a complex flavor.

The final product is loaded with nutrients. A 1-oz (28-g) serving of Parmesan cheese provides:

  • Calories: 111
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sodium: 15% of the DV
  • Calcium: 26% of the DV

A 1-oz (28-g) serving also contains 16% of the DV for phosphorus.

Since Parmesan is rich in calcium and phosphorus — nutrients that play a role in bone formation — it may promote bone health.

One 2014 study in around 5,000 adults found that higher dietary intakes of calcium and phosphorus were significantly associated with better bone mass in certain parts of the body, including the femur — the longest human bone.

Also, since it’s aged for a long time, Parmesan is very low in lactose, and most people who have lactose intolerance can usually tolerate it.

Grated Parmesan can be added to pastas and pizzas. You can also sprinkle it on eggs or spread slices on a cheese board with fruit and nuts.


Parmesan is a low lactose cheese that’s high in calcium and phosphorus, which may promote bone health.

Share on Pinterest
Image credit: Sunny Forest/Adobe Stock

As the name suggests, Swiss cheese originated in Switzerland. This semihard cheese is typically made from cow’s milk and features a mild, nutty taste.

Its signature holes are formed by bacteria that release gases during fermentation.

A 1-oz (28-g) serving of Swiss cheese contains:

  • Calories: 111
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Carbs: less than 1 g
  • Sodium: 2% of the DV
  • Calcium: 19% of the DV

Since it’s lower in sodium than most other cheeses, Swiss cheese is often recommended for anyone who needs to monitor their salt intake, including people with high blood pressure.

Also, Swiss cheese and other alpine cheeses, such as Emmental and Gruyere, are lower in carbs than many other types of cheese. This may be desirable for people who have diabetes or are following a ketogenic diet.

To incorporate Swiss cheese into your diet, you can eat it with fruit or add it to sandwiches, egg bakes, burgers, or French onion soup.


Swiss cheese has less sodium and fewer grams of carbs than most other cheeses, so it’s a good option for people with certain dietary needs.

Cheddar is a widely popular semihard cheese from England.

Made from cow’s milk that has been matured for several months, it can be white, off-white, or yellow. The taste of cheddar depends on the variety, ranging from mild to extra sharp.

A 1-oz (28-g) serving of sharp cheddar cheese contains:

  • Calories: 115
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sodium: 8% of the DV
  • Calcium: 15% of the DV

In addition to being rich in protein and calcium, cheddar is a source of vitamin K2.

Vitamin K is important for heart and bone health. It prevents calcium from being deposited on the walls of your arteries and veins.

Inadequate vitamin K levels can cause calcium buildup, inhibiting blood flow and leading to an increased risk of blockages and heart disease.

To prevent calcium deposits, it’s important to get enough vitamin K from foods. Because vitamin K2 (found in animal foods) is better absorbed than K1 (found in plants), K2 may be especially important for preventing heart disease.

Eating cheddar is one way to increase your vitamin K2 intake. You can add it to charcuterie plates, vegetable dishes, burgers, and eggs.


Cheddar is rich in vitamin K2, a nutrient that prevents calcium from building up in your arteries and veins. Getting enough vitamin K2 may decrease your risk of heart disease.

Share on Pinterest
Image credit: Aleks/Adobe Stock

Goat cheese, also known as chevre, is a tangy, soft cheese made from goat’s milk.

It’s available in several forms, including spreadable logs, crumbles, and varieties made to resemble brie.

Goat cheese is highly nutritious, with 1 oz (28 g) providing:

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbs: 0 g
  • Sodium: 6% of the DV
  • Calcium: 3% of the DV

In addition, goat’s milk has more medium-chain fatty acids than cow’s milk. These types of fat are rapidly absorbed in your body and less likely to be stored as fat.

Furthermore, goat cheese may be easier for some people to digest than cheeses made from cow’s milk. This may be because goat’s milk is lower in lactose and contains different proteins.

Crumbled goat cheese can be added to salads, pizzas, and eggs. What’s more, whipped goat cheese makes a delicious dip for fruit or vegetables.


Goat cheese is lower in lactose than cow’s-milk cheeses and contains proteins that may make it easier to digest.

Cheese is a widely consumed dairy product.

Most cheeses are a good source of protein and calcium, and some offer additional health benefits. In particular, certain cheeses may provide nutrients that promote gut health, aid weight loss, improve bone health, and decrease your risk of heart disease.

However, because some cheeses can be high in sodium and fat, it’s still worth keeping an eye on your intake.

Overall, cheese can be a nutritious addition to a healthy, balanced diet.