You may have heard the slogan “everything in moderation”. This of course applies to all foods and (unfortunately) includes cheese. As a registered dietitian, member of a family that owns a cheese shop in New York City, and a sincere cheese lover, I know that sometimes you just can’t get enough of your beloved dairy product. However, most types of cheese are high in saturated fat and sodium, which is not the best choice if you have high cholesterol. However, if you have concerns about your cholesterol, that doesn’t mean cheese should be off your list.
Many types of cheese tend to be higher in fat and cholesterol per ounce, such as Parmesan or blue cheese. The good news is that these cheeses also tend to be very rich and flavorful, so you don’t need a lot to enjoy your fill! All you really need to up the “wow” factor in your plate is just one spoonful, torn or crumbled, of this incredibly tasty cheese. However, if you’re looking for a cheese to eat every day and enjoy in larger portions—especially if you have high cholesterol—below, you’ll find six options that, according to nutritionists, are better choices. Then, after learning which types of cheese are better choices to eat when you have high cholesterol, you can find out which types of cheese are the healthiest overall by reading our guide to the best healthy cheeses.
“I always tell my clients of all ages that cheese is a great addition to the diet because it contains protein that helps build muscle mass, and calcium and vitamin D that help build and maintain bones for a lifetime,” she explains. Jim White, RDN, ACSM EX-Powner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.
The white cheese is mozzarella, which is low in saturated fat, with only 3 grams of it. Best of all, mozzarella only contains 15 milligrams of cholesterol, which is particularly low compared to many other cheeses.
Cheryl Musato MS, RD, LDclinical dietitian at Cotton O’Neil Cardiac Rehab in Topeka, Kansas, and author Brain feedingHe also likes mozzarella – but he prefers to choose the fresh, part-skim kind.
“This delicious cheese provides beneficial active cultures, such as Lactobacillus, which are great for gut health,” says Mussatto. “[It] It also helps reduce inflammation, which is great for vascular and heart health. “
Mussatto adds that she likes her mozzarella in her caprese salad as well as in her spinach and cheese frittata.
“Cottage cheese can be a great choice for cardiovascular health because it is high in protein and low in fat,” he explains. Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD, Owner of The Mindful Gut, LLC.
Sauceda also recommends choosing farmed cottage cheese to take advantage of active live cultures for your gut microbiome, which research suggests is linked to heart health.
Leslie Ponsi, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN, FANDMD, owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie Bonci, recommends feta cheese “only 25 milligrams of cholesterol per ounce and lower in saturated fat (3 grams) than most cheeses.” Plus, Bonci says the rich taste of the feta means a little goes a long way; You can use less of it overall in your dishes, but still get a great flavor to savor. Mix salads with crumbled feta cheese, and pair with fruit, or add some produce to your dish by mixing feta with fresh cherry tomatoes.
Another cheese that Bonci recommends is partially-skimmed ricotta because it provides “19 milligrams of cholesterol per quarter-cup serving and 3.5 grams of saturated fat, making it less than other cheeses.” Part-skim ricotta provides a creamy texture, Bonci explains, making it a great addition to pasta in place of heavy cream. Also, since ricotta is so spreadable, it can be used on celery sticks in place of cream cheese to increase protein and reduce total fat and saturated fat.
Some of the ways Bonci enjoys using ricotta include on a slab of ricotta topped with greens and olives or smothered in berries for a deliciously creamy dessert that has less saturated fat than ice cream.
“Individuals with high cholesterol should look to reduce their intake of saturated fat, and you can do this by choosing low-fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella, 2% cheddar, and Colby Jack,” he says. Amy Judson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author Sports Nutrition Handbook And a member of our Medical Expert Council.
Most stringy cheeses have 70-80 calories and only about 5 grams of total fat (3 grams saturated) per serving, making them an excellent choice. Plus, the cheese is individually wrapped, so you can eat the right portion size of cheese without worrying about overdoing it.