A healthy cheese is one that contains live lactic acid bacteria and maybe probiotics.
Increasingly, manufacturers are adding probiotics to cheese as it is an excellent "carrier" of these good bacteria, in some ways even better than yogurt.
However, my own thought is that you hardly need to add anything extra to a naturally fermented cheese because it is already brimming full of lactic acid bacteria which are so beneficial to our health.
The immune enhancing effects have been proven. In fact, this is the group that most probiotics come from.
Are you struggling to understand what is probiotic cheese? It's simply cheese that either had probiotics added to it or they have grown naturally.
It's hard to seperate healthy cheese from probiotic cheese because quite often it isn't know which strain of a bacteria is in it. And just as some strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus are probiotic and some are not, so it is with most of the bacteria found in cheese.
The word Parmigiano Reggiano can only be used for the cheeses made in certain parts of Italy. If a cheese is made by that "recipe", but in another area, it is called Parmesen.
Whatever you call it, it a beautiful flavored and healthy cheese. Did you know that it is used in a gruel given to babies that can not tolerate their mother's milk and they thrive on it?
Check out Is Parmigiano Cheese Probiotic to see just what good bacteria are found in your average block of Parmigiano.
Interested in probiotic Gouda cheese? A 2010 study showed that it had extra immune enhancing benefits for the elderly when Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM were added to it.
Here is a list of different types of cheese and the lactic acid bacteria that you might find within them. Always nice to know what you're eating!
So many people asked me about Gouda cheese after the recent study that I wrote about good bacteria in cheese using naturally fermented Gouda cheese as an example. If you just can't resist, here is an online source of Gouda cheese made from raw milk.
More on examples of probiotics in foods - referring to healthy cheese, of course.
And what about the fat content you ask? Cheese is good for you. Don't go crazy and eat the entire block. Little and often is the way. Even experts such as Professor Huffnagle (author of The Probiotics Revolution) say that 1 or 2 ounces a day is fine.
Some experts in the US advise that pregnant women should not eat soft and semi-soft cheeses to avoid any risk of Listeria. This would include cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, ricotta, feta, goat, Limburger, Brick, Gorgonzola, Muenster, Port-Salut and Roquefort.
To keep this in perspective they also advise not to eat pre-prepared salad or cold meats.
In Europe most women continue to eat these types of cheeses during pregnancy. Talk it over with your doctor if you're worried about this.