Blue cheese is one of those foods that get mixed opinions. Some people love its strong flavor while others are turned off by its pungent smell. When it comes to nutrition though, it provides benefits that make you healthier. So how exactly is blue cheese good for you? Find out more in this article.
What is Blue Cheese?
Blue cheese is a semi-soft fermented cheese that’s covered in bluish or greenish veins, which are actually Penicillium roqueforti mold. This mold is actually responsible for blue cheese’s earthy flavor and aroma.
Penicillium roqueforti is also used as a fungal starter culture for other blue-veined cheeses, such as [*]:
- Italian Gorgonzola
- British Stilton
- Danish Danablu
- French Roquefort
Some of these cheeses, particularly Gorgonzola and Roquefort, were documented to have existed for over 1,000 years ago. Usually, these types of blue cheese vary based on their salt content and moisture.
Is Blue Cheese Good for You?
In a nutshell, yes — blue cheese is good for you. The same goes for other cheeses. The only exception is if you’re allergic to dairy. Blue cheese benefits range from better bone density to a stronger immune system to blood sugar management.
To maximize the positive effects of blue cheese, it’s best to consume it as part of a healthy eating plan — for example, the keto, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and carnivore diets. Cheese can help meet your nutritional needs along with other foods in your current diet.
Blue Cheese Nutrition
A 1-oz serving of blue cheese (about two dice-sized cubes) provides the following [*]:
- Calories: 100
- Carbohydrates: 0.67 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
Blue cheese has good amounts of calcium, vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and sodium. Furthermore, those who are on a low-sodium diet (for instance, people with kidney disease and high blood pressure) should watch their sodium intake if they like blue cheese.
Health Benefits of Blue Cheese
As one of the best cheese options for snacking and meal times, its potential health benefits include:
Better Bone Density
Bone density is especially important as we age, and a diet that includes optimal amounts of calcium prevents bone loss and fractures. Blue cheese serves as an excellent source of calcium at 150 milligrams in a 1-oz serving [*].
Some people associate cheese in general with weight gain, but the reality is that cheese has been found to aid weight loss.
Fat makes up most of the calories in blue cheese — around 8 grams per serving — and fat increases satiety without having any effect on your blood glucose levels. When consumed on a ketogenic diet, blue cheese fills you up while keeping carbs very low.
Stronger Immune System
Blue cheese is abundant in vitamin A, potassium, and zinc. These micronutrients are known to boost immune function and reduce inflammation [*][*][*]. Looking to prevent disease and recover faster from an illness? Be sure to include blue cheese in your diet.
Good Option for Diabetes
Maintaining blood glucose control is essential for those living with diabetes. The good news is that blue cheese is diabetes-friendly since it’s low in carbs and protein-rich.
Research has also found that a higher intake of fermented dairy foods (blue cheese is fermented) is associated with a lower diabetes risk [*].
Potential Risks of Blue Cheese
Despite all the benefits of blue cheese, individuals also need to be aware of its downsides. Here are some potential risks to keep in mind:
Blue cheese going bad
Note that softer cheeses spoil more quickly than hard cheeses. To tell whether cheese has gone bad, watch out for grey spots appearing on the surface of blue cheese. You’ll also want to check for an ammonia-like odor, which indicates spoilage. Throw it away immediately.
Eating spoiled cheese leads to food poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
When someone has a dairy or milk allergy, their bodies recognize milk and milk products as invaders. Consuming blue cheese and other cheeses, for that matter, may result in a life-threatening allergic reaction.
If you’re allergic to dairy, avoid blue cheese at all costs. Furthermore, see a healthcare provider if you suspect an allergy after ingesting any type of dairy product.
How to Prepare Blue Cheese
At this point, you’re probably wondering what blue cheese goes well with and how you can add it to your foods.
Well, you can start by crumbling it over a bowl of salad or using it as a salad dressing (it’s a healthier alternative to store-bought dressings).
Popular blue cheese pairings include apple slices, figs, walnuts, pears, truffle, and red sparkling wine. These options balance the strong taste of blue cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are common questions and answers on the topic of blue cheese:
Is blue cheese good for gut health?
You can eat blue cheese to promote a healthier gut. Research shows that vitamin A, which is abundant in blue cheese, positively influences the gut microbiome by maintaining or increasing diversity. Additionally, vitamin A may improve the tight junctions in your gut, keeping your gut strong [*].
Is blue cheese a probiotic?
Although blue cheese contains microorganisms, unfortunately, most people don’t consider it a probiotic. However, some sources claim that Penicillium roqueforti — the culture that makes blue cheese — survives digestion in the gut, which means it could serve as a probiotic.
Is blue cheese good for your immune system?
Blue cheese can help boost immunity, thanks to its micronutrient content, such as vitamin A, zinc, and potassium. In addition to consuming blue cheese and other beneficial foods in your diet, be physically active and get quality sleep [*].
The Bottom Line
We’ve discussed blue cheese nutrition facts, its impact on your health, and some ideas on how to prepare it. The pros of eating blue cheese outweigh the cons — unless you have a dairy allergy. The same can be said for other cheeses.
Looking for other wonderful cheeses to enjoy? At Käze, we offer a wide range of snacks made from 100% real cheese. Check out our shop for different types of cheese, flavors, and sizes that fit your needs!