Image credits: Iñigo De la Maza via Unsplash.
This gooey variety of cheese does more than make your pizzas delicious! In this article, we’ll go over 6 amazing health benefits of mozzarella cheese, and also its nutrition and calorie information.
What is mozzarella cheese?
Mozzarella is probably one of the most famous types of cheese in the world. If you’ve ever ordered a pizza or been to an Italian restaurant, you’re already familiar.
Hailing from the beautiful southern regions of Italy, Mozzarella is a type of semi-soft cheese made from Italian buffalo’s milk. Cheesemakers use the method known as “pasta filata” to make this delicious cheese. This means the cheese is produced by pulling and kneading in hot water.
Mozzarella cheese has a relatively high moisture content. Because of this, it’s usually served the very next day after it’s made. You can extend its life by keeping in brine or simply refrigerating it. The kinds you find in supermarkets are vacuum-sealed and last much longer.
We’re pretty sure you know what mozzarella tastes like. (It’s not what we’d call an exotic cheese.) But for reference, this soft-ish cheese tastes… quite bland, to be honest. It’s a delicate taste, somewhat sour, and if it’s fresh you can taste some milkiness. But as the days pass, the sourness goes up.
If you’re ready to learn about the nutrition, calories, and health benefits of mozzarella cheese, scroll on over to the next section.
But if you’ve ever wondered why mozzarella is called mozzarella, read on. “Mozza” means “to cut” in certain Southern Italian dialects. This is believed to be derived from the method of working the cheese. Cheesemakers would cut off bits of a huge lump of cheese and serve diners and guests. The “ella” bit is a diminutive, or a suffix added to make the original thing smaller.
In short, mozzarella literally means “small cuts (of cheese)”!
Nutrition and calories of Mozzarella cheese
You might get to see mozzarella in your local supermarket as a little ball or lump of cheese. But each of those gooey bundles carries a surprising dollop of nutrients.
Here are some of the most important nutrients and calories found in mozzarella cheese (1).
- Serving size: 100g
- Energy: 299 calories
- Protein: 22g
- Fat: 22g
- Carbs: 2.4g
- Cholesterol: 79 mg
- Sodium: 486 mg
- Calcium: 505 mg
- Iron: 0.4 mg
- Potassium: 76 mg
- Phosphorous: 76 mg
- Vitamin D: 0.4μg
Mozzarella cheese does more for you than make your pizzas delicious. Now that we’ve looked at the nutrients and calories in mozzarella, let’s see how everyone’s favorite soft cheese benefits your health.
6 amazing health benefits of mozzarella cheese
Image credits: Alexander Maasch via Unsplash.
Because mozzarella cheese is a somewhat decadent food, most people tend to avoid it altogether. A common question among diet-savvy people is whether mozzarella is healthy.
Good news—it is! Mozzarella cheese can support your health in a plethora of ways. Here are six of the many health benefits of mozzarella cheese.
1. Helps regulate blood pressure.
Mozzarella cheese is high in potassium, which is vital to maintaining good blood pressure.
Most of our modern diets are very high in sodium. This leads to what’s commonly known as high blood pressure (2). Unchecked HBP may in turn lead to heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and a host of other cardiovascular diseases.
Another reason why many people suffer from high blood pressure is the lack of potassium in modern diets. An appropriate level of potassium in the body helps to lower blood pressure (3).
Multiple studies suggest that there’s a link between low potassium intake and increased blood pressure and a higher risk of stroke (3, 4, 5). The converse is also true. A healthy amount of potassium in the diets of people with high blood pressure shows a significant lowering of their systolic blood pressure.
2. Helps regulate cholesterol
Mozzarella cheese contains vitamin B3, also known as Niacin. This water-soluble vitamin (meaning your body doesn’t store it) has the ability to regulate cholesterol in the body. In short, Niacin reduces “bad” cholesterol and increases “good” cholesterol. For a longer explanation, read on.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that builds up in your arteries. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not entirely bad for you. Only a certain type is (6). So-called “bad cholesterol” is scientifically known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and contributes to blocked arteries. “Good cholesterol” (known as high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) on the other hand, pick up deposited cholesterol and carries it to your liver.
On the flip side, Niacin also increases HDL cholesterol. Research shows that this increase ranges from 15% to an impressive 35%! (7)
Before you go looking for Niacin supplements, remember that this wonder-vitamin isn’t the primary treatment for high cholesterol. Scientists recommend it as a cholesterol-lowering treatment for people who can’t other, more effective types of medication.
3. Keeps your body’s cells healthy
What’s something your body has in common with mozzarella cheese? Both contain loads of phosphorous!
This is the second most common mineral in the human body (the first being calcium). Phosphorous does many great things in your body, one of the most important being keeping your cells and tissue healthy.
A few of the ways phosphorous keeps your cells healthy are (9):
- Grow, maintain, and repair cells
- Making energy for your cells to use
- Produce RNA and DNA, the blueprints of your cells
- Balance and use various vitamins and minerals
- And more.
For such an important mineral, it’s important to know when your body might not have the right amounts. Some health conditions such as diabetes may lower the potassium levels in your body. On the other hand, you might have excess potassium, too. You might experience this if you have kidney disease, not in enough calcium in your body, or simply eat too much potassium.
So if potassium deficiency is something you’re trying to keep up with, mozzarella cheese might be a delicious way of supplementing your diet.
4. Keeps you feeling energetic
Mozzarella cheese contains another B vitamin known as riboflavin (vitamin B2). This vitamin is just as multitalented as the last one. But one of the most important functions of riboflavin is maintaining the body’s energy supply (10).
Riboflavin helps to break down the macro elements in your food. These are carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
It also helps convert carbohydrates into the fuel that your body uses to generate energy: adenosine triphosphate, known commonly as ATP. This compound is how your body stores energy for use in the muscular system.
Aside from helping power your body, riboflavin also performs many other roles in keeping you healthy:
- Maintaining digestive health
- Keeping your liver healthy
- Keeping the eyes, nerves, muscles, and skin healthy
- Absorbing and activating iron, folic acid, and vitamins B1, B3, and B6
- Hormone production by the adrenal glands
5. Helps your wounds heal faster
If you’ve ever had a rough-and-tumble childhood, you probably have scars to show for it. And the fact that these wounds (and every other one) healed is because of a mineral that’s abundantly present in mozzarella cheese: zinc.
Zinc is what’s known as a “micronutrient”. These are nutrients your body needs in small amounts. But that doesn’t mean micronutrients aren’t important. Take zinc for example.
Zinc plays a major role in regulating every phase of the wound healing process. This process ranges from membrane repair, oxidative stress, coagulation, inflammation, and immune defense, tissue re-epithelialization, angiogenesis, to fibrosis/scar formation (11).
Fortunately for dairy lovers, most products falling into the dairy category usually provide good amounts of zinc. Milk and cheese in particular are excellent sources of this mineral because they contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc (12). This means that most of the zinc present in these foods can be absorbed by your body.
6. Helps keep your nails, skin, and hair healthy
Another vitamin present in mozzarella cheese is biotin, also known as vitamin H. The H stands for “hair”. This apt name is because biotin is one of the main vitamins responsible for keeping your hair healthy. It helps keep your skin and nails healthy as well.
Multiple studies have shown that taking supplements including biotin lead to increased hair growth and reduced shedding. In these studies (13, 14), women were given either a pill containing a blend of biotin and other ingredients or a placebo. They were asked to take these pills twice a day.
The women who took the non-placebo pills that contain biotin were shown to have had the results we just mentioned. Digital images of their scalps showed greatly increased hair growth in the areas previously affected by hair loss.
It’s important to get enough biotin from your diet because it can’t be synthesized in mammalian cells (15). So if you’re looking to keep your lustrous locks healthy, why not eat some mozzarella now and then?
Fun mozzarella cheese ideas
Image credits: Waldemar Brandt via Unsplash.
If you weren’t already a fan of mozzarella, you probably are one now. But this wonderful Fromage isn’t just healthy, it’s delicious too!
Here are some fun ways you can add mozzarella cheese to your recipes:
- Cheesy garlic bread (recipe)
- Mozzarella-stuffed arancini balls (recipe)
- Hidden veggie pizza (recipe)
- Egg muffin three-ways (recipe)
- One pan lasagna (recipe)
- Cheeseburger pizza pockets (recipe)
- Slow cooker lasagna (recipe)
All these lovely recipes are courtesy of Australia’s Best Recipes. Check them out for more awesome Aussie recipes!
There are few foods that taste good and do good. As you can see from this article, mozzarella cheese is definitely one of these “wonder foods”. But, as with anything, there are some concerns.
Mozzarella cheese is high in saturated fat (1). This type of fat is one of the three main categories, the others being unsaturated fat and trans fat.
Eating food containing saturated fat may increase some risk factors for heart disease (16) and the level of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol as well, another factor of heart disease (17).
While you should always consult your doctor before making changes to your diet, we recommend moderation with everything you eat. That includes mozzarella cheese.
As you can see, there are some surprising health benefits of mozzarella cheese. Few food items, let alone dairy products, cover such a vast spectrum of positive effects.
So if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy addition to your diet, we recommend mozzarella cheese.