Healthy Cheeses - Feta Cheese

True feta cheese is a product of Greece and is made from at least 70 % goat's milk. The European Union has a "Protected Designation of Origin" standard, and Greece fought to have Feta recognized as being Greek. There are types of Feta made in other countries such as Denmark, but these may be made from cow's milk so do not have the same health benefits as the real Feta cheese.

Goat's milk Feta produced in Greece has a third less calories and a third less fat than other cheeses. It has only 264 calories in 3½ ounces and 21 grams of fat in the same quantity. It contains linoleic fatty acid which has strong antioxidant properties. Feta is a good source of protein and calcium (one ounce has 140 milligrams) which is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Linoleic acid may, according to some research, aid in the loss of abdominal fat which results in a lower risk of diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases.

Feta does have a lot of sodium in it, but some of this can be removed if you soak it in clean water before eating it. Some of the sodium soaks into the Feta during the maturing process as this cheese is made by curdling the goat's milk and then pressing it to extract the whey. This is then mixed with salt and water to make brine in which the cheese is steeped and left for at least six months. If you buy feta cheese in Greece in a traditional shop, you will be given it out of a barrel or large tin, and can see the brine for yourself.

This process gives the cheese a sharp tang which belongs uniquely to it. There's nothing quite like a Greek salad eaten in Greece, with a chunk of Feta sitting on top of green peppers, cucumber slices and sliced tomatoes- all of which have been freshly picked. Oregano is sprinkled over the cheese and then olive oil is drizzled over it, making a really healthy starter. I have been disappointed in some Feta which has not been made in Greece, so it really is worth looking for the original cheese.

You can crumble feta over casseroles before baking them in the oven and substitute it in recipes which call for other cheeses. If you have never tried it you should, the taste is unique and packs a bite, and you can remove some of the sodium by soaking, which will not make it lose its tang. It's well worth looking for a genuine Greek Feta cheese - don't settle for anything less.

Source: EzineArticles