Low-Carb Diets and Cheese

According to the National Dairy Council, cheese contains a high concentration of essential nutrients, in particular high quality protein and calcium, as well as other nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. In 1999, cheese provided 25% of the calcium available in the U.S. food supply, a six-fold increase from 4% in 1909.

For individuals monitoring or reducing fat in their diet, many reduced fat varieties of cheeses are available. Also, individuals can include cheese in a fat reduced diet by making dietary trade-offs, for example, by balancing higher fat foods with lower fat foods.

According to www.3aday.org, cheese offers these nutrients:

1. Calcium: Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. This mineral also plays an important role in nerve function, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
2. Potassium: Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure. It’s also needed for muscle activity and contraction.

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3. Phosphorus: Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and generates energy in the body’s cells.
4. Protein: Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue, and serves as a source of energy during high-powered enduring exercise.
5. Vitamin D: Vitamin D aids in the development of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain adequate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
6. Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps maintain normal vision and skin. It also helps regulate cell growth and maintains the integrity of the immune system.
7. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, and is also needed to make DNA.
8. Riboflavin: Riboflavin or vitamin B2 helps convert food into energy – a process crucial for exercising muscles.
9. Niacin: Niacin is important for the normal function of many enzymes in the body, and is involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.

Cheesy Asparagus

1-2 asparagus spears
2 tablespoons low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Tabasco, dash
1/4 cup reduced-fat milk

Melt cheese in saucepan with milk, add a splash of Tabasco. Spread on bread and top with 1 or 2 asparagus spears. Roll up, cut in half, bake 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes. Can be frozen for later use.

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