Life is too short not to indulge in a beautifully creamy piece of cheese. For many people cheese is life. But, we’re not talking about those pieces of processed plastic that masquerade as cheese. No, we’re talking delicious, handmade artisan cheese, the type of cheese that is so good you’ve considered proposing marriage so you will never again be apart. Alas, thanks to the diary’s high fat contents, for too long cheese has been branded as the bad boy of foods but not for long! In fact, new research has revealed that butyrate, a fatty acid your gut produces when you eat cheese, may help prevent colon cancer, reduce inflammation, and even help ward off obesity (no really!) Luckily for cheese addicts out there we’ve found 7 reasons (more) that you should be enjoying more cheese and they’re all about creating a healthier you. Here are 5 cheeses with surprising health benefits – all you have to do is pick your favourite and munch away – guilt free!

1. Beat PMS with Parmesan

Parmesan cheese

Tucking into a sliver or three of Parmesan cheese will go a long way to helping you meet your daily 1000 mg quota of calcium and help fight PMS symptoms such as fatigue, cravings, mood swings and even cramps. Just one serving of this golden delight will give you half the calcium you need, so now you’ll have yet another reason to ‘cut the cheese’ when you’re feeling a little bloated before Aunt Flow comes a knocking. Parmesan packs a potent, nutty punch and is perfect when shaved onto salad, pastas or pizza or when paired with ripe apples or pears.

2. Eat Your Way To a Healthy Heart with Feta

feta cheese

Embrace your inner Greek goddess with feta cheese and your heart will thank you. Compared to other soft cheeses, Feta contains about one-third less artery-clogging saturated fat and studies have found that eating cheese like Feta on a daily basis makes you 20 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 41 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke. Feta’s characteristic strong flavour also means that you can get away with using less cheese without feeling cheated. Feta’s salty flavor makes it a good choice to crumble on salads and soups. It also pairs well with sweeter produce, like watermelon or sweet potatoes.

3. Smile a While With Cheddar

Cheddar cheese

If you’re worried about protecting your bright smile then reach for the cheddar cheese. It has been found that cheddar cheese may help you ward off cavities by reducing the production of acid in the mouth. By munching on your cheeses like cheddar you can cut down on the production of acid by 30 percent and prevent tooth enamel from eroding. Cheese also helps you increase saliva production to dilute plaque-causing sugar and bacteria – sounds like a win-win!

4. Build Muscle with Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese

There’s a reason body builders love Cottage Cheese – just half a cup of cottage cheese contains 15 grams of filling, muscle-building protein. If you’re looking for an easy way to up the amount of protein in your diet then it’s time you reach for a tub of cottage cheese. The protein packed cheese also contains less sodium that other cheeses, making it perfect for those with high blood pressure.

5. Get Off the Boat Bloat with Swiss

swiss cheese

If dairy makes your belly swell up don’t despair, you can still enjoy a taste of delicious cheese thanks to Swiss cheese! Firm cheeses like Swiss contain less lactose than other cheeses and in fact Swiss cheese contain less than a gram of lactose per serving. Swiss cheese is also richer in phosphorus, a key ingredient for maintaining bone density. Try adding a slice of Swiss cheese to your sandwich or grating it onto scrambled or baked eggs. Small slices or cubes make a great snack, especially with fruit instead of crackers.