Feta is a soft, white, brined cheese traditionally made with sheep or goat’s milk. This famous Greek cheese is characterized by few to no holes, no skin, and a tangy taste.
Feta cheese is an essential part of the Mediterranean cuisine, and it’s used in various types of dishes ranging from appetizers to desserts.
Feta cheese can be an excellent option for you if you want to stick in a healthy diet. This nutrient-rich cheese is an excellent source of calcium and vitamins, thus can provide many health benefits.
Continue reading to learn about feta cheese, its nutritional value, potential benefits, and side effects.
Feta Cheese Nutrition Facts
Feta cheese is quite nutritious and healthy. One ounce of feta cheese provides the following nutrients: 
- Calories: 74
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
- Carbs: 1.1 grams
- Sodium: 13% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 9% of the RDI
- Calcium: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 8% of the RDI
- Selenium: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 14% of the RDI
- Zinc: 5% of the RDI
Besides, this cheese has a decent amount of vitamin A, K, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, and folate. 
What’s more, feta has more vitamin B and calcium compared to other types of cheese. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
Health Benefits of Feta Cheese
1. Feta Cheese Can Improve Bone Health.
Different types of cheese, particularly feta, is considered as the primary source of calcium in western diets. 
In addition to being rich in protein, feta cheese also contains a significant amount of calcium and phosphorus — all of which can boost your bone health. 
Phosphorus is an essential component of bone. Both protein and calcium have been shown to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis. [6, 7, 8, 9]
Moreover, feta cheese contains almost twice as much calcium as phosphorus, which is important for maintaining a healthy bone. [10, 11]
Research shows that sheep or goat’s milk contains more calcium and phosphorus than the cow’s milk. As feta cheese is made from goat or sheep’s milk, it can be one of the best sources for these minerals. [12, 13, 14]
2. It is Rich in Fatty Acids.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an essential fatty acid that can decrease fat mass, increase lean body mass, and improve your body composition. It also has anti-cancer effects and can prevent diabetes. [15, 16]
Compared to other cheeses, the one made from sheep’s milk contains higher CLA concentration. And, feta cheese has up to 1.9% CLA. [17, 18]
When the cheese is processed and stored, its CLA content may decrease, but it can be increased again by the use of bacterial cultures in the making of the cheese. 
The anti-cancer effects of feta cheese might be one of the reasons why people in Greece have the lowest incident of breast cancer. 
3. Feta Cheese May Improve Your Gut Health.
Feta cheese is rich in probiotics that are beneficial for your health. It contains Lactobacillus Plantarum, which is responsible for 48% of its healthy bacteria. [21, 22, 23, 24]
These bacteria can protect your intestinal tract from some harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, thus boosts your immune system and improve gut health. 
Moreover, the bacteria may increase the production of components that can prevent the inflammatory response with their anti-inflammatory effects. [25, 26]
Several studies have found that the bacteria and other yeast strains in feta cheese can grow at a low pH, meaning that they can survive extreme conditions in your gut. [21, 27]
Drawbacks of Feta Cheese
Although feta cheese is highly nutrient, depending on how it is made, it may have some downsides.
1. Feta Cheese is High in Sodium.
Feta cheese is made by adding salt to the curd, and the cheese block is stored in a brine of up to 7% salt, making the final product high in sodium. 
It’s highly recommended that you rinse the cheese with water before consuming if you’re sensitive to salt.
2. It Contains a High Amount of Lactose.
Feta cheese is an unripened cheese, meaning that it contains more lactose than the aged cheese.
Due to its high lactose content, feta cheese is not suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.
3. Feta Cheese is Not Suitable for Pregnant Women.
Feta cheese or other fresh cheese made from unpasteurized milk may contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can be extremely harmful to pregnant women. 
Pregnant women are suggested to avoid feta cheese made with unpasteurized milk.
Feta cheese is delicious and can be eaten in different ways. You can have grilled feta, add it on pizza, pasta, bread, or mix it with fruits or salad.
Feta cheese contains low calories and fats than other cheeses, which means you can consume them without worrying about gaining weight.
However, this cheese is high in sodium. Hence you need to avoid it if you have high blood pressure.
Unless you’re pregnant, feta cheese is usually safe for you. It can be a healthy and delicious addition to your regular meal.