Dr. Cliona Murphy from on Macroom Buffalo

Can I Eat Cheese Please? Dr. Murphy discovers the benefits of Buffalo Dairy as she talks Irelands First Buffalo herd owner (Updated December 2022)

Updated December 2022.

How many different types of cheese are there?

There is no comprehensive list of cheeses. Some sources say there are over a thousand varieties, many of them are very similar and are regarded as variants rather than distinct varieties. Certain cheeses have a “protected designation of origin” (PDO) or a “protected geographical indication” (PGI). For instance, the cheeses “Imokilly Regato” from Ireland, “Brie de Meaux” from France, and “Queso Manchego” from Spain all have PGIs or PDOs.

There are many types of cheese.

Cheese and cholesterol

Can cheese raise cholesterol?


Why does cheese raise cholesterol ?

A diet high in saturated fats will cause cholesterol levels to rise. Saturated fats are highly concentrated in milk, and as milk is used to make cheese, cheese is therefore a source of saturated fats.

What kind of cheese has the lowest amount of fat?

Cottage cheese and ricotta have the lowest fat content and the lowest calorie content.

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia

How much cheese should we eat per day?

Per day, men and women over the age of 19 should not eat more than 3 servings of dairy per day.

These servings can come from either milk, cheese or yoghurt.

A serving of hard cheese (like cheddar) or soft cheese (like brie) is the size of two thumbs, as shown in the image below.

How much cheese should  I eat per day? What is a serving of cheese?
Source: Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Cheese, flavour, and nutrition

If you look at the table below, you can see that the nutritional value of different cheeses varies quite a bit. This difference in nutrition, and flavour, is caused by the fact that milk comes from different species (cows vs. sheep) as well as breeds (Fresian cows vs. Jersey cows).

Further aspects affecting the nutrition and flavour are season in which the milk was obtained, the diet of the animal, and the type of milk used (full fat, skim, etc.) all affect the nutritional value of cheese.

On a final and interesting note, fatty acids (fats) in the milk used to make cheese have their own flavours as well, which add to the overall flavour of the cheese. Therefore, if cottage cheese seems bland in comparison to cheddar, now you know why!

Table: Nutritional Information per 100 gm of cheese
Table showing various types of cheese and their fat, saturated fat and calorie content.
Source: Nutrients in Dairy and Their Implications for Health and Disease and the British Heart Foundation


Cheese has a protein content ranging from 4 to 40%. Protein levels depend on the factors we have already mentioned. In addition, cheese’s protein and fat contents are typically inversely correlated. So, the higher the fat, the lower the protein, and vice versa.


Riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, and, to a lesser extent, folate, are all present in varying amounts in various cheeses.


Cheese made from cows that eat grass has more antioxidants like alpha-tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A.


The mineral content of cheese varies as well. Calcium, sodium chloride (salt), phosphorous, and magnesium are the main minerals found in most cheeses.


The lactic acid bacteria that are still alive after making cheese are probiotics. Probiotics benefit our gut health, which has a positive impact on our heart and brain health as well. With this in mind, to learn more about the benefits of both probiotics and prebiotics, read this blog by Dr. Clióna Murphy, who explains the differences and benefits of both.

Cheese as part of The Mediterranean Diet 

Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and feta cheese are considered part of the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is one of the most scientifically robust and researched diets in terms of its health benefits. Check out this video with Dr. Clióna Murphy on the Mediterranean Diet.

Whats the difference between ricotta cheese and cottage cheese?

Ricotta and cottage cheese are very similar cheeses. They are fresh cheeses made from cow’s or buffalo’s milk; both are soft and white. Their difference comes from how they are made. Ricotta cheese is made from whey left over from the production of other cheeses, such as Macroom Buffalo mozzarella. It is made by coagulating whey with acid and heat. Cottage cheese is made from curds, and the coagulating agent used is acid.

Ricotta cheese and cream cheese whats the difference
Ricotta Cheese and Cottage Cheese

Buffalo Mozzarella

“mozzarella di bufala campana” is the PDO for Buffalo Mozzarella. In order to be called buffalo mozzarella, the cheese must be made from the milk of Italian-bred buffaloes.

Buffalo mozzarella contains higher amounts of vitamins A, E, and C than regular cow’s milk. These vitamins are antioxidants. Finally, the lactose content is lower in Buffalo Mozzarella, so it is easier to digest for some people.

In Summary

Cheese can be a healthy source of protein and vitamins. However, as it contains high amounts of saturated fats, we need to be conscious of our daily servings as it contributes to high cholesterol levels.


  1. Esther Ruby

    Where can you buy the cheese please.

    1. Hi Esther!

      I have attached a link to where it is on sale. Most farmers markets would have it, and a good few supermarkets have it as well!


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