One of the best-known Italian cheeses, Parmesan cheese is an integral part of Italian cuisine, no matter where in the world it’s served. Even though Parmesan cheese is high in fat, it’s an excellent source of protein and calcium, and provides almost all the essential vitamins and minerals.
The label of Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be given to Parmesan cheese made according to strict standards and produced in the following regions of Italy: Parma, Reggio Emila, Modena, and parts of Bologna and Mantua. Other brands of Parmesan cheese taste similar but they're aged for a shorter time. The nutritional values provided are for 100 grams of hard Parmesan cheese. To put that into perspective, 1 cubic inch of hard Parmesan weighs 10 grams, so realize that the amount of calories and nutrients will be significantly smaller for a typical serving size.
A block of Parmesan weighing 100 grams contains 392 calories and 3.2 grams of carbohydrates. It doesn’t provide any fiber, but it has 35.8 grams of high quality protein, which is a good portion of the 46 grams women need each day. Parmesan cheese has 25.8 grams of total fat, which includes 16.4 grams of saturated fat, as well as 68 milligrams of cholesterol and 8.1 grams of healthier unsaturated fats. The cheese supplies a small amount of essential fatty acids, too.
Except for vitamin C, Parmesan cheese provides all the essential vitamins. It’s a source of riboflavin with 0.3 grams, and vitamin B12 with 1.2 micrograms, which represents 20 percent of the recommended daily value for both nutrients, based on a 2000 calorie-a-day diet. You’ll get 7 to 8 percent of the daily value of vitamins A and D, together with smaller amounts of the remaining B vitamins, vitamin E and vitamin K. A 100-gram block of Parmesan cheese contains 15.4 milligrams of choline. This important nutrient is needed for the structure of all cells, and proper functioning of nerves and lipids.
Like all dairy products, Parmesan cheese is an exceptional source of calcium with 1,184 milligrams, which is more than the 1,000 milligrams women need each day. It also provides a large amount of phosphorus with 694 milligrams, and selenium with 22.5 micrograms. You'll get 0.8 milligrams of iron and 44 milligrams of magnesium, as well. Parmesan cheese provides about 2 percent to 5 percent of the remaining essential dietary minerals. Unfortunately, it's high in salt, providing 1,602 milligrams of sodium.
A 100-gram block of hard Parmesan cheese equals 1 cup of grated cheese. The nutritional value of 1 cup of grated cheese is a little different from the hard cheese. Calories go up to 431, the total fat increases slightly to 28.6 grams and there are also slight changes in vitamins and minerals.
- parmiggiano image by Renato Francia from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.