Halloumi: Nutritional Profile, Benefits, and Downsides

What is Halloumi?

Halloumi is a cheese that is semi-hard and is made from milk of sheep, goats, and cows. It has a tangy taste and firm and chewy texture. It is found in the cheese section in many supermarkets. The melting point of halloumi cheese is high and it can be baked, grilled, and fried without losing shape. It is served cooked that enhances its salty taste and makes it slightly crispy outside.

Nutritional Profile of Halloumi

Each serving of halloumi contains a good amount of protein and calcium. One ounce serving of halloumi contains 110 calories, 7 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 25% of the daily value of calcium, and 15% of the daily value of sodium.

Calcium plays a role in improving muscle function, nerve transmission, hormone secretion, and bone health.(2) Protein promotes growth and development and supports immune function, and weight management.(3) Frying cheese or cooking it in oil increases its calorie and fat content and therefore should be consumed with consideration.

Benefits of Halloumi

There are several health benefits linked with halloumi:

Rich in Protein

Halloumi is a good source of protein. It contains 7 grams in a one-ounce serving. Protein is essential for many aspects of health that include hormone production, immune function, and tissue repair.

Taking enough protein helps in increasing muscle growth and strength. It helps in retaining lean body mass during weight loss.(4, 5) Consuming protein after working out promotes muscle recovery and enhances progress.(6)

Supports Bone Health

Halloumi is rich in calcium that is known to be important for bone health. It helps in providing the bones with strength and structure. It is known that 99% of the calcium in the body is stored in the bones and teeth. Calcium helps in increasing bone density and reducing the risk of bone fractures. It works excellent when combined with vitamin D.(7, 8)

Increasing the consumption of dairy products can help in increasing bone mineral density in women by 1.8% over 2 years. It was also found that this can reduce the risk of bone fractures.(9)

Protects Against Diabetes

Halloumi cheese can protect against type 2 diabetes. A study showed a link between consumption of dairy products and reduced belly fat and weight. Dairy also is known to improve insulin sensitivity and can improve the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. (10) Another study linked consuming dairy with lower type 2 diabetes risk. (11)

There can be a slow emptying of the stomach because of the protein and fat content of halloumi and this can stabilize the blood sugar levels after meals. (12, 13)

Downsides of Halloumi

Halloumi contains high sodium, which is 350 mg in each serving. According to the World Health Organization, healthy adults should get less than 2000 mg per day.(1)

It is recommended by health experts that people with high blood pressure should reduce their salt intake to keep their blood pressure levels under control.(14)

Some people are sensitive to the effects of salt. They suffer from water retention and bloating due to high salt intake.(15)

Halloumi has moderate calories content. It is consumed by frying in oil, which increases the calorie content significantly and can contribute to weight gain. It is also high in saturated fat and can increase the chances of raising cholesterol levels when consumed in high amounts.(16)

Therefore, it is good to enjoy halloumi in moderate amounts along with a balanced diet.

How is Halloumi Made?

Halloumi cheese is made from the milk of goats, cows, and sheep and involves a heating process. Rennet, a milk coagulant is also added while making it.

As the curd firms, it is poached in salted whey and brined in the refrigerator. It can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for around 6 months. It can be defrosted in the fridge before adding it to recipes.

Halloumi cheese is known for its unique taste and firm texture. It is quite versatile and can be added to recipes by frying, baking, or grilling. For the cheese lover, it can be a good try.