Paneer is a type of soft cheese popular in South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It is usually sold in blocks that are vacuum-sealed in laminated plastic pouches. Paneer is high in fat content, so people trying to manage their cholesterol often choose low-fat cheese.
With the increase in the prevalence of high cholesterol, there is an increase in the demand for fibre-enriched low-fat food products, such as soy fibre-supplemented paneer. Studies show that low-calorie and high-fibre fortified paneer can help manage cholesterol and improve bowel movements.
Paneer and Cholesterol: The Positive Connection
Paneer has healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which help reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood. Oleic acid, one of the MUFA components in this dairy product, shows a positive impact on maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.
It is because, unlike other dairy sources, paneer contains short chains of easily-digestible fatty acids. Hence, instead of getting deposited, the fat quickly breaks down to release energy suitable for overweight cholesterol patients trying to lose weight.
Paneer also has a moderate level of omega-3-fatty acids which will be highly beneficial for promoting the functioning of joints, heart and brain.
A healthy heart ensures healthy circulation of cholesterol at the ideal levels. However, as a dairy product, paneer also has a significant level of saturated fat, which might negatively affect cholesterol levels. Therefore, the effect of consuming paneer on your cholesterol level depends on how much and what type you consume.
Your diet has a prominent role in cholesterol management. Paneer is high in nutritional value, especially rich in protein. It is also easy on the stomach due to the low levels of lactose, making it easier to digest.
Since people with high cholesterol often experience upset stomachs, gas, or constipation, paneer is the best option not to strain the digestive system.
Here are some other benefits of eating paneer if you have cholesterol:
Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Conjugated linoleic acid is an essential nutrient present in paneer. This component is extremely helpful in lowering the accumulation of fat content, thereby reducing the cholesterol level and improving immune function.
Low in Carbs
Depending on the brand and variety, 100 grams of paneer contains only about 2.5 to 3.57 grams of carbs. Paneer can be a low-fat and low-carb alternative to meat or fish in many recipes for those with severe familial hypercholesterolemia.
Rich in Calcium
Besides stronger bones and immune health, the calcium content in paneer aids in burning fat. It induces thermogenesis, which in turn will boost metabolism and increase fat burning.
High Level of Protein
Panner is a rich source of protein, beneficial for cholesterol patients on a vegetarian diet or trying to lose weight. It contains about 20 grams of protein per 100 grams, which helps reduce cravings by giving a feeling of fullness.
Selenium is an essential nutrient for the thyroid gland and the immune system. Therefore, following a high-selenium diet can reduce inflammation-related cholesterol and high cholesterol caused by thyroid dysfunction.
The HealthifyMe Note
Paneer is a heart-healthy food to add to your diet as it is low in fats and carbs, rich in proteins, and has low triglycerides. Consuming paneer in moderation doesn’t affect your cholesterol levels. However, that also depends on how you cook paneer and how much you consume.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Consuming Paneer
Paneer is a versatile food that goes well with almost everything. However, you need to learn some practical tips to consume it healthily.
Eat Them Raw
Cooking paneer can remove its particular nutritional value. Hence it’s better to eat it raw, as it will have fewer calories and less fat. You can add raw paneer to salad or sandwiches or with mint chutney.
The best time to eat paneer would be in the morning, as it prevents you from bingeing for the rest of the day.
Cooking Method Matters
Despite the nutritional value of paneer, how you cook paneer can potentially impact your cholesterol level and overall health. For instance, a simple palak paneer is a healthier addition than paneer butter masala, which has other ingredients like butter that can affect your cholesterol level.
Moderation is the Key
Portion control is key to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. For example, you can consume around 50-100 grams of paneer daily, which will be more than sufficient for the body.
However, since foods like chilli paneer and paneer deep fry require a lot of oil, it is best to control your intake and limit as much as possible.
Excess Consumption Causes Side Effects
Consuming excess paneer can lead to bloating and an upset stomach. Moreover, it also increases LDL cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Further, paneer may trigger allergic reactions in people who have dairy allergies. If you’re a kidney patient, seek your doctor’s advice before adding paneer to your food plan.
A balanced diet ensures that you supply essential nutrients to the body and maintain a healthy cholesterol profile.
Paneer, a versatile and nutritious part of Indian cuisine, will nourish your health with its low-carb and high-protein nature. However, like every other food item, watch your intake and ensure you’re consuming paneer in moderation.