10 Incredible Sheep Milk Cheese Benefits

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 10/23/2023


Sheep milk cheese is one of the healthiest cheeses available. It’s keto-friendly, easy to digest, and rich in healthy fats. 


Sheep milk cheese is also loaded with essential vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E. 


Let’s take a look at 10 surprising sheep milk cheese benefits.

Sheep milk cheese

Is sheep milk keto-friendly? 


Sheep milk is not keto-friendly. Sheep milk contains about 13 grams of carbohydrates per cup, which will kick you out of ketosis.


Sheep milk cheese, however, is keto-friendly! The bacteria that helps convert sheep’s milk into sheep’s cheese eats up most of the lactose—the sugar component in milk.


Sheep milk cheese nutrition facts


One ounce of sheep milk cheese contains:

  • 105 calories

  • 9 g total fat

  • 0 g carbohydrates

  • 6 g protein

  • 157 mg sodium

  • 58 g potassium

  • 150 mg calcium

10 benefits of sheep milk cheese


1. Easier to digest

Sheep milk cheese is much easier to digest than cow or goat milk cheese. Sheep’s milk protein is not the same protein found in conventional cow’s milk products.


2. Lighter taste

Compared to cow’s milk or goat’s milk cheese, sheep's milk cheese has a much lighter taste. Sheep milk cheese is a crowd-pleasing cheese because its mild flavor is incredibly palatable.


3. High in protein

Sheep milk cheese has a high protein content and is rich in essential amino acids. 


Sheep milk cheese has a high whey protein fraction, so it contains higher amounts of whey proteins compared to cow milk cheese and goat milk cheese.


4. Best-tolerated

Sheep cheese is the best-tolerated cheese when it comes to allergies and lactose intolerance. One of the key sheep milk benefits is that it contains A2 casein.


A2 casein is found in human milk, so it’s more suitable for human consumption. People who consider themselves lactose intolerant often find that A2 dairy products do not cause digestive upset.


5. High calcium-to-zinc ratio

Too much zinc can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Because sheep milk cheese has a high calcium-to-zinc ratio, the calcium it provides is highly absorbable. 


6. Perfect calcium-to-phosphorus ratio

Similar to calcium, phosphorus plays a critical role in your bone mineral density and skeletal health. Too much phosphorus can inhibit the absorption of calcium and vice versa, so it’s important to have the correct ratio of these minerals. 


7. Rich in fat-soluble vitamins

Sheep milk cheese is an excellent source of three fat-soluble vitamins—vitamins A, E, and D. Fat-soluble vitamins play a critical role in many important functions of the body. They support immune function, bone health, eye health, and more. 


8. Contains B vitamins

Sheep milk cheese contains high amounts of vitamin B12 and folic acid in its natural form of folate. It’s important to get B12 and folate in their natural form. Synthetic versions do not have the same effects on the body. 


9. High in healthy fats 

Sheep milk cheese contains double the amount of butterfat found in cow or goat milk cheese. Butterfat is the fatty component of milk.


Sheep milk cheese is also rich in a polyunsaturated fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). According to research published in the National Library of Medicine, conjugated linoleic acid has proven to be protective against neurological and cancer diseases. 


CLA can also help you lose weight. Dr. Berg explains that “conjugated linoleic acid is a type of fat that can help you burn fat.” 


CLA can increase muscle strength, exercise endurance, and metabolic rate—and it can also strengthen the immune system.


10. Rich in MCTs and short-chain fatty acids

Medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) are a unique type of fat with several amazing health benefits. They are a powerful source of energy with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.  


Short-chain fatty acids play an important role in colon health and may even decrease your risk for cancer.

Variety of sheep milk cheese

Types of sheep milk cheese 


Let’s take a look at some of the most popular sheep milk cheeses. You may have heard of these cheeses but may not have known that they’re made of sheep milk.


Manchego cheese

Manchego cheese is a popular Spanish sheep milk cheese. It is typically aged and served with tasty treats like Serrano ham and dried figs. 

 
Pecorino

Pecorino is Italy’s version of an aged sheep milk cheese. Pecorino is popular with many Italian foods and is often shredded or grated on top of pasta.


Feta

Feta is a delicious, crumbly sheep milk cheese often found atop fresh salads. Feta is a Greek cheese and is sometimes made with a combination of sheep and goat milk.  


Halloumi

Halloumi cheese is a unique cheese that originates on the island of Cyprus. Halloumi tastes very similar to feta but has a completely different texture. Halloumi cheese is often served grilled or fried because of its high melting point. 

milking sheep

Sheep milk cheese and dairy sensitivity


People who are sensitive to dairy often experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea when they consume cow milk. However, many people are able to better tolerate other types of dairy.


There are two types of casein proteins found in milk: A1 and A2. 


A1 is the most common type of casein in cow milk, but it can increase gut inflammation. A2 casein is often much better tolerated and doesn’t contribute to inflammation.


Sheep milk contains A2 casein. It’s also found in human milk, goat milk, and certain varieties of cow milk. Jersey, Guernsey, Asian, and African cows' milk contains A2 casein.



How much sheep milk cheese can you have on keto?


Sheep milk cheese is an excellent source of both fat and protein and is 100% keto-approved. A 1-ounce serving of sheep milk cheese contains 0 grams of carbohydrates, making it the perfect cheese to eat on a ketogenic diet.


Around 3 to 4 ounces of sheep milk cheese per meal is ideal. Sheep milk cheese is less likely to cause digestive issues than cow milk cheese, so it’s okay to indulge in this healthy, tasty treat.

manchego cheese

Key takeaways


The most important benefit of sheep milk lies in its high nutritional value. Sheep milk cheese is packed full of healthy fats and protein and contains virtually no carbohydrates, making it the perfect cheese to enjoy on keto.


Sheep milk cheese benefits do not stop at health! Sheep milk cheese is light-tasting, delicious, and sure to become a favorite. 



FAQ


1. Can you drink sheep milk on keto?

No. Sheep milk contains 13 grams of carbohydrates per cup, which can easily kick you out of ketosis. To remain in ketosis, keep your carbohydrate consumption between 20 and 50 grams per day. 


2. Can you have sheep milk cheese on keto?

Yes! The good bacteria that turn sheep milk into sheep milk cheese consume the lactose in the milk. Lactose is milk sugar, so when it’s removed from fermented milk products like sheep milk cheese, the carbohydrate content is drastically reduced. 


3. What are the benefits of sheep milk cheese?

Sheep milk cheese has several health benefits! It’s rich in B vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins and has the perfect ratio of essential minerals like calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. 


Sheep milk cheese is an excellent source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an essential fatty acid that promotes weight loss and reduces the risk of certain cancers. 


Sheep’s milk proteins are better tolerated than most cow’s milk proteins, so it’s more suitable for people with a dairy intolerance.


4. Is sheep milk cheese healthier than cow milk cheese?

Sheep milk cheese is healthier than most cow milk cheese and is better tolerated and utilized in the human body.


Most cow milk cheese contains A1 casein, which is actually a genetic mutation. A1 casein allows a harmful peptide known as BCM-7 into the digestive tract, which can cause digestive issues. A2 casein does not cause this problem.


5. Why don’t we use sheep milk instead of cow milk?

Sheep milk is often reserved for cheese alone rather than for drinking. Cows are much larger and produce a lot more milk. 


Generally speaking, it’s more time-effective and, in turn, cost-effective to produce cow milk in large quantities rather than sheep milk. Sheep milk is also much higher in fat and milk solids. 


6. Is sheep milk healthier than goat milk? 

Studies have shown that between sheep, cow, and goat milk, sheep milk is the healthiest. Goat milk is also a healthy option because it contains A2 casein, making it easier to digest than cow milk.


7. How much sheep milk cheese can I have on keto?

One ounce of sheep milk cheese typically contains 0 grams of carbohydrates, making it an ideal cheese to enjoy on keto. Around 3 to 4 ounces of sheep milk cheese per meal is ideal. 




Sources


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413010/




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