Upcoming Event:

Hack your health

View details

Is Cheese a Good Probiotic

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/06/2024

Cheese not only adds flavor to our dishes but can also provide an exceptional source of beneficial bacteria that may help sustain general health.

Learn about the role good bacteria plays in our bodies and learn why cheese stands out as an effective probiotic option. Discover how to select the right cheeses for optimal health benefits and examine high-quality raw milk options.

The Probiotic Benefits of Cheese

Cheese is an excellent source of probiotics and living microorganisms that support gut health and overall well-being, especially aged cheeses that have not been heated after aging.

Trillions of microbes inhabit your digestive tract and play a crucial role in maintaining your health by aiding digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting you from harmful pathogens.

yellow and white cheddar

Why Cheese is a Unique and Effective Probiotic Option

Cheese's fermentation process makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients.

It offers unique benefits, including providing probiotics, with aged, ripened, and propionic acid fermented cheeses having higher concentrations of beneficial bacteria than highly processed commercial cheeses.

  • Aged cheeses: Higher concentrations of beneficial bacteria due to more extended maturation.

  • Ripened vs. unripened: Ripened cheeses contain more friendly bacteria than unripened varieties.

  • Fermentation type: Swiss and Gouda undergo propionic acid fermentation, producing additional beneficial bacteria.

Choosing the Right Cheeses for Probiotics

To maximize their probiotic benefits, choose cheeses made from raw milk and organic grass-fed cows - European cheeses often meet these criteria better than American varieties.

Soft-aged cheeses tend to contain more friendly bacteria than hard ones.

Identifying High-Quality Raw Milk Cheese Options

Finding high-quality raw milk cheese can be challenging, but look for labels that indicate the cheese is made from raw (unpasteurized) milk and sourced from organic grass-fed cows.

  • Labeling: Look for terms like "raw," "unpasteurized," or "non-thermal" on the packaging.

  • Sourcing: Seek out brands prioritizing organic farming practices and sourcing their dairy from grass-fed cows.

  • Variety: Choose soft-aged cheeses like Brie or Camembert over more problematic types like Parmesan or Cheddar since they generally have higher probiotic content.

Comparing European vs. American Cheese Production Standards

European cheesemakers adhere to stricter production standards than those in the United States when creating probiotic-rich options.

Many traditional European methods involve using raw milk instead of pasteurizing it first - which helps preserve beneficial microbes. European cheeses are often made from the milk of grass-fed cows that graze on pesticide-free pastures.

Cheeses from Europe, like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, offer a distinct taste and may provide probiotic advantages to support your health.

Top Natural Cheese Probiotics

Looking for a delicious way to improve gut health? Try incorporating these natural cheese probiotics into your diet. Some varieties of cheese, such as Cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss, Gruyere, and Gouda, contain advantageous bacteria that can help digestion and general digestive well-being. Gouda is considered one of the best options due to its exceptional bacterial content.

Aged Cheddar: The longer a cheddar is aged, the more complex its flavor becomes and the higher the concentration of good bacteria it contains. Opt for an aged cheddar for a delicious taste and probiotic benefits.

Parmesan: This hard Italian cheese contains strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus that can help support gut health. Look for authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano made from raw milk for the best results.

Swiss: Known for its distinctive holes or "eyes," Swiss cheese also boasts high levels of Propionibacterium freudenreichii - another helpful microbe that supports digestion and overall gut health.

Gruyere: Similar to Swiss in texture but slightly nuttier in flavor, Gruyere is another excellent source of beneficial bacteria thanks to its traditional production methods using raw milk and long aging periods.

Why You Should Moderate Cheese Intake

Consuming too much cheese and other dairy products can lead to elevated IGF-1 levels, potentially causing cancer or hormone imbalances, so enjoy it in moderation.

  • Serving size: Aim for 1-1.5 ounces (28-42 grams) per day - roughly the size of two dice.

  • Type: Opt for aged cheeses made from raw milk for higher amounts of beneficial bacteria.

  • Variety: Rotate different types of cheeses within your diet.

  • Frequency: Enjoy cheese in moderation, no more than 3-4 servings per week.

Discuss dietary modifications with a medical professional before making any drastic changes.

Explore other natural sources of probiotics like yogurt (with live cultures and no sugar), kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to diversify your gut microbiome and enjoy a variety of flavors and textures.

probiotic as pathogenic strains

Boost Your Immune System with Probiotics

Probiotics found in cheese can help strengthen your immune system by maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut.

Gut Health and Immunity

Your gut is inhabited by many microscopic organisms fundamental to your well-being, including your immune defenses.

A balanced gut microbiome helps prevent harmful bacteria overgrowth and promotes beneficial ones, enhancing your body's ability to fight infections and reduce inflammation. Cheese probiotics work with other beneficial microbes in your gut to maintain harmony.

Natural Probiotic Sources

Other sources of probiotics include fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, kefir, miso, and kombucha, which can further bolster the effects of cheese on gut health.

Incorporating cottage cheese vs. yogurt into your diet can enhance the benefits of cheese, supporting your immune system and overall well-being.


Adding cheese to your diet can benefit your gut health and overall well-being, especially if you choose high-quality raw milk cheeses and consume them in moderation. Pair different cheese varieties with complementary foods and consider other natural sources of probiotics to strengthen your immune system.

Cheese is a delicious and convenient way to get your daily dose of beneficial microbes, making it a great addition to any nutrition plan.


1. What Are The Benefits of Probiotic Cheese

Probiotic cheese supports gut health, improves digestion, strengthens the immune system, aids nutrient absorption, and reduces inflammation. Learn more about probiotics' health benefits.

2. Is Cheese a Healthy Source of Probiotics?

Raw milk cheese, like Gouda, cheddar, and Roquefort, contains live cultures that promote good gut bacteria. Discover more about natural milk cheeses.

3. What Are Cheese's Effects on Probiotics?

Processed or pasteurized cheeses may not have significant amounts of live cultures, but certain types of cheese can enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria due to their natural fermentation process. Choose high-quality raw milk cheeses for optimal probiotic content.

4. What Are Some Gut-Friendly Cheeses?

  • Gouda: Rich in Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG)

  • Aged Cheddar: Contains Bifidobacterium lactis

  • Roquefort: Provides Penicillium roqueforti strains with potential prebiotic effects

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan