Details on nutritional features of Parmigiano-Reggiano

The protein in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese has two particular characteristics: it is rich in essential amino acids that in turn are easy to digest.
Because of the activity of protein enzymes coming from milk and natural whey starter, the casein is broken down into smaller fragments, as it will happen in stomach, so that aged Parmigiano-Reggiano created by this ‘pre digestive’ activity is more easily digested and absorbed by the body.

Beside this the combination of these amino acids with those contained in wheat supply the full gamut required by the body.
The degradation of casein during cheese ageing, also reduces a part of it to specific bio active peptides that activate very specific functions either on the gut or secondary organs.

Bio active peptides potentially control various bodily processes by:

  • stimulation of the immune system
  • antibacterial activity
  • enhancing of calcium absorption
  • control of blood pressure

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Fat content of Parmigiano-Reggiano is lower than that found in many other cheeses being this cheese done made using partially skimmed milk.
Carbohydrates are absent in Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Lactose is transformed into lactic acid at the very beginning of the maturation process as part of the process of lowering the acidity level of the cheese as a whole, this being an essentially part of the production process.
The above findings have been backed up by laboratory experiments that have confirmed the parameters of concentrated lactose at between 0 and 0.39 mg/100g equivalent to 0.1 mg/100kcal. As a consequence Parmigiano-Reggiano can without any doubt be considered a lactose free food.

Probiotic (defined as micro organisms bringing beneficial effects to the body) and prebiotic (defined as a non digestible substrata in humans capable of stimulating probiotic activity) are terms that have been added to the lexicon in recent years.
The principle benefit of these is on the intestinal flora, a very complex eco-system that able to regulate metabolism and to create barriers against pathogenic bacteria.

Children that are fed prepared milk formulations tend to develop intestinal flora that contain coliforms, enterococchi and bacteroides, while in children that are breast fed bifidobacteria dominate over other potentially pathogens microrganisms. It is for this reason that a mother’s milk fed child tends to result healthier.
Researches were undertaken from the 1980s with the specific intention of highlighting a bifidogenic activity in Parmigiano-Reggiano.
More recent works have demonstrated the presence of oligosaccharides responsible for this activity with some affinity with those present found in human milk.

Conversely they have not been found in cow’s milk and so are probably due to some synthetic activity occurring during cheese making.