Mascarpone cheese is one of the most popular ingredients to include in creamy and rich sauces, as well as sweet desserts like tiramisu and cheesecake.
Despite the fact that it’s made pretty much entirely of cream and is used predominantly in luxurious, satiating dishes, mascarpone can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced and nutritious diet.
With this in mind, our guide will take a detailed look at some of the most impressive health benefits associated with the consumption of mascarpone cheese.
What’s more, we’ll also look to answer a number of the frequently asked questions related to the popular Italian cheese.
Before taking a closer look at the main health benefits of eating mascarpone cheese, it’s worth examining some of the nutritional information. Listed below are the nutritional figures for one ounce (20 grams) of mascarpone cheese, as provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Calories: 120
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fat: 14g
- Protein: 2g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sodium: 10mg
- Calcium: 40mg
One of the big takeaways from the nutritional information above is the fact that mascarpone cheese contains absolutely no carbohydrates. Therefore, those who like to follow low-carb diets are in luck.
Other nutritional findings from the list above that require further explanation are the calorie and fat totals. More specifically the fact that the 120 calories come almost exclusively from fat, while over 70% of the fat in one serving of mascarpone is the saturated (bad) variety.
Health Benefits Of Mascarpone Cheese
Despite the fact that mascarpone is a high-fat ingredient, there are some notable health benefits that are worth taking note of. Listed below are five of the most prominent.
1). It’s Satiating
A fair amount of research has shown that full-fat dairy products are more satiating than reduced-fat or skim dairy. Therefore, mascarpone with its heavy cream base can provide a feeling of fullness that many other dairy products aren’t able to replicate.
2). Decent Source Of Calcium
While other cheeses such as parmesan or gruyere are packed full of calcium, mascarpone isn’t quite as beneficial in this sense. Nevertheless, each serving of mascarpone still contributes a small amount of calcium to your diet, which is definitely better than nothing considering that calcium is excellent for bone health and a reduced loss of bone density.
3). Useful For High-Fat Diets
Due to the fact that mascarpone is a food high in fat, it’s a great option for those following a high-fat diet. So, whether you need some extra calories after recovering from an illness, or you need to add more fat to your diet for another health reason, there are few options better than mascarpone cheese.
Needless to say, don’t go too far over the top when consuming mascarpone, simply use it as a direct replacement for lower fat cream cheese.
4). Encourages Enjoyment Of Food
Mascarpone has the potential to make any savory or sweet dish that little bit tastier. After all, you can’t eat 100% healthy foods 24/7 – it isn’t sustainable!
As previous research has indicated, not only is the enjoyment of food and special treats important for any diet, it also encourages people to appreciate their food more. As a result, this can lead to greater levels of satiation and pleasure from reduced portion sizes.
5). Can Aid Nutrient Absorption
The final health benefit we’ll take a closer look at, and by certainly no means the least, is the fact that mascarpone can boost nutrient absorption.
While many of the essential vitamins that the body needs are water-soluble, some of them can only dissolve in fat. For example, vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble vitamins.
Therefore, foods that have a high-fat content such as mascarpone provide the perfect vehicle for assisting the absorption of these minerals into the body.
Culinary Uses Of Mascarpone Cheese
- Mascarpone cheese is best known as a vital ingredient in the traditional dessert, tiramisu.
- It can be used as a flavorsome replacement for cream cheese in cheesecakes.
- Mascarpone is also popular as a dessert in its own right, usually served with fresh fruit.
- It can often be used to thicken creams and puddings for desserts, as well as frostings for cakes.
- Mascarpone cheese works brilliantly alongside stronger flavors like brandy, espresso, and chocolates.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Should Mascarpone Cheese Be Stored?
Ideally, mascarpone should be stored in the fridge if you want to maximize its life span. Keeping it in the fridge will give you five to seven days of use, while storing it in the freezer will extend this period to around two months.
In terms of knowing when mascarpone has gone bad, there’s no better method than simply using your senses. For example, if it carries an unpleasant smell or has turned crumbly in texture, it’s a good idea to immediately discard the cheese. Moreover, color changes are also a telling sign.
Are There Different Varieties Of Mascarpone?
While some cheeses such as gouda and cheddar which can be found in many different varieties, mascarpone cheese is only really consumed in the plain, cream-based version that’s found in most grocery stores across the U.S.
Nevertheless, some food producers often sell the cheese with flavor additions such as strawberry, chocolate, or herbs. Furthermore, if you try to make your own mascarpone at home, you can experiment with all types of different flavor combinations.
What Type Of Flavor Does Mascarpone Provide?
Mascarpone cheese provides a mild, almost buttery flavor which is perfect for including in rich, satiating dishes. This is why mascarpone is the ideal ingredient for tiramisu and other desserts such as cakes and cheesecakes.
Can You Eat Mascarpone If You’re Lactose Intolerant?
This all depends on the severity of your intolerance. If you’re able to eat some cheese and yoghurt without experiencing any adverse effects, you should be able to include small amounts of mascarpone in your diet to see how you fare.
If, however, your tolerance is severe and you avoid all other types of cheese, it might be best to find a non-dairy cream treat instead of trying to introduce mascarpone into your diet.
Can You Eat Mascarpone Cheese By Itself?
While mascarpone is typically used with other ingredients, it can often be enjoyed on its own.
For example, many people eat mascarpone by itself with fruit and nuts. Using the popular cheese in this sense can add some indulgence into your day even when you’re looking for something relatively healthy!
Is Creme Fraiche The Same As Mascarpone Cream?
Mascarpone cream is essentially the Italian take on creme fraiche, just a little bit milder and sweeter. They both provide a delicious, piquant edge which is ideal for partnering with dense cakes and desserts.