Blue Cheese Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Gorgonzola blue cheese


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Moldy food is not typically on the menu—unless you like blue cheese. While you should toss out moldy bread, blue cheese is made with a mold and is what gives the cheese its blue veins, bold flavor, and pungent smell.

Believed to have originated in a cave in Roquefort, France, blue cheese is available in a handful of varieties including gorgonzola, stilton, and cambozola. The blue veins characteristic of blue cheese develop from the bacteria Penicillium Roqueforti that grow within small punctures created on top of the cheese loaves at the beginning of the cheese ripening process.

Though blue cheese is typically high in sodium, it is rich in dairy protein, dietary fats, and essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and vitamin A. What makes each variety different is the type of milk used, the length of ripening, and the result texture and flavor.

Blue Cheese Nutrition Facts

The nutrition information for a 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of blue cheese is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 100
  • Fat: 8g
  • Sodium: 326mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 6g

Carbs

Blue cheese has less than 1 gram of carbohydrates per 1-ounce serving (28 grams).

Fats

A 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of blue cheese has 8 grams of fat, which makes up 72% of the calories found in blue cheese. Of those 8 grams, 5.3 grams are saturated fatty acids and 2.2 grams are monounsaturated fatty acids. Though blue cheese is higher in saturated fats than healthy fats, it still provides a good serving of unsaturated fats that protect the heart.

Protein

The protein found in blue cheese comes from dairy and makes up 24% of the total calories in a 1-ounce serving (28 grams). Most blue cheese is created using full-fat cow’s milk.

Proteins found in cow’s milk are dairy protein and include whey and casein. During the cheese-making process, the whey is removed while the casein remains in the cheese. Casein is a slow-digesting protein ideal for long periods without eating like during an overnight fast.

Vitamins and Minerals

Blue cheese is an excellent source of the essential vitamins and minerals calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and vitamin A. A 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of blue cheese provides 10% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium, 13% of the RDA of phosphorous, 2% of the RDA of potassium, 14% of the RDA of sodium, and 29% of the RDA of vitamin A.

Calories

A 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of blue cheese has 100 calories. The calories are made up of dietary fats and protein. Dietary fat accounts for 72% of the total calories, while protein accounts for 24% of the calories. The remaining calories are coming from the negligible portion of carbohydrates.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of blue cheese come from the protein, fat, vitamin, and mineral content that make up the cheese's nutritional profile. Here is an overview of the potential health benefits of blue cheese.

May Provide a Quality Protein Source

Most people do not reach their daily protein needs, and it is especially difficult for those following a plant-based diet. One serving of blue cheese is an excellent source of dairy protein and provides 6 grams of protein per ounce.

The protein content of blue cheese is the milk protein casein, which is a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are required for growth and nitrogen balance while the lack of essential amino acids in the diet can lead to severe forms of malnutrition.

May Help with the Absorption of Vitamins

The vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and are best if consumed with high-fat foods. Fat-soluble vitamins are transported through the bloodstream via fatty acids.

Lack of fat in your diet could result in inefficient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and a vitamin deficiency. The fat content in blue cheese will help with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins it contains as well as the foods eaten with it.

May Help With Weight Management

Not many people associate cheese with weight management. But, most cheeses including blue cheese are rich in calcium, a mineral that has been shown to help reduce body weight.

A review of research on calcium intake in humans has revealed that dietary calcium intake is associated with weight loss, though the mechanism of action is not yet determined.

May Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Although most people associate foods with a higher fat content with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, research on the “French Paradox"—and molded cheese intake specifically—is believed to show otherwise.

Blue cheese and its mold Penicillium Roqueforti is proving to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects as well as the ability to control blood pressure and prevent cholesterol buildup.

May Support Bone Health

Dairy products, including blue cheese, are known for their calcium content. As an essential mineral, calcium is responsible for the density and strength of bones. If you do not get enough calcium, the body will take calcium from bones making them weak and more susceptible to fractures. Blue cheese contains 10% of your daily calcium needs.

Keep in mind though, that calcium is not easily absorbed without vitamin D. Because blue cheese contains less than 1% of the recommended vitamin D intake per day, you may want to pair it with foods rich in vitamin D like mushrooms, eggs, salmon, or canned tuna.

Allergies

The amount of lactose in blue cheese is low enough to be considered lactose-free. This fact is good news if you are lactose-intolerant. Plus, blue cheese is naturally gluten-free making it a good choice for anyone following a gluten-free diet like those with celiac or gluten sensitivity. Of course, you should still read the food label to be sure it is safe for you to consume.

That said, if you have a dairy allergy, you should avoid blue cheese and other milk-based products unless you are able to find dairy-free options. If you think you might have an allergy to milk, talk to a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms and perform testing to determine if you have a food allergy.

Adverse Effects

Because blue cheese is high in sodium, those with high blood pressure or on a low-sodium diet should look keep this in mind. You can look for a low sodium option or consume this cheese keeping in mind that your overall daily sodium intake should be less than 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams per day.

Likewise, blue cheese is high in potassium and phosphorus. If you have kidney disease, consult a kidney specialist before eating foods high in potassium and phosphorus.

Varieties

There are several varieties of blue cheese including gorgonzola, double crème blue, roquefort, stilton, and traditional danish blue. Each variety ranges from mild to bold as well as creamy to hard.

Blue cheese is also available in reduced-fat and reduced-sodium. The nutritional content of blue cheese will change based on the type of milk used and if the fat was removed. Reduced-fat blue cheese has 80 calories per ounce (28-grams) and 5 grams of fat.

Storage and Food Safety

Wrap blue cheese tightly after opening with wax paper, then with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator. If properly stored, blue cheese will last up to 1 to 2 months. If mold appears on a solid block of blue cheese, simply cut away the mold and eat if desired.

If mold appears anywhere within a package of sliced or crumbled blue cheese it must be discarded. Blue cheese can be stored in the freezer to extend the shelf life by wrapping it in heavy-duty aluminum foil. It is best to thaw your frozen blue cheese in the refrigerator.

Recipes

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