Is Parmesan Cheese Good For A Probiotic?


Whenever I am at a resteraunt and the waiter or waitress starts grating parmesan cheese on my food, I don't want them to stop. Even better if I can sprinkle that yellow goodness myself with nobody watching.

In this blog post, I'm going to be taking a look at whether Parmesan cheese has probiotic bacteria that may be good for your gut health and the overall parmesan cheese nutrition profile.

How Is Parmesan Cheese Made?

Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy was traditionally made with only three or four ingredients. For the most part it is still made in the same and with the same ingredients. It starts off with animal skimmed milk, thermophilic lactic acid bacteria is then added. Some time later after cooking liquid rennet is added to help it curdle and then plenty of salt is added.

When Parmesan cheese was made many moons ago, it would be left to age and ferment for up to 3 years! In the modern age most low-cost parmesan cheese is typically aged for less than 12-months. If you pay a premium price for some authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese then it's likely to have a stronger taste, smell and have more potent probiotic bacteria.

How Long is Parmesan Cheese Good For?

You can keep un-shredded Parmesan sealed in the refrigerator anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Remember the authentic stuff can be aged for up to 3 years. It's a long lasting cheese. 

Once opened Parmesan cheese should be cut with a clean sterile knife and eaten within between 1 week. Also check the sell by date because different types of parmesan can be dehydrated making it last longer. 

If you notice any sour smell or white mold, do not eat it! This is a sign of bad bacteria overgrowth and can can cause an upset stomach or worse. If you eat it, you are likely to get diarrhea, bloating and cramps.

What Probiotic Strains Does Parmesan Cheese Have?

Parmesan that is aged for 1 year and more is high in lactobacillus probiotic bacteria. One specific study noted that Parmesan contained billions of Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic bacteria. This strain has been studied to show many different interesting benefits for intestinal health. (1)

Parmesan Cheese For Gut Health

According studies compiled by Healthline, the Lactobacillus Rhamnosus probiotic strain inside of Parmesan cheese has been shown to help with some of the following.

  • Assist with Diarrhea. 
  • Help with IBS.
  • Protect teeth against cavities.

Healthline also lists more potential uses but it's important to know that not everyone will experience these benefits. All Parmesan may not contain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus depending on the lactic acid bacteria used and length of ageing process. (2)

Parmesan vs Mozzarella

Parmesan Nutrition

Per 100g









I would say that for gut health nerds, Mozarella is healthier for the gut considering it contains more probiotic bacteria strains than Parmesan. It also has less saturated fats and calories per 100g.

Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?

Parmesan Cheese is 100% not vegan and depending on on the liquid rennet used is not vegetarian either. The liquid rennet used in most parmesan cheeses contains enzymes and parts from the stomach of a unweaned calf. Pretty gruesome, I know. (3)

Final Thoughts

Parmesan tastes awesome and most contains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus probiotic bacteria that has been studied to show benefits for the microbiome. Just try not to overload yourself the next time you are at Olive Garden because it's quite high in fat and sodium. Try and buy aged parmesan to make sure you are getting some good strong fermented probiotic's for your gut.

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