What's the healthiest cheese? The best options, according to experts

Fresh ricotta

(CNN)Cheese -- what's not to love? Its popularity is indisputable.

Americans consumed over 38 pounds of cheese per capita in 2020 alone, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.
Whether eating cheese is healthy -- that's a little less clear.
    High in protein, calcium, vitamins and essential amino acids, cheese is also a calorie-dense food, and can be high in fats and sodium.
      "If you enjoy cheese and you like it, it could be a good source of protein. It could be a good source of calcium. You just want to eat it where you're not overindulging too much, because it can quickly add up in terms of calories," Lourdes Castro Mortillaro, a registered dietician and the director of the NYU Food Lab, told CNN.
        The protein found in cheese is a good alternative to protein derived from flesh, because it is still of animal origin, and contains all the essential amino acids the body needs but can't synthesize on its own, according to Castro Mortillaro.
        This makes cheese a complete protein, she added.