Health Benefits of Eating Yak Cheese

Chhurpi cheese
Chhurpi cheese. Credit: Sumit Surai / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cheese is made from different kinds of milk, including cow, goat, sheep and even camel. But did you know there is cheese made even from the Tibetan yak! Having yak cheese may not be a top priority for everyone, we do recommend eating this delicacy whenever possible for the health benefits it offers.

Yaks are peaceful animals known to live an incredible lifestyle in the mountains of Tibet. Nepal is one of the few places in the world that began production of yak cheese and, since then, the yak cheese has been shipped worldwide.

Funnily enough, unlike how the animal appears feral, unkempt and hairy, the flavour of the yak cheese is quite delicate with subtle tones of sweetness mixed with wildflowers. It is not pungent, and the cheese is even considered healthier than any cow's milk cheese like cheddar because of the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids that are said to contribute to heart health. The overall difference between yak cheese is also because of the healthy diet and the alpine pastures, compared to the manufactured diet of grass-fed animals like cows and sheep.

Chhurpi cheese
Dried Chhurpi. Credit: Janak Raj Bhatt / CC BY-SA 4.0

In Tibet, the milk from the yak is used to create a popular kind of smoked cheese called Chhurpi. The cheese is pale yellow, tangy and is an excellent source of protein for people in the mountainous region. The cheese has higher amounts of vitamin A but has over 15% higher amino acids when compared with cow's milk cheese, making it perfect for people to eat for controlling diabetes and building muscle tissue.

There are several varieties of cheese made from yak milk that include Sosha, Byaslag and Chura Kampo, all native to the regions of China and Nepal where these hairy animals thrive and provide the very best of healthy milk for cheese making.