Gouda Cheese: The Most Nutritious Choice

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

chunks of gouda cheese

If I was forced to choose a single cheese to eat for the rest of my life that would best maintain my health, it would be Gouda cheese.

Is Gouda my favorite cheese?

Not really.

While I certainly like Gouda cheese and don’t mind eating it, my taste buds consistently rank several other cheeses quite a bit higher on the enjoyment scale.

Why Gouda cheese then?

The answer might surprise you.

You might be shocked to learn, as I was, that Gouda cheese is higher than most liver, grassfed butter, and even pastured egg yolks in the critical nutrient Vitamin K2, identified by Dr. Weston A. Price as the elusive “Activator X”.

Vitamin K2 along with the other fat soluble activators A and D are synergistically responsible for the vibrant health and extremely high resistance to aging and degenerative disease as experienced by Traditional Cultures and as described in Dr. Price’s groundbreaking book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Vitamin K2 is extremely difficult to get sufficient quantities of in the diet even if one consumes grassfed meats and dairy on a very regular basis.  The reason is the worrisome depletion of our soils which grassfed farmers are valiantly turning the tide on, but which will still take several decades if not even a century or two to reverse on a widespread basis.

On top of this, many families are currently struggling to afford any grassfed meat and dairy at all.  I receive emails all the time from readers who wonder how to maintain health on the very tight budget of about $75-100/week for a family of 4 or even more!

The sad state of the economy which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, requires creative and practical solutions to ensure that this critical and elusive nutrient is in the diet in the quantities necessary to ensure freedom from tooth decay and high immunity to degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, periodontal disease, cancer, and diabetes among many others such as what Traditional Societies experienced.

Vitamin K2 has no known toxicity even at high intake levels, but is most effective when consumed in the presence of the other fat soluble activators Vitamin A and D.   Therefore, getting Vitamin K2 from food is always the best way to go if at all possible.

Why Gouda Cheese is So Loaded with Nutrition

This is where Gouda cheese comes in.

You see, the food that is highest in Vitamin K2 is natto, which is very difficult to find and even more difficult to consume due to its very horrible taste and texture.  If you are game, you can usually find it at Asian specialty stores in the freezer section for about $3 for a small container. Natto contains a whopping 1,103 mcg of K2 per 3 1/2 ounce portion which blows away every other food by a country mile.

The second highest food in Vitamin K2 is goose liver pate which has 369 mcg per 3 1/2 ounce portion.  While highly delicious and wonderful to eat, goose liver pate is very hard to find in most places.  It is also a very high end, gourmet food which makes the price out of reach for most.

Rounding out the top 3 foods highest in Vitamin K2 is none other than the humble Gouda cheese, which boasts 75 mcg per 3 1/2 ounce serving!  This compares to pastured egg yolks and butter, which each have about 15 mcg of K2 per 3 1/2 ounce portion.

Here’s the really excellent news:  Gouda cheese is extremely high in Vitamin K2 even if the milk it’s made from was not grassfed. This is due to the bacterial cultures used to ferment milk into Gouda cheese.   Bacteria produce a special type of Vitamin K2 (MK-7) which according to current research is as effective as the animal form of Vitamin K2 (MK-4) at preserving human health when combined in the diet with the other fat soluble activators A and D.

Of course, grassfed Gouda cheese would be best as Gouda made from this highest quality milk would be high not only in MK-7  but also MK-4, the animal form of K2.

For some, however, supermarket Gouda cheese is all they can find or afford!

In other words, Gouda cheese is high in Vitamin K2 regardless of how the milk was produced.  Gouda even if made from the milk of the average grainfed, conventionally raised cow, is still very much worth it to buy from a nutritional standpoint!

Other hard cheeses would also be high in Vitamin K2, but Gouda is the highest of them all.   Perhaps this is a reason why cheese is the #1 most stolen item in the world!


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources and More Information

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue ND

The Nutritional Deficiency that is Written All Over Your Face

Are Nightshade Vegetables Worsening Your Pain?

Why I Gorged on Brie Cheese When I Was Pregnant

Picture Credit


Comments (238)

  1. Natto is “difficult to consume due to its very horrible taste and texture” ? I love Natto, make it myself (it is not difficult at all). I am of Polish descent and did not “grow up” eating it.
    So, please Sarah, do not discurage others from trying Natto by describilg it as something it is not – for many of us anyway. Who knows, maybe they will acquire the taste for this valuable food.

    Other than that – a wonderful article like all of your work, Sarah. :) Many thanks. You are greately appreciated.

  2. Does young Gouda have vitamin K2?
    I don’t like aged gouda. I somwhat like the flavor of aged gouda but I strongly dislike the texture. It’s like eating earth! Maybe it was a bad batch?

    About MK4 and MK7, they are good because they start a ‘chain reaction’ of some proteins that actually regenerate the bones (even teeth) and remove calcium plaque from arteries and even help preventing kidney stones. So, it turns out the is the one that heals itself, but it needs a little push in the right direction, and that is why bacteria poo is good for you.

  3. Natto is a great source of K2, however it does smell really bad and you really have to dress it up. Why do you think Japaneese people have slanted eyes? It’s caused over generations from eating this stuff and smelly fish. They grimace when they eat. Gouda doesn’t smell; hence, Europeans don’t have slanted eyes. This is my theory. I know it’s not scientifically proven yet, but it makes sense if you think about it. Anyways I don’t want to contort my face just to live an extra year or two. So I’m Gouda stick with the cheeses. Gouda nuff for me.

        • wow, so anything and everything distasteful is just a “joke”?

          learn how to recognize good natured jokes from ones that are thinly disguised to offend and then call anyone who calls them out on it as trying to be a victim.

  4. It would be pretty safe to say that imported Gouda, rather than domestically (US) produced Gouda is made with milk from grass-fed cows, as most cows in the Netherlands enjoy pastures year-round.

    • Technically, if a cheese is called Gouda it must be from Holland. dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/10/european_commission_confirms_p/.

      However, it is possible to find cheeses that are called “Gouda” from other places.

      That’s why I always look on the label.
      First, I don’t want to support an unethical company that isn’t respecting the right of Holland to be the only source of Gouda. That’s like France and Brie cheese. The consumer should be able to trust the label.

      Next and even more important, I don’t want to eat grain-fed cheeses, even if they have some K2, they won’t have as much as cheeses that are from fully-pasture-raised grass-fed cows AND the other fats and nutrients are tilted towards more cancer, cardiovascular disease and a shorter lifespan, according to Harvard researchers.

      There’s something like as much as 50 times more K2 in fully grass-fed dairy compared to grain-fed dairy, regardless of other considerations.

  5. Johannes Blenk via Facebook August 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

    young gouda is the cheapest cheese in germany – weak quality – i guess, it depends on the ingredients, how good they are…

  6. Artist's Coordinator via Facebook July 31, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I love Gouda!! If you buy the Dutch one from Costco (red and blue package) it’s one of the least expensive gourmet cheeses they sell. Does anyone know if the Blarney Castle (kerrygold) is actually Gouda, with same k content? The package says that it “tastes similar to a Gouda”.

  7. Hi Sarah,

    on the site of Dr. Mercola I read this: “Certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda (these two are particularly high in K2, containing about 75 mcg per ounce)”

    Does Brie or Gouda cheese contain 75mcg per ounce or 75mcg per 100 gram (3,5 ounce)?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Quote from above article:
      Rounding out the top 3 foods highest in Vitamin K2 is none other than the humble Gouda cheese, which boasts 75 mcg per 3 1/2 ounce serving! This compares to pastured egg yolks and butter, which each have about 15 mcg of K2 per 3 1/2 ounce portion.

  8. Hi,

    would adding some Gouda cheese or Brie cheese to fermented vegetables like sauerkraut increase the amount of vitamine K2 after fermentation?
    Will the bacteria in these cheeses grow also from sauerkraut?
    Thanks in advance.

  9. Pingback: Oh my cod ! – A la quête d’une huile de foie de morue de qualité | Clair et Lipide

  10. Just want to say..
    K2 MK-4 is a bit different then K2-MK-7..

    K2-MK-4 takes the calcium to our Bones and not our Arteries..But it has a short life (so to speak) in our bodies..We need to take it about twice a day 5 hours apart.

    K2-MK-7 stays in our body for about 3 days…For some people taking more could give them a jittery feeling, and rapid heart beat..Do not take before bed time..
    K2 -MK-4 will not give you a rapid heart beat, but if you take too much in liquid form (throme) it can make you feel a little like flu symptoms for about 3 hours.

    When taking K2 MK-4 take a little healthy fat with it, as it absorbs better.

    That said, when talking about K2, be more pacific if it is K2 MK-4 , OR, K2 MK-7.
    As there is a difference.

    Hi JOE B.,
    Thanks for the great idea of putting frozen Natto in a smoothie..
    Truthfully since all I hear about Natto is how disgusting it is, I have never bought it.
    Where do you buy Frozen Natto, or if you buy it not frozen, then I assume it can be frozen?


    • I buy my natto at the Asian store. I really don’t think it’s bad at all! Though maybe I’m just used to it now. We started out putting it in our smoothies, but now I’ll put at least one package in every time I Make fried rice. Have never received a complaint from any of my kids!

  11. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that the blogosphere has latched onto Gouda as the K2 Silver Bullet of cheeses. And it’s all due to a segment on the Dr. Oz show where a panelist suggested hard cheeses, “such as Gouda,” as a source for K2.

    People, do some research and you will find that a lot of other cheeses contain high levels of K2, such as Jarlsberg and emmental.

    See http://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302%2807%2971865-9/fulltext for more information.

    • Thanks for the interesting link, Joe. It appears that Jarlsberg may have a similar amount of K2 to Gouda, since 75 mcg in 3.5 oz. of Gouda is about 755 ng/g, which is close to the amount in this link showing 796 ng/g in Jarlsberg. Emmental is about half of that. However, Gouda was not tested in this particular study that you cite, so it’s hard to be sure how they compare.

      I think you should try to share information, or even offer criticism, in a more courteous manner. The information about Gouda that Sarah and other bloggers have provided us with is accurate. You shouldn’t berate them for not including information from every scientific study that’s been done on every post they make. Are you sure it is all based on a Dr. Oz show? Sarah references Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book, not Dr. Oz.

      • The stats quoted by bloggers might be accurate in some regards, but the bloggers also jump to conclusions and offer suggestions not supported by the original research.

        For example, Sarah’s original post advocates Gouda based on a table in Rheaume-Bleue’s book (http://books.google.com/books?id=WqHkmhNZuWcC&dq). However, the research cited by Rheaume-Bleue — “Determination of phylloquinone and menaquinones in food. Effect of food matrix on circulating vitamin K concentrations” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11356998) — never cited Gouda as the hard cheese highest in K2, or Brie as the soft cheese highest in K2.

        Rheaume-Bleue simply took a chart from the study and offered examples of types of hard and soft cheeses one should look for, i.e. Gouda and Brie. She never said that these are “the highest” in K2 for their types (see Chapter 3, Ghee and Butter Oil from Grass-Fed Cows, subsection “Two Types of Vitamin K2″).

        Sorry for the bluntness and aggressive tone, and apologies to Sarah’s forum for taking the brunt of this. However, when someone Google’s around looking for foods high in K2, they invariably end up at this site. Hopefully, a person or two will see my post and realize that there are many other good alternatives.

        P.S. In addition to my cheese intake, I add 5 grams of frozen natto to my morning home-cultured kefir smoothie (Google “Kefir Lady”). Based on the Weston Price numbers, this should give me approx. 55 micrograms of K2 (MK-7) everyday. Five grams of natto in a smoothie is not detectable at all; if you increase the amount, it should be easily masked by more fruit or sweetener of your choice. Also, according to Lifeway Kefir’s website, one serving of kefir contains 300 mcgs of K2. However, I have no idea how much K2 is in my homemade kefir; could be more, could be less…

        • Nothing wrong pointing out sloppy research. But then again the internet is filled with people rehashing other peoples posts and information without checking it.

        • Thanks very much for your explanation and your apology, Joe. Also, putting natto in a kefir smoothie is a great idea. I was very interested to know that Lifeway Kefir has 300 mcg K2 as I have read that kefir is a good source of K2 but have not been able to find out how much that might be.

  12. I was very interested in learning about Gouda! Thanks so much for providing us with this information, Sarah!
    I have read that kefir is also an excellent source of Vitamin K2. Does Dr. Rheaume-Bleue mention kefir in her book?

  13. Please don’t talk about natto if you’ve never tried it — my apologies if you have — and even thought it’s tempting to agree with conventional wisdom, authors should not write opinions about things they don’t know about first hand.

    I wasted many years avoiding natto because of all the horrible reviews (it’s unanimously considered prohibitively disgusting to Westerners), but then I got a clue and decided to try it for myself. Verdict: It’s not that bad.
    Here is my (honest) opinion of natto:
    Aroma is deep and rich like strong soy sauce — and here I was expecting a horrible moldy French cheese smell!
    Texture is strange like slime, but I prefer to think of it as “stringy”.
    The taste is very bland — it needs salt or soy sauce — but then you are hit with a bitterness that’s worse than dandilion. To cover up the bitter taste, it’s good with avocado, and oily rice or noodles.
    It’s much better than tempeh in my opinion, which by comparison tastes “fungal” and makes me physically sick.
    I have been enjoying my new food, natto, and I intend to alternate natto with a delicious raw gouda from Trader Joe’s. (at a reasonable price)

    Also, natto is very available in most Asian markets and very cheap – about $3 for a 3-pack. I wish I could verify that it was GMO-free but that is difficult because I don’t read Japanese.

    • Hear, hear! We love natto. I put it in with our fried rice and am always tempted to stir in that little mustard packet and just eat it straight outta the container! 😉

    • Lisa,

      Where in Trader Joe’s is RAW Gouda Cheese?

      I buy there 1000 day Gouda,. Is that the one your talking about?
      From what I was told, T. J’s. cannot sell any Raw Dairy, and they do not.

  14. I’ve managed to locate a source of matured Dutch Gouda made with raw/unpasteurised milk from grass-fed organic cows. Considering that the K2 MK-7 is generated by the bacterial cultures added to milk after pasteurisation, would this still be a good source of K2? Would they still add these additional cultures? Does anybody have any data on this? Thanks!

  15. Plenty of Japanese hate natto as well. It’s an acquired taste. I enjoy it now. The trick is to put scallions on it. Bonito (fish flakes) and hot mustard are good too.

    If you’re going to buy it, be sure to get the organic one. Look for the words JAS OMIC on the label. Otherwise you’re eating GMO!

  16. I bought Gouda cheese and ate it for the first time yesterday after reading about its K2 content. My 3 year-old usually does not like cheese, but he loves Gouda. Yaay! It tastes like processed cheese, though.

  17. Pingback: Gouda: Vitamin K2 powerhouse

  18. Todd,
    You might want to scroll up, there are some very good explanations for the K2 in Gouda .
    Its the fermentations that makes it K2 MK-4..That does not happen with the other cheese unfortunately
    I buy at Trader Joe’s, there 1000day old Gouda..Fabulous.

  19. I gotta say, I tend to agree with the commenter Denis above. Why, after all, would Gouda be so specially high in K2 when it is produced in the pretty much the same way as dozens of other cheeses, Edam and Havarti, etc.?

    Doesn’t seem to add up

  20. Pingback: PART 1: 10 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Own Cheese

  21. Hi Sarah,
    Does Lactose-free Gouda also have high amounts of vitamin K2? I have problems digest sugar in milk and as I love and eat Gouda often, it’s normally lactose free.

    Thank you,

  22. I am very late to this discussion, but I would suggest that if one does not like gouda to try aged gouda. It is a little more pricey, but is delicious. I buy an 18-month version from Wegmans supermarkets that is outstanding. There is also a five year old version, but that is very expensive and only for special occassions.

  23. Pingback: 10 Reasons why you should make your own cheese (Part 1 Cheesemaking Series) | The Promiseland Farm

  24. Pingback: How to cure lactose intolerance | Diet Fitness and Health

  25. Pingback: How to cure lactose intolerance

  26. Annemarie, there is no mention of it having to be raw in the article–I wondered this myself from reading the comments. Nor is there any mention of smoked versus regular. My understanding from reading the post is that it is the cultures used to ferment the cheese that make it such a powerhouse. Likewise, the harder the Gouda, the longer it has been fermented and therefore it will have more of the vitamin K2.

  27. Lindsey Morrison via Facebook November 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    3.5 oz sounds like an awfully large serving. Although maybe that was just for comparison to the other foods mentioned. I guess about 1.5 would provide the 100-200 mcg you mentioned in the comments.

  28. Thank-you so much for posting this. As a stay at home mom of four kids, our food budget is stretched to the maximum because we all depend on one salary. I love that you presented gouda as an affordable and healthy choice for those of us who can’t afford to eat grassfed at every meal. I hope you can do more of these budget conscious articles in the future.

  29. This brings up a very good point…how to feed the family on a limited budget. I’ve been playing with this and using veggie and bone soup, which is extremely affordable… Wonder, what other tips people might have? Was there a blog post for that?

  30. Candi Scott via Facebook November 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    If you had to choose between raw organic and organic grass-fed, which would you choose? Our dairy sells raw/grassfed, but it sells out fast and the rest of the year, I’m stuck with Trader Joe’s or Earthfare. Neither have raw/grassfed. I usually go for the grass-fed, but am curious as to which you would do.

  31. Pingback: Compliments and Beef | On The Go Fitness

  32. I was just wondering, would mature gouda be higher in K2 than the regular mild kind. I’m not too clued up about how cheese is made but I figured that maybe the mature kind would have been fermented for longer so would have more K2 in it…any idea? Thanks.

  33. Pingback: Bacon, Onion, Avocado & Gouda Breakfast Sandwich « Sumptuous Spoonfuls

  34. I would like to see your research that suggests MK-7 is just as good as MK-4 as an ‘activator-x’. I am speaking of the form that will give children wide faces and straight teeth. Stephan Guyenet says that MK-7 might only be partially converted to MK-4. And one of his readers makes this statement:

    “I would be willing to believe that bacterial menaquinones have unique benefits, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support that so far. Many of our organs seem to have a distinct preference for MK-4. It doesn’t last very long in the bloodstream, presumably because our starved organs pump it up immediately. MK-7 has a longer serum half-life. This is a benefit according to its proponents, but I’m skeptical. MK-4 is the form mammals synthesize for their own use and for feeding to their youngsters by way of milk and eggs.”

    From my own research I would agree. Here is Stephan’s article on maloclusion and the role of K2: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/11/malocclusion-disease-of-civilization.html

    “Certain organs (brain, pancreas, salivary gland, arteries) preferentially accumulate K2 MK-4, and certain cellular processes are also selective for K2 MK-4 (MGP activation, PKA-dependent transcriptional effects).”
    “Other menaquinones such as MK-7 (found in natto) may contribute to K2 status as well, but this question has not been resolved.”

    I am taking it safe this pregnancy and using butter oil, dairy, pastured eggs, and I also bought the supplement by Thorne Research K2 MK-4 (very pricey compared to the MK-7).

    • Hi Janelle,

      I don’t know if you’ll read this since it is some time since you posted, but did you notice what Stephan said in the article you linked to:
      “There’s another issue with K2 supplements that I haven’t discussed yet. Natural K2 is all trans, while synthetic K2 MK-4 may contain some of the unnatural cis form. I don’t know what effect cis MK-4 has on the body. I e-mailed Thorne to find out how much cis MK-4 is in their supplement, but never heard back from them. I should try again.”
      This made me question whether you should take Thorne’s K2 MK-4 during pregnancy.

  35. Hi Sarah !

    Nice post !

    I wonder if the colour of old-aged Gouda has something to do with his vitamin K2 content. Look, for example : http://www.fromageriehamel.com/images/selections/gouda4ans.jpg ; and cheddar is often cited as an example on comments.

    For your information, in the north of France (near Lille) a french version of Gouda is made, called Mimolette ( http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Mimolette_vieille_etuvee.jpg/280px-Mimolette_vieille_etuvee.jpg ) and it’s still orange (never seen a yellow one) ! I wonder if mimolette gets the same high content (in K2 vitamin) as Gouda does.

  36. My husband is a huge cheese fanatic! He grew up in Wisconsin. What can I say? :-) We buy lots of raw cheese at a local dairy, but they don’t have Gouda. So we picked some up at Sam’s Club today and YUM! I don’t think I’ve eaten it before. I’m pregnant, so I’m glad to see it’s considered safe for pregnancy. I’m also taking CLO, so I’m getting that A&D as well. Thanks for all the info you post!

  37. When I looked at the book on Amazon there was a link to Jarrow’s Mk-7 derived from Natto. What is your opinion on this?

  38. nyc primal foodie January 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Great article. After reading Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book and reading this, I’ve come to the anecdote that being from the Netherlands, Gouda may have helped make the Dutch the tallest people in the world. As K2 is critical in the management of calcium transport and distribution to bones, it seems that a nation that has an abundant supply of K2 in their diets can grow so tall. All anecodotal but the puzzle pieces do seem to fit. Now, off to Trader Joe’s for some Gouda for my kids!

  39. Sorry Sarah, I just can’t buy it. I understand the biochemistry of milk, how to make cheese and this doesn’t make sense to me. First of all if the milk is pasteurized prior to making the cheese the vitamins and enzymes in the raw milk are killed, milk that is pasteurized is dead. Unlike what was expressed by one follower, adding the bacteria doesn’t produce vitamins or enzymes to pasteurized milk but rather adds the lactic bacteria that the milk requires in order to make the cheese. As I said anyone who does make cheese, and many of us do, understands, the bacterial culture to make all of these various cheeses could be the same, methods differ. I cannot imagine that K2 is a product of the addition of lactic bacteria, but that it does exist in cheeses made with pastured grass fed milk.

    • Sounds like you need to read the book as it goes into this in detail. Even in pastured raw cheese, there is very little MK-4 (the animal form of K2) compared with MK-7 from the fermentation bacteria. Most of the K2 in cheese is from bacteria which is why even pasteurized cheese is a good source of this nutrient.

        • Just to double check, I opened the book and looked at the chart of foods highest in K2 again. Hard cheeses (Gouda) is #3 and 94% of the K2 in Gouda comes from bacteria (MK-7 and other MKs) while only 6% comes from animal form of K2 (MK-4). It doesn’t say if the milk was grassfed or not, but I’m presuming it must be else there would be little to no MK-4 in there at all.

          • Ok even giving the fact that we agree fermentation produces K2 and not the milk itself, although having been a big proponent of pastured cows and raw milk for over a decade I still have issues with that, the fact is that the method for making Edam for instance, is the same as Gouda. Also there are other hard cheeses that are made with a similar method and temperature range, havarti for instance. And cheese that is aged 60 days, fermentation is complete at that point, can really all made with the same bacteria, (Debra Amrein- Boyes 200 Easy homemade cheese recipes) why is gouda different? One pot of milk makes cheddar and one makes gouda, the milk comes from the same cows, both are inoculated with the same lactic bacteria and the aging (fermentation) is the same before you eat them, actually because of the mesophilic bacteria they both have very similar temperature ranges too…. Incidentally I picked two cheeses that are different methods, one washed curd and one cooked curd, but really there are only 5 or 6 ways to make every cheese in the world… and then the recipes are tweaked just a bit or they come from another country and are called something else….. do you see why this doesn’t make sense to me?

  40. We have been making cheese for over 10 years from our pastured cow’s milk. We make many different varieties and gouda is one. However the one thing that confuses me about this is that although the ‘method’ of making these different cheeses; cheddar, havarti, gouda, colby etc is different the bacterial culture used in them is basically the same strains of meso culture. How can gouda be that different? Also I would really like to know where I could find the research about this. thanks

  41. I would like to recommend Gouda cheese from Boar’s Head. It’s imported from Holland and it has a very balanced flavor like artisan cheese. ( I live in Florida and Publix stores carries it in the Deli section ) It’s absolutely delicious! Thank you for your wonderful site. Have a Blessed New Year! =)

  42. Shame on you for disparaging Natto!

    Natto is readily available at Japanese food stores for about $0.50/40 gram serving.

    It looks like baked beans and tastes like whatever sauce you choose to put on it – mustard, bonito, picante, etc.

    I love Gouda as well. Maybe I’ll try putting some shredded Gouda on my Natto :)

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

      Pasteurized gouda is still a good buy for nutrient density! Raw, grassfed is best, but get the best you can find and afford.

  43. Charlotte Gigi O'Brien Robles via Facebook December 31, 2011 at 9:16 am

    I noticed that some of the gouda in my local Whole Foods and Trader Joes have added starches. Are they all like this?

  44. Would smoked Gouda be acceptable? That happens to be what I have in the house, and I agree that grassfed is hard to afford as is raw milk in an illegal state. We are doing our best at least on the meat.

  45. I’m dutch and we eat a lot of Gouda! This is fantastic to hear :) Anyone who hasn’t tried it yet, should, it’s so delicious – especially if you get the old Gouda – tons of great flavour!

  46. Sarah, my husband is Japanese; he and my three children LOVE natto. He and the kids eat it several times a week over white rice as it’s the only thing he can “cook”. So it’s not completely inedible–for them. But, confession: even with the above going on in my house and 10 years of living in Japan under my belt, I NEVER eat natto.

    Guess this is my sign that I really should start eating natto! But I’ve given up grains and without rice it would be even worse to choke down… maybe I’ll just buy some Gouda at Costco. Anyway, thanks for the great information!

    • A little bit of white rice is not going to hurt you, especially if it helps you get down a nourishing food. It doesn’t have the antinutrients in whole grains and it does have some mood boosting amino acids. Nothing wrong with consuming a little every now and then.

  47. What is natto? Does the ingrdients list on the back of the cheese have to say it has Natto in it? One Gouda I looked at had Annato colorng in it but all the others did not list natto in it. Is this the same? We have dairy goats so I would love to try and make it as it is delicious!

  48. kristin konvolinka December 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I’m with you…gouda isn’t my favorite, but I’ve put much less palatable things in my mouth for the sake of my health. Up until pretty recently, I didn’t give much thought to the nutrient differences between various cheeses. Gouda is now on my ‘must try again’ list.

  49. Great post!

    I love Gouda. We bring lots back from Holland every time we go and we always have some in the fridge.

    I suggest you reword this statement: “You see, the food that is highest in Vitamin K2 is natto, which is very difficult to find and even more difficult to consume due to it’s very horrible taste and texture.”

    Natto is NOT horrible! I actually like the taste. I’ve introduced it to several friends and they liked it, too.

    Have you tried it? I love natto with brown or white rice, soy sauce or fermented fish sauce, and raw egg yolk. Oh, and some Japanese pickles or kimchi. YUM!

    Maybe you could say that many people aren’t used to the taste or texture. I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s horrible, as if that were a statement of fact. An acquired taste, sure, but not categorically horrible.

    And FYI there is a typo: “it’s very horrible” should be “its very horrible”.

      • Okay, I have to admit I’m a freak as well who actually enjoys it. I make my own sauce, which helps a lot. Try Red Boat Fish Sauce and a little mustard. Yum.

      • Growing up in the tropics where natto grows – the old folks would always have a fermented bottle of the stuff to add to food.
        In fact the colour is so beautifully vibrant, that unbeknowing to most of us, it is a top secret additive to many world-known sauces – HP tomato sauce being one of them.
        Also my old Nannie who is a brilliant cook says when added to soups and stews, sauces etc it gives great flavour and now we know – provides great nutrients.
        I will try some from the Asian store.
        Thanks for reminding me.

        • Oops!
          Sorry folks. If natto is fermented soybeans then I am talking about something completely different – “anatto”.
          Sorry again.

    • There’s a sushi restaurant near me that sells natto maki rolls and I swear my fiance and I are the only ones who ever order them! We sat at the sushi bar one night and the owner came out and pointed at me and said, “YOU ordered natto??” When I said yes he looked amazed! He was so impressed he gave me several shots of Sake free!

  50. The cheese itself isn’t pasteurized. The milk is pasteurized and then re-cultured. It is this culturing that leads to the production of K2 by the bacteria that are used.

  51. Everyone in our family adores cheese, and we eat a great deal of it every week. I usually buy 4-6 8 ounce packages a week, and most of what I buy is Kerrygold Cheese. Kerrygold has a Gouda – Blarney Castle, which finds its way into our refrigerator pretty often. I also buy their other cheeses and try to have a variety of them around. This last week, I bought a cow gouda from the cheese counter at the health food store too, and it’s delicious. Thanks for pointing this out though, what a great way to get some or more K2 in our diets!

  52. How do I add up my mcg Vit k per day amount? Is there a known quantity of Vit K for butter oil and for a pastured egg? Can you refer me to a Vit k food source list? Thank you!

  53. Hi Sarah,

    Being that I’m from Holland and Gouda is, well, a Dutch brand you can guess my surprise to hear that Gouda is such a nutrient dense food! My kids love cheese and i grate it on top of everything, but because of my husbands preference we eat a lot of cheddar (he’s English) or raw milk cheese. But would you say that all Gouda is alike? I thought it made quite a difference from farm to farm. Gouda is just the place here in Holland where it’s made and Goudse cheese comes in all forms and sizes. I don’t think i’ve seen natto around either.

    So could you give me some more information about Gouda cheese or the culture it’s made from so that I can make a good choice next time I visit my local supermarktet.

    Thanks a million!

  54. Like so many others who have commented, this is the best news ever! We love gouda, both cow and goat. I need to go and get some more!

    (I am fortunate that I have a good source for grass-fed raw blue cheese AND cheddar already and they aren’t too steeply priced. If I could round it out with finding a grass-fed gouda I would just die!)

  55. I’ve never had gouda before, I’m an aged cheddar lover but I’m willing to give it a go for the k2. I just checked my raw milk delivery site and not only do they offer 13 month aged gouda but it’s naturally smoked – awww yeah. I can’t give an awww yeah for the price though… $17 a pound :-/
    Thanks for all of your great info Sarah

  56. I love to make fried cheese with Gouda. Just put small chunks into a nicely seasoned skillet and let bubble then turn and fry the other side. Makes a lovely snack or grain free chip.

    • Jennifer, the fact is that Gruyere is just as high in K2 as Gouda, possibly more so. Kate Rheaume-Bleue (Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox) did her research when little was known about the sources of this vitamin. There are a lot of good reasons to believe that real Swiss Gruyere has more K2 than any other cheese, due to extensive grass-feeding in Alpine meadows. They start in the lowlands, then take the cows higher and higher as the weather warms up. The grass up there is more nutritious, so the cheese is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and other extremely important nutrients. If you can afford it, imported Gruyere is the way to go. Enjoy!

  57. I especially love tips for healthy eating which are EASY! And I have just been trying to think of ways to make my packed lunches for work as I return after my maternity leave ends next week!
    Th anks!

  58. How interesting. Guess I will try to eat more Gouda! It’s never been my favorite, either, but maybe it will taste better knowing what I now know!

  59. I am curious about butter oil. My family eats large amounts of butter. Would we still need to takes butter oil in order to get the benefits? If I were to use ghee would that help as well?

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Yes, get that K2 from wherever you can. You are most likely not getting enough even if you think you are.

  60. AWESOME!! I love, love, love Gouda! As a matter of fact, I’m working my way through a block that I got at Costco that was imported from Europe. Since I can’t easily get raw milk/grass-fed cheese locally or at the grocery store, I love that I can get imported European cheeses at Costco (for quite an affordable price) because they tend to be much higher quality. This just gives me MORE reason to eat Gouda! Woooooo hoooooooo!

  61. Thanks for this research, Sarah! The high cost of butter oil deters so many people. It’s good to know that sufficient levels of K2 can be found in the Gouda, and if it’s grass-fed, I would imagine it would make a good chaser for your cod liver oil. Of course butter oil is best, but most budgets can’t fit it in.

  62. I lived in Japan and could never bring myself to eat natto. I am a cheese junkie and love Gouda. It is going on my next grocery list.

  63. I’ll have to try it at some point! Normally, I buy my raw white cheddar or colby cheese at the health food store as these are high in vitamin A and other concentrated nutrients. Cheese is definitely cheaper than grass-fed meat.

  64. We’re looking up Gouda online and finding that you can get a decent price on imported Gouda cheeses if you look for it. Zabars.com was one of them. You’d have to pay overnight shipping unless you buy a certain amount. We haven’t compared what non-imported or imported costs in the store, but it seems that cheese from Holland would have a better possibility of being GMO free, as well as having less or no antibiotics and other hormones. Would a mild Gouda be aged less and have less K2?

  65. My husband loves Gouda too, and I’m glad to hear that even the non-grass fed is good because I don’t think I’ve seen grass-fed Gouda.

    I find eating grass fed and pastured meats to be very expensive. We do it, at the expense of other things, but it gets frustrating, and I think that a lot of people miss out on it because of the expense. Not everyone can handle $5 plus dollars a pound for hamburger meat. In fact, people would die if they found out what my monthly grocery bill is!!!

    • Lori, the best way, by far, is to buy grass fed, pastured meats in bulk! Yes, it is more expense up front, but overall the cost is greatly reduced. We can buy a quarter grass fed, pastured beef for about $3.50 per pound hanging weight (before cutting and trimming). I also ask for all the bones for making stock. You customize the cuts, and this price is for every cut of beef from filet mingon all the way down to ground beef. It’s an excellent value, and a great way to support local, grass fed farmers.

  66. I’m like iniQuity above and would like to know just how much K2 a person needs to stay healthy. I’m mostly vegetarian and rarely consume meat or cheese, however I do enjoy raw egg yolk. I may eat a dozen raw egg yolk per week, sometimes more. I do this mainly for the B12 egg yolk contains. I used to have trouble with my fingers locking up at night and would have to go through a painful process in the morning of breaking them lose, that is until I started eating raw egg yolk and now I don’t have that problem anymore.

  67. The farm we get milk from sells cheese made on site and gouda there is so creamy and wonderful — glad to hear it is highly nutritious too!

    Do you know if smoked gouda is similar in health benefits? or any smoked cheese for that matter?

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Alfalfa is not a good source of vitamin K2 as it has none it it at all. Alfalfa would have K1 in it which is completely different than K2.

      K1 is easy to get in the diet and deficiency is rare and obvious if there is one at all.

      Do not mistake K1 for K2. They are completely different in the body.

      • I found it interesting that Sally Fallon does not recommend eating any type of alfalfa at all. (see Nourishing Traditions).

        Or tea leaves because of the high amount of fluoride they accumulate. I’d love to see more on that.

        And what’s up with tannins? Are they bad, good, what’s the deal?

  68. Laurie Neverman via Facebook December 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    There’s a raw gouda with fenugreek made by a Wisconsin dairy that is fabulous that I get at a local cheese store.

  69. We can even find goat gouda which we both enjoy. I’m assuming it would have the same benefits.
    Per natto…check out some youtube videos on how to eat it. Surprising how many people love it.

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      The smell of natto is what I just can’t handle. Sooooo bad! The stringy texture I can’t deal with either! If you can eat it, though, go for it! It’s not that expensive, so dropping $3 at the local Asian store to give it a go is worth it even if you discover you can’t quite choke it down!

      • Hard to believe something SO disgusting as natto could be good for you. I am not questioning your nutritional information, which I trust, since it comes form you, but I wonder why my senses find natto SO utterly repulsive.

        Gouda is not my favorite cheese either, but I will happily eat more of it, I prefer it to natto by a ratio of millions to one.

      • I think it is simply because we are not “used” to the flavor and texture of natto. I am sure many Asian people are more than happy to eat it. In fact, my two sons LOVE it because I have bought it on and off since they were small. They’re used to it, and they ask for it like it’s a treat!

        • I’ve never tried natto, but I feel that way about organ meats. Mostly I’ve just tried liver, but when I do eat it, it makes me depressed because I hate the taste and texture so much it repulses me and I feel like an inferior human being for only being able to eat a small bit of this superfood. I watch my boyfriend and cat chomp it down. After I eat a bit though, I do feel good and sometimes I get small hankerings for the taste. I feel like it’s so strong and powerful it should be given in homeopathic doses! :)

          I mean, have you seeeen how much vitamin A is in liver? 3.5 ounces of turkey liver has 75,000 IU’s of A! (According to the book Cure Tooth Decay) And other animal livers are very high like 30,000 IU’s and on down.

  70. Vitamin K2 is very important for women who are taking calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis, along with vitamin D3. The K2 instructs the body to place the calcium where it is needed in the bones, teeth, nails instead of the lining of arteries where the calcium can cause problems like arteriosclerosis. Dr. Mercola has interesting articles on this vitamin.

    • is sourdough bread from the store better for you than whole wheat or whole grain bread? i haven’t started making my own healthy bread, but have used nature’s own whole wheat bread for many, many years.

        • Olivia,

          Would you please Share a recipe for Real Sour Dough Bread without Yeast -o)
          I have heard of that type of sour dough, and people that have to eat gluten free can eat it with out any wheat side effects.

          Organic or any wheat, also Whole wheat/sprouted wheat, robs your bones of Calcium.
          What is wonderful about Gouda cheese is, It is K2 MK4 which takes the calcium to your bones, and Not your arteries, or soft tissue.

          For people that cannot eat dairy. You can get k2 mk4 from a liquid form. I think the best one is, Throne liquid k2 mk4 (amazon-pricy but worth it)..Also mk4 has a short shelf life in the body, maybe only 6 , hours..Mk7 has a much longer shelf life in the body. about 2 to 3 days..Take too much Mk7 and you can get a fast heart beat.

          You can not buy goose liver pate in the Usa anymore. It is In-human how it is fed into the Goose.

      • Great info Sarah, I will be purchasing the 2-year aged gouda from the co-op more often. I knew there was a reason the last time I got it I could barely put it down.

        Though, at 75mcg per 3.5 ounce serving, that’s a lot of cheese to eat and it still doesn’t meet optimal amounts of K-2, (as you said it’s best to get 100-200mcg) and if you were to eat that much gouda a day, it certainly would get expensive. I think my next project will be to make natto from kidney beans as the gentleman suggested earlier.

        Is there something different about the culture used to ferment gouda as opposed to other cheeses? I’m curious of the details as to why it has so much more K2.

  71. My family will be thrilled to hear this! We are cheese eaters in a big way, but at $15 a pound for grassfed, I’ve been cutting back. I still don’t like cheese made from industrialized cows due to the content of the milk, and would really rather not put my money toward that system, but maybe a little Gouda now and then wouldn’t hurt! Thanks!

    • Our Whole Foods had one type of grass-fed organic cheese on sale for 3.99/8oz. A few of them of them even had $1 off coupons. The regular price is 4.99/8 oz. I can’t remember the brand, but it’s from a farm in CA, I think. It came in mozzarella, sharp cheddar and monterey jack blocks.

      • Grace,
        Soft cheeses are not as healthy as hard cheese is. Too much fat for the arteries etc.
        Although if its grass fed, I’ll have to check that out..
        I also live in Ca.

        Trader Joe’s sell 1000 day aged Gouda cheese..It is wonderful.
        Does not taste anything like the regular gouda from the markets, and T.J’s 1000 day Gouda is a hard cheese.

        I think it should be mentioned here, that is a difference in K2 MK-4, then K2 MK-7.
        Mk-2 takes the calcium to your Bones, and Not your Arteries. You do not need as much Mk-7, as it also can cause a rapid heart beat. Which Mk-2 does not..
        Mk-2 leaves the body in about 5 hours, so it needs to be taken more often.
        Mk-7 maybe take every 3 days..Has a longer shelve life in the body.

  72. Thanks for digging up and sharing this fascinating news, Sarah. We’re fortunate to have a source for gouda here in Minnesota (Sunny Road cheese) that is local, raw AND grassfed!

  73. I love gouda, although usually we buy aged gouda (1-5 years) which is a harder and saltier cheese that what you typically find in supermarkets where the gouda is softer. Do you know if the aged gouda also has the same level of K2?

  74. Fortunately I love Gouda, it’s one of my favorites.

    BTW, I found I can swallow some natto without chewing or tasting it much. it’s easy to make, and is VERY inexpensive to make. I was a little nervous about eating soy, though and still haven’t made peace with the soy issue. Thoughts?

    • Can you please post your natto recipe? I also am nervous about soy but you can buy it organic and non GMO if you look. Any natto coming from Japan would be non GMO.

    • I haven’t made or even tried natto myself, but I am planning to order some of the spores responsible for fermenting natto from cultures for health. After doing some research online, you are supposed to be able to make natto from black beans, kidney beans, azuki beans, and lentils instead of soy. Since I try to consume as little soy as possible, but want to partake of this super-food, I’m planning to try this. :)

  75. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had Gouda, but it’s going on the list.

    As a “supplement” how often would you recommend it? I’m not big on cheese, but I am big on food as medicine so if possible, I would appreciate maybe a weekly average to shoot for? I probably wouldn’t eat it everyday (because I’d forget) so I’d probably add a big chunk of it to a steak or something like that. For what it’s worth I’m a 5’7, 152lbs, 26 year old active male… I am also not currently partaking in grass-fed or pastured anything, unfortunately. Chances are I’m low in this “Activator X” which sounds too cool to be missing out on.

      • When you mention Gouda cheese for K2, What we should know is, “Age Gouda Cheese” has more K2 MK-4..you might want to know, that K2 MK-4 takes the calcium to your bones and Not your Arteries. That is why we need it.

        Also you can buy at Amazon, Thorne, K2 MK4..I have nothing to do with Thorne.
        Just want to mention it.

        I do not believe we can eat enough Pasture butter to get enough K2 MK4..


Leave a Comment

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!