Mascarpone is a type of cheese that can be compared to cream cheese in terms of taste and texture. This cheese is often used in traditional Italian desserts, such as tiramisu, because it's creamy and has a mild taste. Mascarpone supplies small amounts of certain nutrients essential for good health, but it also contains a lot of fat, which decreases its nutritional value.
Calories, Fat and Cholesterol
A 1-ounce serving of mascarpone contains 130 calories and 13 grams of fat, of which 8 grams are saturated. That's about one-fifth of your total fat limit each day and 40 percent of your daily saturated fat limit. A diet that includes large amounts of saturated fat can lead to the development of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and might contribute to cancer, too, according to MayoClinic.com. That same portion of mascarpone also contains 45 milligrams of cholesterol, which is about 15 percent of your daily upper limit of 300 milligrams.
Minerals and Health
Like other kinds of cheese, mascarpone supplies calcium, though in much smaller doses than hard cheeses like Cheddar. A 1-ounce serving of mascarpone provides 4 percent of your daily calcium needs, which is about 40 milligrams. In addition to keeping your bones strong, calcium plays a role in the function of your heart, muscles and nerves, too. Another nutritional plus of mascarpone cheese is the low sodium content. Most kinds of cheese contain large amounts of sodium, but mascarpone contains just 15 milligrams, which is about 1 percent of your daily 2,300-milligram limit. That's good news for your health because too much sodium is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
Vitamin A and Health
The primary vitamin present in more than just a trace amount in mascarpone is vitamin A. A 1-ounce serving of mascarpone contains 10 percent of the 700 micrograms of vitamin A you need each day. Vitamin A keeps your eyes healthy and helps you see in low light. You also need plenty of vitamin A to promote the health of your skin, teeth and bones, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Tips and Considerations
Since mascarpone is high in saturated fat, it's best to limit your intake of the cheese as one step toward protecting the health of your heart. Look for reduced-fat versions to improve the nutritional value a little. When you do splurge on mascarpone, stick to 1 ounce or less to prevent yourself from going overboard. Use the creamy cheese in Italian desserts or spread a thin layer on crackers and top with fresh berries.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.