How One Cheese May Protect Your Heart
Recent research has found that eating blue-veined cheeses may be protective against certain types of infection, and may reduce and even reverse certain types of inflammation. But not all blue cheeses are created equal. In order to get these potential health benefits, it’s important to know that your blue cheese was made in a natural, healthy manner.
Research on Blue Cheese
One experimental study on this topic found that a protein extract that was isolated from Roquefort (a type of blue-veined cheese) actually inhibited the reproduction of Chlamydia pneumoniae, a type of bacteria that is often associated with inflammation in atherosclerosis. Furthermore, mouse studies investigating short-term feedings of blue-veined cheeses found that these foods reduced atherogenic inflammation, and could even lead to regenerative processes at the sites of inflammation. Researchers have even speculated that the benefits of blue-cheese could be a significant factor in the reduced rates of cardiovascular mortality exhibited in French and Mediterranean populations.
What Types of Blue Cheese are Healthy?
Unfortunately, not all blue cheeses offer these potential health benefits. In fact, the bulk of the blue cheeses that are produced in the U.S. are made from cows that have been exposed to bovine growth hormone (BGH), which is injected in order to stimulate their systems and lead them to produce more milk. BGH is synthetically manufactured, and cows that receive these injections are more likely to suffer from mastitis and lameness. Research is still ongoing, but it has been suggested that this hormone may be linked with raising levels of growth factors in the human body. Most interesting of all, this type of dairy farming is not permitted in France, where people seem to enjoy greater health benefits from blue cheese.
Natural Blue Cheeses
While they may be less readily available, luckily there are blue cheese options produced in the U.S. that follow the French tradition, and avoid the use of BGH and other growth hormones. Among the brands that do not use hormones and additives are Salemville Amish Blue Cheese, Castle Rock Farm, Carr Valley, and Organic Creamery Blue, all of which are produced in Wisconsin. As with most foods, it is wise to exhibit moderation in the consumption of blue cheese, and consider any health complications that you may have, but eating these naturally-made blue cheeses may be able to improve your health.