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A Nibble of Cheese a Day May Help Prevent a Heart Attack and Stroke


Cheese lovers rejoiced at the news that cheese has longevity and cancer prevention properties. And now, researchers indicate that cheese may be protective against heart disease, too. Recent findings have shown that this delicious food may be a guilt-free treat — if eaten judiciously.

In the new review, scientists from the Netherlands and China examined data from 15 studies that involved more than 200,000 people. Most of the studies tracked the participants at least 10 years, and the majority of them used individuals who didn’t have heart disease at the onset. The research team monitored the incidence of cardiovascular incidents and correlated it with dietary habits.

Heart Disease Risk Reduction from Cheese Ranged from 10 to 14 Percent

Analysis showed the participants who daily ate a small portion of cheese had a 10-percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a 10-percent lower risk of stroke and a 14-percent lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who didn’t eat cheese. Individuals who received the health advantages ate 40 grams per day, an amount equivalent to the size of a matchbook or a one-ounce serving of a block of cheddar cheese.

“This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day,” director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Allan Stewart, who was not involved in the study, told Time.

The results were U-shaped rather than linear, which means eating larger portions didn’t result in a greater degree of protection. The benefit tended to decline or reverse at higher doses.

In regard to overall cardiovascular disease, consumption of more than 40 grams per day wasn’t linked to a risk decrease. Indeed, the benefit almost completely disappeared in participants who consumed 80 grams per day. However, when the data was confined to coronary heart disease, eating more cheese was associated with a slightly greater risk reduction.

The findings show an association rather than a cause-effect relationship. Moreover, the study also didn’t examine the effects of different types of cheeses to determine if certain varieties offered more protection than others. Nonetheless, the results are consistent with an earlier study this year that suggests eating cheese doesn’t increase the risk of a heart attack.

Why Might Cheese Be Good for the Heart?

While cheese contains saturated fat, which doctors consider a cause of high cholesterol and heart attacks, it also contains healthful ingredients. These include probiotics, calcium and protein, as well as conjugated linoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that may raise good or HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL or bad cholesterol.

The probiotics are likely a key part of the heart-protective properties. “Cheese can be high in probiotics, which tend to put you in less of an inflammatory state,” said Stewart.

“There is some evidence that cheese — as a substitute for milk, for example — may actually have a protective effect on the heart,” Stuart added. “No one’s saying you should definitely go out and eat 40 grams of cheese a day. But on the upside, a bit of cheese on a cracker doesn’t sound unreasonable.”

The study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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