Is Cheese Good For You? New Study Points To Heart Benefits

Eating cheese daily may cut risk of heart attack and stroke, new study suggests

Overconsumption, however, can trigger high cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease due to high levels of saturated fat. They found that overall, people who ate more cheese had a 14% less chance of developing heart disease and were 10% less at risk of having a stroke, compared to those who did not eat cheese at all. All but one of the studies excluded people with existing heart disease, and all but two tracked people for 10 years or more. Moderate cheese eaters may live healthier lifestyles or have higher incomes, leading to reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, researchers pointed out. The key, as with most foods, is to consume it in moderation. Recent research shows, however, that saturated fat may be more benign than we think.

A 40 gram square, about the size of matchbox, was the sweet spot for health benefits.

The researchers' findings were "certainly different from what people might expect", says Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis.

It's important to understand that the relationship between higher cheese consumption and lower risk of heart disease and stroke is U-shaped rather than linear.

Cheese makes everything better.

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Another thing to keep in mind is that the data regarding cheese consumption was self-reported, and people are notorious for over or under-estimating the amount of food they've eaten.

Yet exceeding moderate portions of cheese won't boost benefits, and may in fact trigger negative health conditions, experts warn.

As noted in the study, cheese is also a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein, which also may be "cardiovascular protective properties".

The scientists report that these effects were strongest among participants who consumed around 40 grams, or 1.41 ounces, of cheese every day. "But on the upside, a bit of cheese on a cracker doesn't sound unreasonable".

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