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

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A nib of cheese a day keeps the heart diseases away

The research published in the European Journal of Nutrition linked chowing down on about 40 grams of cheese daily (about the size of a matchbook) with the lowest chances of heart disease and stroke.

Researchers from China and the Netherlands analyzed data gathered from 15 previous studies where numerous participants were tracked for at least 10 years.

Dairy has always been a dicey subject in the health food world. Researchers didn't specify whether one type of cheese was better than the rest. He also cautions against reading too much into data that's self-reported-as much of the data was-because people tend to over- or under-estimate their consumption of specific foods.

Dr. Chikako Ono, a cardiologist with Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, said the protein, probiotics and calcium in cheese definitely can be beneficial. They scientists pored over 15 observational studies that included more than 200000 people. Some cheeses can be quite high and our total daily intake should be less than 1500 mg.

Overall, people who consumed high levels of cheese were 10 percent less likely to have a stroke and 14 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease than participants who consumed no cheese.

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"This meta-analysis of prospective studies suggests a nonlinear inverse association between cheese consumption and risk of CVD."

Overconsumption, however, can trigger high cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease due to high levels of saturated fat.

But don't stock up on the Cheddar just yet; both studies have their own limitations. More isn't necessarily better, though.

What is more, both studies have links to the dairy industry; the earlier study received funding from the Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute, and Dairy Australia, while the latest study was conducted with the help researchers from the Yili Group, a dairy company based in China.

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. Low-fat is made with 2 percent milk and non-fat is made with skim milk.

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