Pretty much all of us have cravings for cheese on a daily basis. And I’m not talking just a dusting of parmesan shavings – I’m talking a whole load of melty, stringy cheese goodness. You might go to your fridge deluding yourself into thinking you’ll have no more than a tiny bit of brie for instance – just enough to tickle your taste buds – and then end up eating an entire wheel.
When it comes to cheese, we tend to lose all sense of self-control and willpower. There’s just something really addictive about the stuff. Maybe it’s all that delicious fat in cheese – we want what we can’t have (or rather, what we shouldn’t have).
Not everyone loves cheese though. Remember the vegan guy who freaked out when he discovered that he had accidentally eaten a bit of cheese:
In any case, if you’re a fan of cheese, then prepare for some excellent news because it might just be the key to a longer, healthier life. Yes, researchers from McMasters University in Canada discovered that those who consume more than two portions of cheese a day had reduced risk of stroke cardiovascular disease.
The study also found that those who ate milk and yoghurt also benefitted from a reduction in these health risks. The study looked at 130,000 people from 21 different countries, aged between 35 and 70, so it really did cover all bases.
Those who ate less than half a serving a day or avoided dairy completely saw a staggering 44.4% rise in their mortality rate. Five per cent of this was down to cardiovascular disease.
Mahshid Dehghan, lead author of the study said: “Our findings support that consumption of dairy products might be beneficial for mortality and cardiovascular disease, especially in low-income and middle-income countries where dairy consumption is much lower than in North America or Europe.”
So by all means, start digging into your favourite cheese, but you might want to focus on mature cheeses, like blue cheese, cheddar, and parmesan, as these could lower your chance of liver cancer.
Spermidine, a compound found in aged cheese could even help fight against two of the most common types of liver cancer – liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma – by preventing damaged cells from replicating.
But before you get ahead of yourself, you should know that Jimmy Chun Yu Louie, from the University of Hong Kong, pointed out that while the McMasters’ study appears to show a strong link between a diet of full-fat dairy and our ability to fight against diseases, further research still needs to be conducted.
He said: “The results from the PURE study seem to suggest that dairy intake, especially whole-fat dairy, might be beneficial for preventing deaths and major cardiovascular diseases.”
“However, as the authors themselves concluded, the results only suggest the ‘consumption of dairy products should not be discouraged and perhaps even be encouraged in low-income and middle-income countries.'”
“It is not the ultimate seal of approval for recommending whole-fat dairy over its low-fat or skimmed counterparts. Readers should be cautious and treat this study only as yet another piece of the evidence (albeit a large one) in the literature.”
Researchers from the McMasters agree that more work needs to be conducted in the area, particularly into why dairy seems to have this effect on cardiovascular diseases.
I mean, it’s a little unfair that they may have gotten us prematurely excited about the prospect of indulging in cheese. But there you go – I’m still going all out on my Christmas cheese board!