10 Fantastic Benefits of Eating Cheese
It’s a guilty pleasure for a lot of us – a delicious, creamy, savory cheese. This wonderfully flavored dairy product has been accused of causing a plethora of horrible health issues; from heart disease and stroke to obesity.
But, is cheese really bad for you?
Let’s take a look at ten fantastic health benefits of cheese so you can guiltlessly enjoy this holiday and party staple.
- Eating Cheese May Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack
- Cheese is high in Protein and B Vitamins
- Cheese is Probiotic
- Cheese May Prevent Liver Cancer
- Cheese May Boost the Immune System
- It Can Prevent Tooth Decay
- Cheese May Reduce the Risk of Becoming Type II Diabetic
- Cheese Won’t Raise Your Blood Pressure
- You Can Eat Cheese Even if you’re Lactose Intolerant
To discover more regarding how cheese consumption over a long period (years) affects someone’s risk for heart disease, researchers from the Netherlands and China analyzed information from 15 observational research studies that included over 200,000 people. All the studies (except one) excluded individuals that had an existing heart condition, and all the studies (except two) tracked individuals for 10 or more years.
What these researchers discovered is that people who ate high relatively large quantities of cheese had a 14% lower risk of developing heart disease and were also 10% less likely to experience a stroke than people who never or only rarely ate cheese.
Cheese typically has just about as much protein per serving as it does fat. It’s this protein that the body uses to maintain and build cell structures and also signals the body to feel full after a meal. Cheese also provides lots of bone-healthy calcium; cheddar cheese has 200 mg per ounce or almost 20 percent of an individual’s recommended daily intake. It’s also one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Cheese also provides a significant amount vitamin B12 which helps red blood cell formation and healthy neurological function.
Cheese is a fermented food, meaning it contains certain bacteria that are beneficial to our digestive health. Some evidence even suggests that eating cheese will favorably change the microbiota (concentration of bacteria in the gut), acting as a probiotic that may improve the metabolism.
Including cheese in your diet could stop you from getting liver cancer and even boost liver health. This is according to a recent study from Texas A&M University. The researchers even discovered that aged cheeses like brie and cheddar might potentially boost your life expectancy by as much as 25 percent.
This could be because aged cheeses contain spermidine, a compound called thought to prevent both liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma; the most common type of liver cancer.
Finnish researchers from the University of Turku found that eating probiotic cheese can prevent the age-related deterioration of the human immune system.
The scientists asked test-subjects who ranged between 72 and 103 years old, to consume one slice of either a probiotic Gouda cheese or a placebo with breakfast for one month. At the end of the 4-week study period, they discovered that the seniors who ate probiotic cheese instead of the placebo demonstrated a significant strengthening of their immune systems.
A study conducted in 2013 by researchers at the Academy of General Dentistry, concludes that cheese consumption will not only make the mouth more alkaline (and more unfriendly to cavity-causing bacteria) but can also create a protective film on the tooth surface – acting as a barrier to decay.
The researchers divided 68 children into three separate groups. One group was required to consume a portion of cheese every day, another group ate sugar-free yogurt, and the third group drank a daily glass of milk.
pH levels were measured both before and after testing (the higher a pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chances of getting cavities) and researchers found that the children who ate cheese demonstrated a rapid rise in pH level while the groups that ate the yogurt or drank milk showed no change at all.
Cheese contains butyrate, and the digestive system needs butyrate to work correctly. Butyrate helps your body maintain the healthy growth of cells that line the gut, making sure that there’s a proper balance between the old cells dying off and the formation of new cells. Butyrate is also the most vital source of energy for these cells.
A study published in the journal Diabetes concluded that mice that ate feed with added butyrate demonstrated insulin levels that were 50 percent lower than mice that ate regular mouse chow. The researchers theorize that butyrate can help our bodies to more efficiently use insulin and maintain optimal blood-sugar levels.
It turns out that cheese’s high sodium content may not be a problem after all. Even though cheese is a high-sodium food, it wasn’t linked to high blood pressure in an analysis of several previous studies.
The scientists still haven’t figured out exactly why this is the case. But, they think that it may be due to the ingredients in cheese acting synergistically. It looks like the various components and elements in cheese consumed together have much higher importance than either the saturated fat or the sodium. According to the study, calcium also seems to play a protective role by binding with some of the fatty acids in cheese making them indigestible.
It doesn’t matter if lactose makes your stomach turn, you can still enjoy certain types of cheese. There are many kinds of cheese that will spare the stomachs of dairy sensitive people, including:
When these cheeses are made, the production and aging processes eliminate virtually all of the lactose. While a glass of milk will contain about 12 grams of lactose – one ounce of any of these cheeses will provide just less than one gram of this (sometimes hard to digest) milk sugar.
Everyone has a favorite cheese; it could be mozzarella melted on a pizza, a slice of Swiss on your burger or a generous slice of Brie – cheese provides a satisfying addition to our diets.
Enjoy the holidays and don’t be afraid to attack the cheeses offered with your meal. It’s healthy, tasty, and can even fill you up quicker, so you don’t over-indulge on sugar-filled treats later.