Eating Small Bits Of Cheese Daily Helps Lower Heart Disease Risks

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New research has found eating a little bit of cheese might help when it comes to the number one leading cause of death - heart disease, as well as the fifth leading cause of death, which is a stroke.

Just eat it in moderation because of the saturated fats and sodium levels. Cheese also has an unsaturated fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid which may affect cholesterol by lowering your bad LDL levels and raising the good HDL levels. This means that while the researchers had no proof that the cheese consumption caused the lower levels of heart disease, those who ate cheese regularly were less likely to be the same people who had heart disease.

In total, the studies included more than 200,000 participants, and the effects of cheese intake were monitored for more than 10 years.

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.

The relationship, however, was U-shaped rather than linear-meaning that higher quantities of cheese were not necessarily better. With the average American consuming 42.5 grams of food each day, you may find yourself eating less cheese if you want the maximum benefits.

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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.

While cheese has gotten a bad rap, it has important nutrients including protein, calcium and probiotics, said the study.

"There is some evidence that cheese-as a substitute for milk, for example-may actually have a protective effect on the heart", says Stewart. One portion is 40 grams (1.4 oz), which represents a matchbox-sized chunk, two slim slices or a quarter cup of crumbled cheese, according to The Independent. What they found is that those who ate cheese on a regular basis also tended to not develop heart disease.

If you're a cheese lover, you will welcome the results of this new study with open arms. "It's promising to find that something that actually tastes good-and pairs well with a nice glass of red wine-may offer some protection, as well".

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