Cheese is utterly delicious, but sadly it’s got a bad rap.
According to the British Heart Foundation, there are concerns that eating too much of it could lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease.
But that’s not to say we should all be dropping our packets of cheddar and running for the hills. It’s simply a case of eating it in moderation.
Without further ado, here are eight perfectly Gouda reasons to stay true to the creamy stuff.
1. It could protect against liver cancer.
A new study in mice found that spermidine – a compound found in cheese, mushrooms and soy-based products – prevented liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.
The compound is specifically found in blue cheese and parmesan – so get stockpiling.
2. It makes wine taste better.
Scientists have proven that cheese actually has the ability to make average-tasting wine great.
Researchers at the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour in France found that the delicious dairy item boosts wine’s fruitiness and bouquet, which improves enjoyment for those partaking in a tipple.
3. It isn’t all bad news for your cholesterol levels.
People who eat a lot of cheese do not have higher cholesterol levels than those who don’t, according to research carried out at University College Dublin (UCD).
Current health guidelines recommend that eating foods high in saturated fats like cheese can increase your risk of developing high blood cholesterol, which is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
The findings of this study indicated that those who ate large amounts of cheese consumed higher amounts of saturated fats. However, the researchers did not find that eating large amounts of cheese led to increased blood cholesterol levels.
A separate study by scientists from the University of Copenhagen found that those who consumed high-fat cheese on a daily basis had increased levels of “good” cholesterol and regular levels of “bad” cholesterol.
4. It could help you live longer.
Another study into the benefits of spermidine found consuming it can help you live longer.
The study of mice and rats, published in the journal Nature, found that those who were fed spermidine experienced better heart health and generally lived longer too.
“Our results suggest a new and feasible strategy for protection against cardiovascular disease,” the study’s authors concluded.
5. It could ward off diabetes.
Butyrate-dense cheeses may help protect against Type 2 diabetes. That’s according to a study published in the journal Diabetes, which found that mice who ate food containing added butyrate had insulin levels that were 50% lower than mice who ate the regular kind.
Experts believe butyrate helps the body use insulin more effectively.
6. It’s great for bone health.
Cheese contains calcium, which is excellent for maintaining good bone health. It also contains a small amount of vitamin D, the fat-soluble vitamin that helps us absorb calcium from food.
Parmesan in particular has been touted for its benefits.
“It is an optimal source of many essential nutrients for the acquisition and maintenance of bone health such as proteins, minerals and vitamins,” authors wrote in the journal Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism.
“The presence of high biological value protein and calcium highly bioavailable, make the Parmesan cheese a ‘functional food’ for bone health and osteoporosis prevention.”
7. It may not raise the risk of heart disease or stroke, after all.
A new study has found that eating cheese, milk and yoghurt does not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke – despite it being widely believed that these products could negatively impact health.
A meta-analysis of 29 previous studies on dairy products and their effects on health found that the foods had a “neutral” impact on human health.
The study authors wrote: “This meta-analysis showed there were no associations between total dairy, high- and low-fat dairy, milk and the health outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.”
8. It tastes great.
Need we say more? Now pass the cheeseboard.