International experts have carried out a meta-analysis (that means they’ve looked at 29 separate studies and combined the results) and published their findings in the Journal of Epidemiology
The good news is that dairy products, even full fat ones, don’t harm your health. This confirms a review published in 2014 in Current Nutrition Reports which found that full-fat dairy foods, including whole milk, yogurt and cheese, don’t appear to increase heart-disease risks and may even help reduce your risk for developing heart disease.
As someone who uses whole milk, butter and cheese, that comes a s no surprise to me. (I cringe when I hear people asking for skimmed milk in their latte coffee, especially older people who presumably think its healthy. Apart from anything that might be added to make up for removing the cream, you can’t make a decent latte with it. And don’t get me started on skinny decaffs – what’s the point!).
Anyway according to the Times Body & Soul section there are 6 good reasons cheese is good for you. You can check out the full story in the newspaper.
- Cheddar and Gruyère can help you lose belly fat. In experiments volunteers who increased their intake of cheese, yoghurt and milk from three daily servings to five – actually lost more weight than those on a reduced calorie diet. They also had less stomach fat and lower blood pressure. Protein can increase the feeling of being full and the cheeses with the most protein are the harder cheeses such as Gruyere, Parmesan and Emmental but semi-hard cheeses such as cheddar also do the job.
- Strong cheeses can help reduce dental decay & whiten teeth. Cheese is sugar free and stimulates the flow of saliva. The stronger the cheese the more saliva you produce and that protects your teeth by neutralising the acids left in your mouth after eating and reduces tooth decay. Cheese might also help reduce staining as saliva washes away wine and coffee. It also contains casein and calcium phosphate which strengthens teeth, especially cottage cheese.
- Cheese could help protect bones and prevent osteoporosis. You need calcium in your diet to build bones and keep them healthy. We begin to lose bone density in early middle age which is where hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and gouda, which are a good source of calcium, are helpful. A 30g piece ofEnglish cheddar can provide 40% of the calcium, along with50% of vitamin B12 and 20% of the phosphorous that we need every day. If we don’t eat calcium our bodies take it out of our bones making them more likely to break easily.
- Cheese can help lower the risk of early menopause. A US study of over 100,000 women found that foods rich in calcium can help lower the risk by 13%
- High fat cheese may reduce the risk of diabetes. A Swedish study found that eating high-fat cheese such as cheddar, brie, Roquefort or parmesan, and yoghurt, could lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 25%. And a Canadian study found that eating dairy products such as cream and cheese may be associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar, which are linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Cheddar and cottage cheese could help you sleep. The amino acid tryptophan is found in cheddar, Gruyère and cottage cheese (the highest levels) and may help to induce sleep. Tryptophan is needed to produce melatonin which makes us drowsy. So cheese on crackers for your late night snack!