I know you’ve been waiting for some good news to come across your feed, and y’all. Here it is.
No longer will we be shamed for eating cheese on a regular basis.
It turns out that eating cheese might actually protect us from the some of the dangers associated with a diet too high in salt.
Now, we all need some salt, but too much can lead to things like high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and even dementia. Avoiding it can be difficult in our over-programmed, fast-food infested worlds, so the idea that just eating more cheese might help is pretty darn appealing.
Lacy Alexander, a professor and co-author of the study published in the Journal of Nutrition, explains.
“Studies have shown that people who consume the recommended number of dairy servings each day typically have lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health in general. We wanted to look at those connections more closely as well as explore some of the precise mechanisms by which cheese, a dairy product, may affect heart health.”
The study included 11 people with salt-sensitive blood pressure, all of whom followed different diets for a prescribed amount of time. They were low salt and no dairy, low salt and high cheese, high sale and no dairy, and high salt and high cheese.
At the end of the study, researchers assessed the blood vessel function of of each volunteer by injecting a small amount of a chemical that relaxes the vessels under their skin.
What they found was that the volunteers that had consumed the high salt, high cheese diet seemed to have some kind of protective effect against any kind of impairment to the vessel.
Scientists need to do more research, but they think it might have to do with antioxidants found in cheese.
“There is scientific evidence that dairy-based nutrients, specifically peptides generated during the digestion of dairy proteins, have beneficial antioxidant properties, meaning that they have the ability to scavenge these oxidant molecules and thereby protect against their damaging physiological effects,” said lead author Billie Alba.
The study was small, which means its results will need to be replicated, and no matter how much cheese you eat, you probably can’t guzzle salt like it doesn’t matter.
And even if it helps protect your blood vessel from salt damage, cheese is high in saturated fat and salt, too.
Now that the reasonable warnings are out of the way, let’s celebrate!
With a cheese plate. Obviously.