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Does Eating More Cheese is Good for Your Heart Health?

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Don’t stop, eat that piece of Brie, mozzarella, or cheddar. There is a great chance that you will improve the work of your heart.

A group of Danish scientists has decided to find out why French people don’t have problems with cardiovascular disease at least not as much as someone would expect if they take a closer look at their diet packed with saturated fat and high levels of cholesterol. These scientists have examined an average French diet in order to determine which foods they eat the most. According to many statistics, cheese is the favorite food of the French and as a matter of fact, they are the nation that BHF. It is good to mention that people in Finland and Iceland eat cheese in huge amounts too.

This recent research suggests that cheese can be very helpful when it comes to heart health.

The study included 15 men aged between 20 and 45 years and they had to practice three different types of diets for 2 weeks at a time. What all diets had in common was the number of calories. However, one of them was high in cheese, the other one was rich in milk fat, and the last one allowed participants to consume butter as the only dairy product in their diet.

The researchers were focused on analyzing the participant’s feces and urine in order to determine what comes as the final result after these products are processed. Those who have followed cheese and milk diets excreted very high levels of short-chain fatty acids molecules (anti-inflammatory acids) and a smaller amount of TMAO molecule, which includes gut microbes. The researchers believe that the increased level of milk and cheese in the diet was able to increase the positive effects of short-chain fatty acids and suppress the negative effects of TMAO.

According to Kevin Bonham, a postdoctoral scholar specializing in microbial communities and blog writer for the Food Matters blog, what makes this study interesting is the relation between short-chain fatty acids and the immune system in general. Although this study didn’t include many participants there is enough evidence to make another more extensive study.

On the other hand, Gokhan Hotamisligil, a scientist who leads the genetics and complex diseases department at the Harvard School of Public health, says that despite the fact that this research was supported by a dairy company, the results only confirm what several other studies before have suggested – there is a link between dairy consumption and better cardiovascular health.

However, not all scientists and experts are sharing this enthusiasm. According to Kim Williams, a notable cardiologist that works at Rush University Medical Center and is a vegan, this study cannot explain the so-called French Paradox. He lived in France for a while and he points out that there are many people in France who are dealing with obesity and people who are overweight. He suggests that people should not focus on the effects of different dairy products, but compare the effects of diets based on plants and diets based on animal products.

Finally, Hotamisligil says that the French Paradox is not solved yet and that it will take time before we have proof about the role of cheese in this so-called paradox. However, it is good to know that there are many scientific studies that claim that drinking wine and eating cheese are actually beneficial.

Via PBS.org

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