If I had one wish in life, it would be to have a relationship in my life that is as loving and fulfilling as my relationship with cheese. The doctors say I'm lactose intolerant, but I think that every enduring love story has to have its obstacles. In Titanic, Rose was engaged to another man before Jack swooped in to sweep her off her feet, and I think I'd be a lot happier if I could paint cheese like one of my French girls.
Whether it's in a sandwich, generously slathered over a pizza or eaten as-is with little but a blanket and cheese knife to keep you company, cheese has a lot of benefits for your health; it's rich in calcium as you might know, but it's also got a lot of zinc and protein as well as the always useful vitamin B-12.
Long story short: cheese makes my heart soar. But a new study has indicated that cheese might actually be just as good for my heart in the physical sense as it is in the emotional sense.
Some of the more health-conscious among you might note that idea goes against everything we know about cheese (and dairy in general), and may even be migrating to the comments to tell me as much at this very moment in time. Usually, we associate the risk of heart disease with saturated fat, and cheese is one of the biggest sources of that.
However in recent times, some cardiologists have disputed the long-assumed link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease, and this study goes as far as saying that a good bit of gorgonzola or gouda will actually improve your heart health. Lacy Alexander, W. Larry Kenney alongside other researchers at Penn State University were the scientists behind this discovery.
Their findings were based off an experiment wherein participants between the ages of 55 and 60 would eat servings of cheese, pretzels or soy cheese, all of which had equal amounts of sodium in them (to rule out sodium as a factor in the results). After the test subjects had finished with their servings, their blood pressure was measured, and the cheese eaters were found to have better blood pressure than both the pretzel and soy cheese eaters.
So how did that happen? The researchers concluded that the dairy you can find in cheese was especially good at neutralizing the blood pressure effects that sodium brings. Lacy Alexander said about as much: "the dairy in the cheese canceled the sodium in it."
These findings were corroborated by a separate study in Italy, where they found that aged varieties of cheese like parmesan were found to reduce the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular disease, thanks to a nifty little compound called spermidine.
It all sounds good, folks, but maybe you should refrain from constructing a statue of Jesus out of Swiss cheese, and chowing down on the whole thing in the name of health just yet. Both studies looked at only the short-term benefits of eating cheese, and as such, the jury's still out on whether eating the Hole-y Cheese-us in one sitting is good or bad for your health in the long term.
Still, when you get home today and have some cheddar with a glass of wine, you'll be able to do so in the knowledge that you're making yourself that little bit healthier. That'll make it taste even better.