Those who ate small amounts of cheese daily showed a 14 per cent less chance of developing heart disease, while stroke risk was slashed by 10 per cent. On the contrary, people in the study who took advantage of cheese benefits by eating a little each day were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke, when compared to those who rarely eat cheese. Importantly, they are observational, so they do not prove a causal association between cheese intake and better cardiovascular health.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the data regarding cheese consumption was self-reported, and people are notorious for over or under-estimating the amount of food they've eaten. That means there could be other reasons why cheese lovers have lower risks for stroke and heart disease.
"This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day", Dr. Allen Stewart of Mount Sinai Medical Center's Ichan School of Medicine clarified. In 2015, the population of the United States consumed the equivalent of of cheese per person, with Cheddar and mozzarella being the most popular choices.
The findings after this research review were definitely different than expected. It could be that people who eat cheese on a daily basis are healthier overall, or have more disposable income and higher socioeconomic statuses. Still, the fact that cheese benefits exist that may outweigh the negatives of saturated fat is encouraging.
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Cheese contains vitamins A, K and D along with calcium, zinc, magnesium and protein.
"If you [eat] too much cheese, of course cheese contains a lot of sodium, not just fat", she said.
"There is some evidence that cheese-as a substitute for milk, for example-may actually have a protective effect on the heart", says Stewart.
So even though the news that cheese consumption might actually be positive or beneficial is exciting, it's not a reason to stock the fridge full of your favorite bries and mozzarella.