Cheese lovers of the world, rejoice! A new study by researchers from China and the Netherlands discovered that cheese may not be as unhealthy as once thought. Far from it's previous reputation as an artery-clogging indulgence right up there with bacon, it turns out that cheese enjoyed in moderation may in fact help lower some of the cardiovascular diseases for which it was long considered a contributor.
Researchers analyzed data from 15 observational studies covering over 200,000 people, 13 of which tracked participants for over 10 years. Those who regularly ate cheese showed a 14% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease and a 10% lower risk for stroke over participants who rarely or never consumed cheese.
Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, spoke with Time and emphasized that the study found only an association between cheese consumption and better cardiovascular health, not a direct link, meaning any number of other contributing factors might be the cause behind the lowered instances of heart disease.
Though no direct link was found, cheese was already known to contain some healthy elements, such as probiotics and conjugated linoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that can raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol, though the study did not analyze different types of cheese for their individual benefits.
The study concluded that about 40 grams per day was the average among those with the lowest risk for heart disease and stroke, a serving about the size of a match book. On average, Americans consume about 42.5 grams per day.
This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day. No one’s saying you should definitely go out and eat 40 grams of cheese a day. But on the upside, a bit of cheese on a cracker doesn’t sound unreasonable.
That's good enough for us! Anyone who has followed the roller coaster relationship science has had with the egg knows that now is the time to enjoy cheese before scientists decide it's bad for us again.