Why Cheese Is Good For Your Heart

Grab the Gouda and reach for the Roquefort

There's now an even better reason to help the U.S. eat its way through the great American cheese surplus.  

Researchers at Penn State University have found that the dairy in cheese can have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. Though they've yet to discover what exactly makes cheese beneficial in this way, early evidence points to milk proteins and dairy fat that help increase blood flow in the body. The study involved participants who ate servings of cheese, pretzels and soy cheese, all with the same amounts of sodium. Afterward, their blood pressures were measured, and the people who ate the real cheese had better blood pressure than the soy cheese and pretzel eaters. The researchers' conclusion? Dairy can cancel out the high sodium found in many cheeses.

A separate study in Italy has also confirmed the health benefits of eating cheese. The compound spermidine found in aged varieties like Parmesan was shown to lower the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular disease.

The teams behind both studies are still investigating the long-term benefits of eating cheese, but in the meantime, you can add this to your list of things to be grateful for this season.