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How to live longer: Cheese in moderation lowers heart disease risk to boost longevity
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When one thinks of healthy eating, tucking into your favourite cheese board doesn’t really come to mind. However, scientists have found that aged cheeses including cheddar, brie and Parmesan could help boost life expectancy and even ward off liver cancer.
Researchers from Texas A&M University discovered these three cheeses contain a chemical called spermidine which helps to prevent damaged liver cells from replicating.
This means that cheddar, brie and Parmesan could potentially help to prevent diseases such as liver fibrosis, a condition where scar tissue accumulates and damages the organ often in the case with liver cancer.
In the study, the effect of cheese supplements on mice was investigated.
The team found the mice’s life expectancy increased by a whopping 25 percent when they were given the supplement.
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With these impressive results, scientists decided to then survey 800 Italians about their diets.
Those who reported a higher intake of spermidine were found to have lower blood pressure, a 40 percent lower risk of heart failure, and a reduced risk for other cardiovascular diseases.
Spermidine is also found in peas, corn, soybeans, and whole grains, which are healthier options.
The scientists did also note the importance of eating cheese in moderation, however.
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Research looked into the effects of conjugated linoleic acid as a potential health benefit.
The study noted: “Conjugated linoleic acid (fatty acids found in cheese) has drawn significant attention since the 1980s for its various biological activities.
“CLA has been shown to prevent the development of atherosclerosis, reduce body fat while improving lean body mass, and modulate immune and/or inflammatory responses.
“This review summarizes the clinical trials involving CLA since 2012; additional uses of CLA for age-associated health issues are discussed; and CLA’s potential health concerns, including glucose homeostasis, oxidative stress, hepatic steatosis, and milk-fat depression, are examined.”
In another study carried out at the University College Dublin, the effects of cheese on cholesterol levels were analysed.
The researchers set out to examine the impact of dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream and butter and how this affects both body fat and health.
According to the study, people who eat a lot of cheese do not have higher cholesterol levels than those who don’t.
Currently, health guidelines warn that consuming foods high in saturated fats like cheese increases a person’s risk of developing high blood cholesterol, a main risk factor in heart disease and strokes.
However, this would not be the case with a person’s risk of serious diseases and cholesterol is not increased by consuming cheese.
A daily portion the size of a small matchbox has been shown to reduce the chances of heart disease by 14 percent.
Experts at the Soochow University in China noted the vitamins, minerals and proteins found in cheese can help protect against cardiovascular disease.
It may also contain high levels of calcium, which means although it is high in fat, less of that fat is absorbed by the body.
As part of their study, volunteers eating around one-and-a-half ounces (40g) a day saw the greatest reduction in risk to their health.