Researchers, who published their results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered that the group that ate the high-fat cheese was the only one to see an increase in “good” HDL levels. None of the groups experienced a change in “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
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Other factors such as insulin, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure and waist measurements did not vary significantly between the three study groups.
In addition to the positive cholesterol link, eating high-fat cheese offers other positive benefits. Cheese provides high levels of calcium, protein and vitamin D.
Cheese also offers vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, zinc and phosphorus, and it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fat that researchers think may have anti-cancer and heart-protective properties.
Eating cheese also may be good for your teeth. A 2008 study from Turkey that was published in the journal Caries found that people who ate a one-third ounce serving of cheese after rinsing their mouths with a sugar solution had a decrease in mouth acidity, which decreases the risk of cavities. Other studies have found similar results.
Can eating cheese offer protection against certain cancers? A Swedish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a connection between the daily consumption of at least two ounces of cheese and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in women.
On average, cheese has about 100 calories per ounce and itoften contains high sodium levels, so moderation is the key to eating high-fat cheese and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, the popular Mediterranean diet allows for small to moderate amounts of cheese. Cheese is also part of the heart-heathy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
So, think in terms of a slice of cheese on a sandwich, not a pile of cheese on a taco, and yes – if researchers are right — you can have your cheese and eat it, too.
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