WXTK Better Health Report: Cheese and Heart Disease

I was sitting in a lobby the other day reading a local health newspaper and I spotted an article discussing the evils of cheese and how it should be removed from our diets because it has saturated fat.

This type of advice is outdated and an example of how people who don’t actually have nutrition degrees should refrain from giving out nutritional advice.

Because over the past several years, some very good studies have shown that cheese, specifically aged cheese actually can be cardioprotective. One of the best known studies indicating this is the Rotterdam Study which actually found that the more cheese people ate, the less heart disease they had.

One of the conclusions of this study was that this may help explain the French paradox…the fact that the French have low levels of heart disease despite their high intake of butter and fat.  We know how the French also love their cheese.

Cheese, and especially aged cheese,is fermented and a great source of a form of vitamin K that actually helps protect our arterties. Vitamin K’s role in bone health is well known, as it helps to kind of move calcium along…well, it does the same thing in our arteries too apparently, not allowing calcium to accumulate in our arteries.

Calcification of our arteries is a hallmark of atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

I’ve heard the argument that observational studies like the Rotterdam study aren’t good studies because they aren’t controlled trials. But in the field of nutrition, controlled trials are not the norm, observational studies are. The vast majority of studies about the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are observational and I don’t hear anyone disputing the advantages of that diet, which also includes cheese.

This is Joan Trimble wishing you wellness.

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