We often think of cheese as that artery-clogging no-no on top of pizza. But a new study suggests cheese might actually be good for your heart -- if you choose low-fat.
Yep. In a study of middle-aged adults, frequent servings of low-fat dairy products appeared to significantly reduce levels of heart-hampering inflammatory compounds.
The researchers measured blood levels of three inflammatory markers: C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. And all three compounds were significantly lower in people who got 11 to 14 servings of low-fat dairy products each week compared with people who got fewer than eight servings. It's good news for your taste buds and your heart, because reducing the number of inflammatory compounds in your body may help protect you from heart disease.
Full-fat versions of dairy products are rich in saturated fat, and that means trouble for both your heart and your waistline. But low-fat and nonfat versions are rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals that have been credited with everything from reducing the risk of high blood pressure to lowering homocysteine -- a protein linked to heart disease. In the recent study, a cup of low-fat milk or yogurt or an ounce of cheese each counted as a serving. And every little serving helped. Eating just one extra serving of low-fat dairy per week resulted in a measurable decrease in inflammation.