Ah, cheese. It’s the center of so many delicious meals; it spices up a salad and tastes amazing over noodles. Even slapping it between two slices of toasted bread somehow yields a mouthwatering meal. For years, though, people have been told that indulging in cheese would lead to weight gain, heart disease, and an all-around unhealthier body. However, recent studies have shown that cheese actually isn’t the dangerous snack we once thought. In fact, there are several reasons not to give up one of life’s greatest foodie joys.
Cheese helps build strong bones and teeth
Cheese is filled with calcium; one ounce of cheddar cheese will give you 20% of your daily recommended amount. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong to prevent diseases like osteoporosis. Beyond that, calcium has also been shown to aid in weight loss and prevent certain types of cancer. If you’re looking to ramp up your calcium intake, eat feta cheese; one half-cup of crumbled feta has a whopping 37% if your daily recommended value.
Cheese can actually make you slimmer
Yes, calcium does aid in weight loss, but there’s more: Butyrate. According to a Danish study, this anti-inflammatory compound has actually been shown to reduce obesity by boosting the metabolism and lowering cholesterol absorption. The study found that those who consumed a diet high in cheese (as opposed to the other sample, who consumed a diet high in butter), had a different composition of gut bacteria thanks to the butyrate. If you want to get the most of these benefits, blue cheese should be your cheese of choice.
Cheese has dual factors that could prevent colon cancer
As if butyrate’s ability to aid in weight loss wasn’t enough, this compound has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. One study that analyzed butyrate’s effects on the colon found that those who consumed more of the compound had a lower risk of developing the cancer. Plus, calcium can also lower one’s colon cancer risk, making cheese a double whammy for protecting your colon.
Evidence shows cheese helps prevent type 2 diabetes
In 2012, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released a study that found those who consume foods higher in fat, such as cheese, could be 12% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with those who don’t. Researchers said the lower risk comes from cheese’s fermentation process, which explains why consuming things like milk and butter wouldn’t reduce one’s risk. Next time you’re craving a cheesy snack, don’t hesitate to indulge—it just might save your life.
Be mindful of moderation
Cheese’s health benefits are not a reason to stuff your face with as much Kraft macaroni and cheese as your heart desires (although it’s hard to deny Kraft’s deliciousness). The key to getting these benefits is to eat cheese in moderation. It still has fat and sodium, so it’s not something that should be consumed with every meal. However, treating yourself to some cheddar cheese and grapes or adding extra feta to your Greek salad is something you can celebrate rather than feel guilty about. Avoid eating processed cheese, and stick to a serving size each time.
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