Cheese lovers, rejoice. Antioxidants naturally found in cheese may help protect blood vessels from damage from high levels of salt in the diet, according to a new Penn State study. In a randomized, crossover design study, the researchers found that when adults consumed a high sodium diet, they also experienced blood vessel dysfunction. But, when the same adults consumed four servings of cheese a day alongside the same high sodium diet, they did not experience this effect. It’s a good day to celebrate – with cheese of course.
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Cheese hard for cheese
Billie Alba, who led the study while finishing her Ph.D. at Penn State, said the findings may help people balance food that tastes good with minimizing the risks that come with eating too much salt. In her study, she revealed that incorporating more dairy products, like cheese, could be an alternative strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve vessel health without necessarily reducing total sodium.
Backed by the AHA
While sodium is a mineral that is vital to the human body in small doses, the researchers said too much dietary sodium is associated with cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, with the ideal amount being closer to 1,500 mg for most adults.
Everything cheese and more
According to Lacy Alexander, professor of kinesiology at Penn State and another researcher on the study, previous research has shown a connection between dairy products, even the cheeses that are high in sodium, and improved heart health measures. In addition, multiple studies have shown that people who consume the recommended number of dairy servings each day typically have lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health in general as well.