Most clinical studies have shown that full-fat natural cheese, a highly fermented product, significantly lowers LDL-C compared with butter intake of equal total fat and saturated fat content. A limited number of prospective studies found no significant association between the intake of total full-fat dairy products and the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, as previously noted. Here Virgilio Marin, NaturalNews.com, reflects on natural antioxidants in cheese protecting blood vessels from damage caused by high-salt diets:
“A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that incorporating dairy cheese into a high-sodium diet helps preserve blood vessel function. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Ohio State University found that the natural antioxidants in cheese play a protective role against oxidative stress, which can damage the blood vessels.
While small doses of sodium are essential to the body, eating too much dietary sodium is associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, which is equal to one teaspoon of salt. However, Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium a day, according to data from the Food and Drug Administration.
“Possibly being able to incorporate more dairy products, like cheese, could be an alternative strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve vessel health without necessarily reducing total sodium,” said first author Billie Alba.
Antioxidants in cheese protect blood vessels
Although cheese is high in sodium, prior research has already found that dairy foods can improve vascular health. In the study, the researchers examined the effects of cheese on the blood vessels among 11 adults without salt-sensitive blood pressure. The participants were required to follow each of the four diets for a period of eight days each: a low-sodium, no-dairy diet; a low-sodium, high-cheese diet; a high-sodium, no-dairy diet; and a high-sodium, high-cheese diet.
The low sodium diets entailed consuming 1,500 mg of salt a day while the high sodium diets entailed consuming 5,500 mg of salt. The cheese diets included about four servings of various types of cheese a day. The participants also went through blood pressure monitoring and provided a urine sample to ensure that they were following the prescribed diets.
At the end of each eight-day period, the researchers examined the participants by injecting a small amount of the drug acetylcholine, a compound that signals blood vessels to relax. By looking at how blood vessels reacted to the drug, the team was able to measure blood vessel function.”
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