Cheese for Your Heart?

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.

Say Cheese
The researchers measured blood levels of three inflammatory markers: C-reactive protein (CRP), 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 8 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.



Do More Dairy
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.

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