Diet Nutrition

Cheese is actually quite good for you

If you needed some good news today, eating cheese has a positive effect on your health. Rejoice.

By Alex Blackwood

Other than improving your sandwich, your pizza, your day or anything else you might choose to add cheese to, it turns out that cheese can have a positive effect on your health.

According to an article by the European Journal of Nutrition that looked at 15 studies, a daily dose of cheese can reduce your risk of stroke by 10 per cent and your risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 per cent.

The high calcium levels in cheese work to counteract any negative effects of the saturated fats that are also in cheese. That calcium is important because it helps with regulating blood pressure, improving the health of bones and teeth, blood-clotting and the healing of any wounds. So your favourite dairy's nutritional value is better than people think - and you can tell them that if they happen to remark on your love of it.

The only bad news is that the study suggests that the benefits of cheese are best reaped when you consume just 40 grams a day. That is about a mouthful. Put your platters away and grate very, very finely.

If that grain of salt has your cheese party plans on hold, it might please you to hear that a separate study confirmed our suspicions that a single daily serving of wine lowers your risk of depression by a huge 32 per cent.

Or, as the Ministry of Health notes, there are four food groups. You can keep your platters on the healthy by including elements from all of them - a little artichoke, a couple pickles or a quince jam perhaps.

The Ministry of Health also recommends that you choose foods with lower saturated fats. And on that point, not all cheeses are created equal - so you can opt for a healthier option by choosing cheeses that are lower in saturated fats.

Within the cheese kingdom, feta and ricotta are the lowest in fats, while crowd pleasing creamy cheeses like camembert and brie are, we regret to inform you, the highest.

So have your cheese and wine party - just keep your portions mouse-sized if you are one of the brave souls who eats cheese or drinks wine for their health benefits.