banner

hard cheese

For healthier blood vessels, consider having some cheese. A small study from researchers at Pennsylvania State University and two other universities suggests that the antioxidants in cheese may offset the damage caused to blood vessels by sodium consumption.

“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,” says study researcher Lacy Alexander, a professor of kinesiology at Penn State. Interestingly, the connection has been shown even when the cheeses consumed are high in sodium.

The Penn State researchers, led by doctoral student Billie Alba, conducted a randomized, crossover design study to learn more. They found that adults who consumed a high-sodium diet experienced blood vessel dysfunction, but when they had four servings of cheese in conjunction with the same high-sodium diet, the dysfunction did not occur.

For the study, 11 adults without salt-sensitive blood pressure each followed four separate diets for eight days at a time: 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 included 1,500 mg of salt daily, and the high-sodium diets included 5,500 mg a day. The cheese diets included several different kinds of cheese equivalent to about four servings.

Blood pressure function was measured for the group members after each eight-day period. When study participants were on the high-sodium diet without any cheese, their blood vessel function dipped “to what you would typically see in someone with pretty advanced cardiovascular risk factors,” says Alexander. “But when they consumed the same amount of salt and ate cheese as a source of that salt, those effects were completely avoided.”

Although the researchers can’t be certain what produced the beneficial effect, they speculate that antioxidants in cheese are a contributing factor. “Consuming high amounts of sodium causes an increase in molecules that are harmful to blood vessel health and overall heart health,” says Alba. “There is scientific evidence that dairy-based nutrients, specifically peptides generated during the digestion of dairy proteins, have beneficial antioxidant properties, meaning that they have the ability to scavenge these oxidant molecules and thereby protect against their damaging physiological effects.”

The National Dairy Council provided support for the study.

More from IFTNEXT right arrow

Researchers’ analysis could yield hardier watermelons

A group of researchers has conducted a comprehensive genomic analysis of all seven species, leading to the development of a new resource that may enable breeders to cultivate tasty, appealing watermelons that are also more disease-resistant and that can be grown in more varied climates.

Developing more flood-resistant crops

Of the major food crops, only rice is currently able to survive flooding. Thanks to new research, that could soon change—good news for regions of the world where rains are increasing in both frequency and intensity.

Probiotics may reduce incidence of acute respiratory infections

A recent study sponsored by Chr. Hansen has determined that if certain strains of probiotics were administered to the U.S. public, healthcare costs related to respiratory infections would decrease by up to $1.4 billion.

Onions, garlic may help reduce breast cancer risk

In the first population-based study to examine the association between onion and garlic consumption and breast cancer in Puerto Rico, researchers at the University of Buffalo and University of Puerto Rico found that women who consumed sofrito more than once per day had a 67% decrease in risk compared with women who never ate it.

Latest News right arrow

Kroger partners with Infarm to offer in-store living produce farms

The Kroger Co., America’s largest grocery retailer, and Infarm, an urban farming network, have announced a partnership that will bring modular living produce farms to North America.

Simplifying restaurants’ foodservice ware may encourage composting

A new study, conducted by the non-profit Zero Waste organization Eco-Cycle, finds restaurants can play a crucial role in diverting food waste away from U.S. landfills.

Bimbo Bakeries USA commits to 100% sustainable packaging by 2025

Bimbo Bakeries USA has announced that it is committing to 100% sustainable packaging for its entire product portfolio by 2025.

Paraguay approves use of GMO drought, herbicide tolerant soybeans

Verdeca, a joint venture between Arcadia Biosciences and Bioceres Crop Solutions, has successfully completed the regulatory review process and received approval for its HB4 drought and herbicide tolerant soybeans from the Paraguayan Minister of Agriculture, through the National Commission for Agricultural and Forestry Biosafety.

Cornell partners in $10 million poultry science grant

Cornell University is co-leading a $9.95 million, five-year U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant that aims to transform nutrition and water use in the poultry industry in order to improve its environmental impact and enhance human health.