The next time you give up cheese, think again, because it may be exactly what your gut microbes like, Dr. Megan Rossi told the Daily Mail.
Some bacteria from cheese, especially if it's made with raw milk, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, actually populate our gut, the medic said.
A study published in Nature in 2019 found that eating 45 grams of such cheese daily for a week resulted in a marked increase in bifidobacteria, which have antioxidant properties.
These benefits are often overlooked because of the saturated fat and salt content of cheese and the cardiovascular health risks it can pose.
But in fact, the science says otherwise. A review of 13 studies published last year by the University of Denmark found that cheese, unlike fatty milk, protects against cardiovascular disease.
Another 2018 study compared the effects of eating Irish cheddar and butter combined with protein powder and a calcium supplement (to mimic the nutrients, etc., in cheese) - after six weeks, cheese eaters had significantly lower cholesterol levels.
Cheese, of course, is also an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth, as well as for normal heart, muscle and nerve function (especially important for women during and after menopause to prevent osteoporosis).
Maximize health benefits by trying different aged cheeses, each with its own unique profile of microbes and chemicals produced by microbes - so one day it might be Parmigiano Reggiano grated into soup, another day it might be Stilton on a whole-grain cracker with a slice of tomato or Emmental sliced into a salad, Dr. Rossi advises.