9 surprising health benefits of cheese

It’s easy to lump in cheese with cake, bread, and other waistline offenders. Not so fast, though: Although some dairy products might pack on pounds, many cheeses are actually good for you in moderation, as part of a balanced diet. (Read: This isn’t permission to eat a wedge of cheese for lunch, with a chaser of cheesecake.) Here are a few tasty morsels of information from nutritionist Karen Ansel, R.D.N., coauthor of Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day; her insights will help you indulge in all the right ways. “Cheese may help you stay slim thanks to a substance called butyrate, found in many cheeses,” says Ansel. Gruyère, blue, and Gouda, Parmesan, and cheddar all have high amounts. “Research suggests that it may help boost metabolism. These cheeses also encourage the bacteria in our gut to make even more butyrate, so it’s a double win.” This news is easy to digest: “One study found that the butyrate in cheese can protect against colon cancer by nourishing the cells of your colon,” says Ansel, “and by reducing that inflammation that can damage the colon over time.” “Protein-packed cheese is a smart snack for building muscle,” Ansel says. Protein is made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. “For the best protein boost, try ricotta cheese,” says Ansel. “It’s one of the single best sources of whey protein, which is especially advantageous for muscle building. And it tastes a lot better than a gritty protein powder.” A strong case for Parmesan and cheddar: “Since it’s made from milk, cheese is packed with calcium to help keep your bones strong,” Ansel says. “Snacking on just one ounce of Parmesan gives you 336 milligrams of calcium, and the same amount of cheddar offers 216 milligrams.” That’s a good portion of the day’s needs: Most adult men require 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Chew on this: “Eating cheese can keep your teeth healthier thanks to calcium and phosphorus,” Ansel says. “These two minerals fight the lactic acid that’s naturally present in our mouths and prevent it from breaking down tooth enamel.” You need that enamel to chew food without damage to the teeth, as well as to prevent cavities and erosion. Go on, upgrade from hamburger to cheeseburger. Those same butyrate-dense cheeses may help protect against type 2 diabetes. “Although research in this area is just starting to emerge, a study in the journal Diabetes found that mice that ate chow containing added butyrate had insulin levels that were 50 percent lower than mice who ate the regular kind. Experts suspect that butyrate may help human bodies use insulin more effectively too, in its managing of blood-sugar levels.”

Fun!  Think I’ll have some cheese now!  To read the rest of this informative article from Adam Hurly over at GQ, click on the text above.   🙂

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