Good news for cheese lovers: that block of dairy delightfulness could help you live longer.
That’s according to a new study which found that spermidine, which is found in blue cheese (among other things), can boost heart health and therefore help you live longer.
However before you get all excited and start eating the stuff religiously, take note that the benefits of spermidine should be weighed up against the high fat content of cheese.
The key here is eating it “in moderation”.
The study of mice and rats, published in the journal Nature, found that those who were fed spermidine experienced better heart health and generally lived longer too.
Spermidine – which is also found in soy beans, chicken liver, green peas, corn and shell fish – was first discovered in semen samples, hence the name.
In humans, high levels of dietary spermidine was also associated with reduced blood pressure and fewer incidences of heart disease, according to the study.
“Our results suggest a new and feasible strategy for protection against cardiovascular disease,” the study’s authors wrote, before adding that larger studies are needed before any real conclusions can be made.
While it’s all looking very positive on the cheese front, that’s not to say you should go and devour a block of stilton off the back of it.
Nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed told The Huffington Post UK: “Cheese can certainly be consumed as part of a balanced diet. But as with everything when it comes to nutrition, most foods need to be consumed in moderation.
“Cheese does contain calcium, zinc and other important nutrients, but it’s also high in fat and calories and so if you’re looking after your weight, you might not want to go too over the top with your cheese intake.
“A portion is recommended to be around 30 grams of cheese. However, if sometimes you have more than this, of course that’s not a problem, as long as you’re not regularly having a lot more than the recommended amount.”
She added: “A way to make cheese go that little further is to buy the extra mature, which often has a stronger taste and also you could try grating it to make it go further in sandwiches and on pasta for example.”