Just in case you need yet another reason to eat cheese, a new study finds that people who eat foods that contain beneficial bacteria, such as yogurt and cheese, are likely to have reduced blood pressure.
Though researchers aren’t completely sure as to how probiotics can reduce blood pressure, it’s possible that the positive bacteria may help improve total and LDL cholesterol levels, or that a community of gut bacteria can regulate horomones that are involved in controlling blood pressure levels. Either way, it’s good news for us cheese lovers! We can add this to our list of other health benefits of eating our favorite food, including better dental health and fewer nutritional gaps.
Generally, dairy products are an efficient medium for probiotics, but cheese is even better. The low acidity and high fat in cheese helps to preserve the microorganisms, as well as delay the stomach’s ability to ward off beneficial microorganisms as they pass through the digestive system.
Look out for raw-milk cheeses since they have the best probiotic action. A study published by NCBI found that cheddar performed exceptionally well as a probiotic, with a higher pH content that can help to sustain the survival of beneficial bacteria. In the study, cheddar proved to be a suitable environment for the bacteria, even after 6 months of aging. In comparison, Gouda, though probiotic, had a significantly different flavor after just 9 weeks of ripening. Other great probiotic cheeses include Gruyere, caciocavallo, and feta, among others. Ask your local cheesemonger which cheese would work best for your taste preferences and diet.
Photo by Molly Sheridan