Cheese consumption protects the blood vessels from damage caused by excessive salt consumption

Cheese consumption protects the blood vessels from damage caused by excessive salt consumption

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Eating cheese can compensate for damage to blood vessels from salt consumption

Cheese lovers can look forward to. According to a study by the Pennsylvania State University, antioxidants that are naturally contained in cheese can help protect blood vessels from damage caused by high salt levels in the diet.

Consuming cheese can apparently compensate for damage to the blood vessels through salt. As the Pennsylvania State (PennState) University writes in a statement, university researchers found that blood vessel dysfunction also occurred in adults who were high in sodium. However, when the same adults consumed four servings of cheese a day, this effect was not observed.

Improve the health of the vessels

Billie Alba, who led the study during her PhD at Penn State University, said the results could help people eat tasty foods while reducing the risk of eating too much salt. "There is a lot of pressure to reduce sodium from food, but it is difficult for many people," said Alba. "It could be an alternative strategy to include more dairy products like cheese in your diet to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve vascular health without reducing all sodium."

Improve heart health

While sodium is a mineral that is vital for the human body in small doses, researchers believe that too much sodium from food is associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, with the ideal amount for most adults being around 1,500 mg.

According to Penn State's Lacy Alexander, previous research has shown a link between eating dairy products - even high-sodium cheese - and improving heart health. "Studies have shown that people who consume the recommended number of milk servings per day usually have lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health in general," said Alexander. "We wanted to examine these relationships more closely and examine some of the exact mechanisms by which cheese, a dairy product, can affect heart health."

Four different diets

For the study, the researchers recruited eleven adults who each followed four different diets for eight days: a low-sodium diet without dairy products; a low sodium diet with a high cheese content; a high-sodium, dairy-free diet; and a high sodium and cheese diet. Participants in the low-sodium diet consumed 1,500 mg of salt per day, while the high-sodium diet contained 5,500 mg of salt per day. The cheese diets were 170 grams, or about four servings of different cheeses a day. At the end of each week's diet, the subjects returned to the laboratory for testing.

The researchers stuck tiny fibers under the participants' skin and applied a small amount of the drug acetylcholine, a compound that signals the blood vessels to relax. By examining how each subject's blood vessels reacted to the drug, the scientists were able to measure the function of the blood vessels. Participants also underwent a blood pressure measurement and provided a urine sample to ensure that they had consumed the correct amount of salt throughout the week.

Antioxidants contribute to the positive effect

It was found that the test subjects' blood vessels did not respond as well to the acetylcholine after a week on the sodium-rich diet without cheese. However, this was not observed after the high sodium and cheese diet. "While the participants were on the high-sodium diet without cheese, we saw that their blood vessel function dropped to what is normally seen in people with fairly advanced cardiovascular risk factors," said Alexander. "But when they consumed the same amount of salt and cheese was one of the salt sources, these effects were completely avoided."

According to Alba, the researchers are not certain that the effects are caused by a specific nutrient in cheese, but the data suggest that antioxidants in cheese can be a contributing factor. "Consuming large amounts of sodium leads to an increase in the number of molecules that damage blood vessel health and general cardiac health," said Alba.

“There is scientific evidence that milk-based nutrients, especially peptides that are formed during the digestion of milk proteins, have beneficial antioxidant properties, which means that they can trap these oxidant molecules and thus protect them from their harmful physiological effects.” The scientist According to him, it will be important in the future to study these effects in larger studies and to investigate possible mechanisms by which dairy products can maintain vascular health. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Pennsylvania State University: Eating cheese may offset blood vessel damage from salt, (access: 21.09.2019), Pennsylvania State University

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  1. Kyran

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