Study: Cheese doesn’t have health risks, wine helps brain


Go ahead — have some cheese with your wine tonight. It turns out that cheese may not be so bad for your health after all.

A recent study challenges some of the health concerns around cheese and dairy: Mainly that they are fatty and lead to potential heart attacks or strokes. The researchers, using previous studies and data found on these dairy products, found cheese doesn’t increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is important to note, however, that the study was funded in part by three dairy organizations, which obviously have a vested interest in positive results. The Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and the Dairy Australia (even though the paper says they had no role in study design or data collection and analysis).

And red wine, in moderation, can help your heart and your brain, according to a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition. Contrary to previous findings, such as one Swedish report from 2014, cheese, as well as other dairy products like milk and yogurt, may not be more dangerous to your health. The recent findings published in the European Journal of Epidemiology suggest there is no increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes as they sometimes have been said to do, according to another paper.

The wine study looked at wine residue passed through the gut and found that those metabolites are preventing cells from dying because of stress conditions that normally affect neurodegenerative disorders. The research showed different foods have various benefits along the digestive path, and wine, in this case, stops dying cells, and therefore delay potential neurodegenerative diseases.

Overdoing alcohol or cheese consumption isn’t healthy, not least because of their calories, and not all people — or wine and cheese products — are equal, said Ashley Koff, a Washington, D.C.-based dietitian. “Better quality cheese is like an accessory,” she said. “It may make the outfit but it shouldn’t be the staple.” Wine and cheese may also not be dangerous alone, but could exacerbate other health conditions you have, even a cold.

Koff tells her clients, and herself, to go for the “better, not perfect” choice when it comes to the calories we consume, such as choosing a glass of wine during dinner instead of shuffling through the pantry late at night looking for a snack. Always consider your own health, instead of simply going with whatever you hear is good for you and find ways for your favorite items — perhaps cheese or wine — to fit into your diet.