Heart disease: Good quality cheese could ‘indirectly protect the heart’ says doctor

Heart disease: Good quality cheese could ‘indirectly protect the heart’ says doctor

06/03/2021

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Dr Rupy Aujla is a firm believer in the power of food as medicine, and speaking exclusively to the Express.co.uk, the GP shares his expertise on the matter of cheese and heart disease. “It doesn’t matter whether your cave-aged, paper-wrapped cheese has been produced from grass-fed cattle in the fresh alpine hills of northern Italy, if you’re eating too much of it, it’s not going to be good for your heart,” he said. In his matter-of-fact way, Dr Rupy stated “it all comes down to how much cheese you’re eating, regardless of the quality”.

The NHS practitioner continued: “That being said, a small amount of good quality cheese may actually do our microbiota some good.”

He explained that microbiota is “the population of bugs located mostly in the large intestines”.

“The probiotic nature of some cheeses can help diversify the population in your gut,” he said.

“And that may help with inflammation control that can indirectly protect your heart.”

The NHS noted that fatty deposits lining the arteries – known as atherosclerosis – is more likely when a person has high cholesterol.

This is mainly caused by eating fatty foods, and the national health body recommends eating less hard cheese.

Examples of hard cheese include:

  • Cheddar
  • Pecorino
  • Parmesan
  • Romano
  • Pepato
  • Parmigiano-reggiano
  • Manchego
  • Grana-padano

Other foods that can contribute to high cholesterol – and aren’t good for your heart health – include:

  • Meat pies
  • Sausages
  • Fatty meat
  • Cream
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil

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Being overweight is also a risk factor for heart disease, and other factors can influence the likelihood of developing the condition.

For example, smoking significantly increases the risk of atherosclerosis.

Other risk factors include: diabetes, high blood pressure, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Why does this matter?

Heart disease matters because it can cut your life short. If blood flow is blocked to the heart, because of too much fatty deposits, a heart attack occurs.

Once you’ve had one heart attack – if you’re lucky enough to still be alive – you’re at a heightened risk of another one, which risks more damage to the heart muscle.

The British Heart Foundation explained that the heart is a muscle about the size of your fist.

Located in the middle of the chest, tilted slightly to the left, it keeps you alive.

The heart pumps blood, full of oxygen and nutrients, to all parts of the body.

Heart disease can lead to heart failure, meaning the beating organ can’t effectively pump blood around the body.

The warning signs of heart failure include:

  • Swollen ankles and legs
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Persistent cough
  • Fast heart rate
  • Dizziness

The condition can’t be cured, and various medications, surgery and lifestyle factors will be needed to keep you alive.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to start living a healthy lifestyle, no matter what stage your health is currently in.

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