Cheese also has an unsaturated fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid which may affect cholesterol by lowering your bad LDL levels and raising the good HDL levels. What they found is that those who ate cheese on a regular basis also tended to not develop heart disease. In 2015, the population of the United States consumed the equivalent of of cheese per person, with Cheddar and mozzarella being the most popular choices. Like other dairy products, it contains a high amount of saturated fat - which has been recently connected to high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. This means that while the researchers had no proof that the cheese consumption caused the lower levels of heart disease, those who ate cheese regularly were less likely to be the same people who had heart disease.
Dutch and Chinese researchers teamed up to analyze data from 15 prior studies, tracking over 200,000 participants for at least 10 years. This basically means that higher quantities of cheese aren't necessarily better.
The scientists report that these effects were strongest among participants who consumed around 40 grams, or 1.41 ounces, of cheese every day.
"This is not the same as eating a big slice of cheesy pizza every day", says Stewart.
But it's also possible that cheese has beneficial qualities that offset the negative impact of its high saturated fat content, says Stewart.
The findings suggest "a nonlinear inverse association between cheese consumption and cardiovascular disease", or heart disease, the top cause of death around the world, according to the World Health Association.
Cheese contains vitamins A, K and D along with calcium, zinc, magnesium and protein. "There is some evidence that cheese - as a substitute for milk, for example - may actually have a protective effect on the heart".
"Furthermore, there was a somewhat U-shaped association between cheese consumption and overall CVD risk, with the largest risk reduction observed at cheese consumption of approximately 40 g/d (1.5 ounces)". "But on the upside, a bit of cheese on a cracker doesn't sound unreasonable", Stewart said. "It's promising to find that something that actually tastes good-and pairs well with a nice glass of red wine-may offer some protection, as well".