Cheers to cheese. Is this delicious favourite the secret to ageing well?

There seem to be a lot of ‘take your medicine’ attitudes about ageing. 

It’s all about being disciplined, switching your habits around and radical change to extend your life.

But what if improving the ageing process was as simple as eating one of our favourite foods? Well, cheese lovers rejoice, new research has found eating cheese plays a part in happy, healthy ageing. 

And it’s not just a few people getting together and saying how much they like cheese. The study involved 2.3 million subjects and was initially aimed at mental well-being and ageing and socioeconomic status, but also found a strong connection to cheese consumption improving ageing. Yay! 

The link was an unexpected finding in a study conducted by a team lead by Tian-Ge Wang out of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine. 

Socioeconomic surprise

The study was originally designed to examine if socioeconomic factors played a part in better ageing.

“To inform meaningful health policies, we need fine-grained causal evidence on which dimensions of socio-economic status affect longevity and the mediating roles of modifiable factors such as lifestyle and disease,” the abstract noted.

The study looked at eight data sets of European origin and was designed to extract data for mental health markers, physical ageing and stress resilience to see if there was a connection between higher socioeconomic status, good ageing and mental health

According to NewAtlas the team looked at mental well-being and the five common traits of robust ageing – resilience, self-rated health, healthspan, parental lifespan and longevity. These results were adjusted to account for socio-economic factors.

The study found that while a higher socioeconomic status helped with ageing, it did not determine better ageing. However, another tremendous influence on ageing better was mental health, regardless of your economic status.  

That’s oversimplifying it a bit, but the actual words used were terms such as Mendelian randomization and genetically independent phenotype and that would take a whole separate story to get through. 

But back to the cheese. While it’s welcoming news that you don’t have to be rich and well-educated to enjoy your sunset years, in a deep dive on the figures, the study also found that a higher intake of cheese, and fruit, was a standout contributor to those who had high well-being scores. 

Cheese has a positive impact on healthy ageing factors, but before you get too excited and tuck into a cheese platter as part of a plan to live to 100, it was only estimated to exert a bit under 4 per cent influence. Fruit was just under 2 per cent. 

Negative influences

The study also identified several factors that had a negative influence on ageing well. They were watching too much television, smoking, heart failure, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA), stroke, and heart disease. 

So what’s the best cheese for your heart? According to Body and Soul, it’s mozzarella. It’s a good source of protein, calcium and probiotics and lower in saturated fat and salts than other cheeses. 

And cheese may also be good for us because it makes us feel better because we enjoy it. A study found some foods triggered the brain into releasing the happy hormone dopamine, leading to feelings of pleasure, and one of those was cheese.  

What’s your favourite cheese? Why not share your preference in the comments section below?

Also read: It’s all about the cheese: How to enjoy this universal favourite

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


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