Everything in Moderation

At more or less regular intervals we read reports of this or that food that is lurking in wait to shorten our lives, or make us miserable. Eggs with salmonella, milk, butter and cheese at one time or another have been identified as lethal.

If not immediately then certainly over time to wellbeing and general health. At more or less regular intervals we also get if not actual retractions to the previous warnings or exhortations then news of suddenly discovered benefits of a range of foods and activities.

Not even jogging is immune from this sequence, at one time we were exhorted to run for our lives, mini and half marathons were said to be vital if not compulsory. Men are warned of “runners face” which for ladies is the least of their concerns; especially if a suitably supportive sports bra is not employed.

So it’s with some glee that I read extensive reports of good news concerning cheese. Cheddar cheese is one of the world’s most popular cheeses. Cheddar and all other cheeses have been maligned it would appear.

Traduced by the food police represented by the UK’s very own Scientific Advisory Committee’s review on Nutrition published in the late summer. This review recommended that  foods high in saturated fat [such as cheese naturally] should be eaten sparingly. Meanwhile the British Heart Foundation who really ought to have a view has questioned the guidelines. Indeed the controversy is only likely to grow as other experts launch their own commentaries on the subject of food and its benefits.

Cheese, it is now scientifically proven, helps to neutralise plaque acids that flood the mouth and erodes teeth after eating and especially after eating anything sweet. Which goes a long way to explain why I and all my ancestors prefer a cheese board to properly finish a feast. Particularly cheddar cheese, strangely that’s one of my favourites.

Scientifically speaking cheese is alkaline and so neutralises acids. Other benefits identified for cheese are actually specific to a particular cheese. I never knew that cheese can help you sleep.

Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese help you to sleep by aiding the production of sleep hormones such as serotonin in our brains. Going to the gym or exercising; then feta is the cheese for you.

To aide your recovery from all that sweaty exertion feta cheese provides easily digestible protein and salt as well as zinc which scientists say is essential in your efforts to boost muscles and strength. Pick your cheese and there will be benefits that you may never have considered when consuming it.

Of course one can always over do a good thing though a Mozzarella with just 238 calories per 100g is much lower in salt than most cheeses and has beneficial bacteria which are associated with gut health and improving the immune system.

Besides which tomato and mozzarella with a light olive oil and balsamic dressing is my idea of a truly delicious lunch perfected only by adding some really crusty bread. Of course a great-grandmother I know knew all this without being able to scientifically prove it. Wisely she just remarked “everything in moderation.”

Nick Horne, London, England


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