Researchers from China and the Netherlands analyzed data gathered from 15 previous studies where numerous participants were tracked for at least 10 years.
They discovered that eating a small amount of cheese each day lessens a person's chances of developing a coronary heart disease by 14 percent, or reduces their chances of having a stroke by 10 percent.
The researchers' findings were "certainly different from what people might expect", says Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis.
Experts, however, warn that this is not linear - in short, the study does not mean that people should start consuming blocks of cheese to prevent heart disease. The people who had the lowest risks for heart disease and stroke were those who consumed, on average, about 40 grams a day-about the size of a matchbook.
While low-fat dairy products are considered more favorable than high-fat dairy products by federal nutrition guidelines, the meta-analysis found limited evidence that high-fat dairy could increase the risk of CVD, CHD, or stroke compared to low-fat dairy.
While cheese has gotten a bad rap, it has important nutrients including protein, calcium and probiotics, said the study.
In fact, researchers cited a recent randomized controlled trial of 153 participants that ate high-fat cheese regularly for eight weeks did not increase their total cholesterol or LDL-C levels, but reduced triglycerides among subjects. It could be that people who eat cheese on a daily basis are healthier overall, or have more disposable income and higher socioeconomic statuses. But the benefits outweigh the bad when it comes to cheese. Even still, this is good news for cheese lovers out there.