Although dairy produce such as cheese also contains sodium, it actually has a protective effect, say researchers from Penn State University.
The phenomenon could explain why people who eat more dairy have lower blood pressure, says Lacy Alexander, one of the researchers.
They reckon that the proteins and nutrients in cheese could protect the blood vessels from any negative short-term effects of sodium that’s in other foods or added to our food as table salt.
They tested the cardiovascular health of a group of volunteers after they had eaten dairy cheese, pretzels or soy cheese on five occasions three days apart.
They discovered that the volunteers’ blood flow improved after they had eaten the cheese, an effect they didn’t see when they ate the pretzels and soy cheese, which also contain sodium. The sodium in the three products was about the same.
The one thing the researchers aren’t sure about is the length of time the beneficial effects last after eating the cheese.