Pass the Cheese, Please: New Study Finds Eating Aged Fromage Can Extend Your Life


If you throw a fancy dinner party, you’ll probably end up using the four main types of tableware, which include serveware, dinnerware, flatware, and drinkware. But when you host your fancy soiree, you shouldn’t forget to include a cheese plate as an appetizer or after dessert. According to a new study, sampling aged cheeses could extend your life and can even prevent liver cancer.

Researchers from Texas A&M found that a compound called spermidine can be found in aged cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and brie. This compound keeps damaged cells in the liver from reproducing, so it can prevent or slow liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer).

When researchers studied the effect of spermidine treatment in mice for the entirety of their lives, they found their life expectancy actually increased by 25%. As yet, the effect on humans has not been tested. But if found to have a similar impact, it could increase our average life expectancy from its current rate of 81 up to 100 — that is, if you started a diet rich in these products from birth.

In addition to cheeses like gouda and Swiss, foods like mushrooms, legumes, soy, and whole grains could provide some of the same benefits, according to the study’s researchers.

Leyuan Liu, assistant professor at Texas A&M, noted, “Severely cutting the number of calories consumed [and] restricting the amount of methionine [an amino acid found in meats and other proteins] in the diet … have been shown to truly prolong the lifespan of vertebrates. But eating less and not eating meat will not be welcomed by the general population … therefore, spermidine may be a better approach.”

And while it isn’t crystal clear whether humans will enjoy some of the same health benefits as the mice in the study, for now, you at least have a good excuse to dig into that chunk of brie.

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