French Secret for Long Life: Stinky Cheese?

Researchers investigate 'French paradox' of longevity

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 18, 2012 8:55 AM CST | Updated Dec 22, 2012 7:30 AM CST

(Newser) – It's packed with fat and salt—yet a moldy blue cheese could help you live longer, say researchers. Though the French enjoy a diet high in saturated fats, its women share the title of Europe's longest-living, with a life expectancy of 85.3 years. That prompted researchers to investigate the so-called "French paradox," and they found that Roquefort cheese can fight inflammation, preventing cardiovascular disease—and when it ripens, those anti-inflammatory properties grow more powerful, the Telegraph reports.

"Observations indicate that consumption of red wine alone cannot explain the paradox," the researchers write. "We hypothesize that cheese consumption, especially of molded varieties, may contribute to the occurrence of the 'French paradox.'" In fact, the researchers suggest that the anti-inflammatory components of the cheese might be worth extracting for use in cardiovascular drugs or in anti-aging creams. (Another way to live longer: Golf?)

Roquefort cheeses mature in a cellar in Roquefort, southwestern France, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009.
Roquefort cheeses mature in a cellar in Roquefort, southwestern France, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
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