An analysis of multiple studies found some surprising links between cardiovascular disease and cheese consumption.
Credit: Photo: Greg Dupree

If you weren't already a fan of snack dinner, this just might make you one: A team of researchers have been looking at the long-term effects of eating cheese, and discovered that eating it regularly (in small amounts) it could actually help prevent heart disease.

The metastudy, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, analyzed 15 long-term health studies, tracking the diet and lifestyle of more than 200,000 people. Participants who had consumed a small portion of cheese daily were 10 percent less likely to have a stroke and 14 percent less likely to develop heart disease.

It's important to note the amount was not terribly large. As The Independent explained, the daily serving was roughly the size of a matchbox.

And while the team did find a correlation between cheese consumption and heart disease, it's not clear whether eating the cheese actually causes the reduction in risks. It could be, for instance, that healthy eaters are disposed a small daily serving of cheese.

Cheese also plays an increased role in the diets of vegetarians or those with have dietary restrictions, which could be another explanation for the intriguing results.

Either way, as with other foods, the old saying still appears to hold true: Moderation is key. Whether you choose to eat some cheese every day to help keep your heart healthy, or because it's delicious, a little goes a long way.