Despite a high fat, high salt diet, French women have the longest life spans in Europe – a full three years beyond their British counterparts. The consumption of red wine, with its powerful anti-oxidant properties, has long been hailed as one of the main causes behind this “French paradox”. But now a team of of doctors from Cambridge-based biotech company Lyotec has claimed that mouldy blue cheeses may be an equally important factor.
The team has developed a new technology which identifies anti-inflammatory factors, and recently published the results of their work in the Medical Hypotheses journal under the headline “Could cheese be the missing piece in the French paradox puzzle?”
“The anti-inflammatory factors found in these cheeses could be extracted and used independently or as a part of today’s pharmaceutical or beauty products,” they wrote.
“Observations indicate that consumption of red wine alone cannot explain the paradox and perhaps some other constituents of the typical French diet could be responsible for reduced cardiovascular mortality.
“We hypothesise that cheese consumption, especially of moulded varieties, may contribute to the occurrence of the ‘French paradox’.”
Roquefort, a popular French blue cheese, was singled out by the authors as particularly beneficial to cardiovascular health. Its anti-inflammatory properties could reduce arterial blockages and may even help reduce inflammation from arthritis. The team even suggested that extracts from the cheese could be used in anti-ageing skin creams.