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Heart-healthy Yak Cheese

Date:
March 18, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In a finding likely to get cheese lovers talking, researchers in Nepal and Canada report that yak cheese contains higher levels of heart-healthy fats than cheese from dairy cattle, and may be healthier. Producers make the cheese from the milk of yaks. Those long-haired humped animals are fixtures in Tibet and throughout the Himalayan region of south central Asia, Mongolia, and a few other countries.
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Researchers report that cheese from yaks could be healthier than cheese from dairy cattle. When compared to cheddar cheese, yak cheese contained higher levels of several healthful fatty acids.
Credit: Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In a finding likely to get cheese lovers talking, researchers in Nepal and Canada report that yak cheese contains higher levels of heart-healthy fats than cheese from dairy cattle, and may be healthier.

Producers make the cheese from the milk of yaks. Those long-haired humped animals are fixtures in Tibet and throughout the Himalayan region of south central Asia, Mongolia, and a few other countries.

Yak cheese has only recently become available in the United States and is available in select gourmet food stores. Studies by others have shown that certain types of dairy-derived fatty acids, particularly conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), may help fight heart disease, cancer and even diabetes. However, little was know about the fatty acid composition of yak cheese.

In the new study, Brian W. McBride and colleagues compared the fatty acid composition of yak cheese from Nepal with that of cheddar cheese obtained from Canada. They found that levels of CLAs were four times higher in the yak cheese than the dairy cow cheese. Levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy for the heart, were also significantly higher in the yak cheese, the researchers say.

Journal reference:  "Fatty Acid Composition of yak (Bos grunniens) Cheese Including Conjugated Linoleic Acid and trans-18:1 Fatty Acids" Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 12, 2008 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf0725225)


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American Chemical Society. "Heart-healthy Yak Cheese." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317093858.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, March 18). Heart-healthy Yak Cheese. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317093858.htm
American Chemical Society. "Heart-healthy Yak Cheese." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317093858.htm (accessed May 28, 2015).

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