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Probiotic Cheese May Keep Immune System Strong as You Age

A recent study found that cheese with added probiotics may help your immune system stay strong as you age by improving levels of good bacteria in your gut.

Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland conducted the study which was published in the May 2010 issue of the journal FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology.

21 male and 10 female volunteers between 72 and 103 years of age were recruited for the study. The participants ate one slice of either a probiotic Gouda cheese or a placebo cheese containing no probiotics with their breakfast for four weeks.

The researchers measured a number of different markers of immune system function and found that the probiotic cheese significantly enhanced immune system function.

The researchers say that these findings may help mature adults tackle the age-related deterioration of the immune system known as immunosenescene. This deterioration can cause infectious diseases, chronic inflammation and cancer.

Probiotics have also been shown to improve digestion, reduce the risk of chronic disease and even help you avoid the flu. These benefits are especially apparent among people over the age of 60 because the level of good bacteria in your gut tends to decrease as you age.

Consuming more yogurt and cultured milk products is one way to increase probiotic levels. You can also try incorporating a quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Make sure the supplement contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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