A new study recently released shows findings that Grana Padano PDO cheese can aid in the fight against chronic blood pressure conditions like hypertension, according to researchers from the Hypertension Unit of Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital and Catholic University in Piacenza, Italy. The report shares that a dietary integration of this popular Italian cheese may be helpful to control blood pressure levels.
“The effects are similar to what you would expect with antihypertensive medications,” said the study’s lead author, Giuseppe Crippa, M.D., of Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital and Catholic University. “Adding a little Grana Padano to a healthy diet may provide clinically significant blood pressure lowering benefits.”
The study examines the effects of the consumption of Grana Padano PDO, demonstrating how it can help lower blood pressure due to the peptides (chains of amino acids) present in the cheese, which provide similar blood vessel relaxation effects as blood pressure prescription drugs.
In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, participants were provided with either an ounce per day of Grana Padano PDO 12 month aged cheese or a placebo for two months. Blood pressure was monitored via health professionals in an in-office setting, and with automatic blood pressure monitors throughout the entire study. The results showed between a 7-8 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 5-7 mmHg drop in diastolic blood pressure, depending on in-office monitoring versus automated monitoring systems. No changes were seen in body mass index (BMI), blood lipids or blood sugar levels.
Cistercian monks first created Grana Padano approximately 1,000 years ago, as a way for the dairy farmers of northern Italy to preserve excess milk. By the 15th century, Grana Padano was one of the most popular cheeses in Italy. Today with almost 1,600 million wheels exported it’s one of most consumed PDO cheeses worldwide. “Grana” comes from Latin for “grain” due to its granular texture and “Padano” indicates it is “of the Po River.” A pale yellow cheese with a bright, nutty flavor, Grana Padano is made with partially-skimmed milk from Italian Holstein-Friesian cows, and comes in three ages: 9 to 16 months, over 16 months and Riserva, from 20 months to 24 and over.