Take two pieces of cheese and call me in the morning.
Cheese has components that help alleviate stress. The casein in cheese is a precursor to opioid peptides, which along with helping to moderate our appetites (think: weight loss) can also ameliorate stress and pain. The amino acid Tyrosine (a lot of it in cheese, like those little crystals in your aged Gouda or Gruyère) is a precursor to norepinephrine, known as the stress hormone. This building block amino acid is found in high concentration in cheese. When it was discovered in the nineteenth century it got its name; the root word for Tyrosine is “tyros,” a Greek word for “cheese.”
Cheese offers the full complement of amino acids. For a food that seems to be quite simple, cheese actually offers near-complete nutrition. The “simplicity” of cheese is part of its success as a near-perfect food. Cheese undergoes proteolysis, breaking the complex proteins into their constituent peptides and amino acids, making it easier for our digestive systems to absorb those elemental nutrients and then to use those to build all the protein chains of which we are composed.
Another amino acid derived from cheese is Taurine. It is used to treat anxiety, hyperactivity and poor brain function. I would become stressed if I did not get some cheese-sourced Taurine in my belly.
Cheese also contains the stress reducer Tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin which is responsible for normal sleep. Tryptophan also combats depression, stabilizes moods, relieves migraine headaches, and helps control hyperactivity in children – a stress producing activity in itself.
There are many things cheese has going for it, beyond what it can do to reduce stress. During these holiday times when we can become a little gluttonous, isn’t it good to know that cheese can help metabolize the foods we consume, and that it can help reduce weight? Some studies have found that cheese can help reduce our waist lines!
I suppose some people may become a little stressed just thinking about cheese. They may love it. Those addictive opioid peptides may make them feel a little guilty about consuming this much-maligned food, as though eating it is an indulgence! Cheese should be considered for its marvelous life-sustaining and life-enhancing qualities.