Blue Roquefort

Responsible for French Longevity Paradox

blue cheese

blue cheese

A protein fraction found in blue-veined cheeses degenerates inflammation and chlamydia

Red wine’s resveratrol and other polyphenols with their multiple health effects may be part of the reason the French can enjoy high fat diets yet experience low heart disease rates. But the imbibing of wine isn’t the total answer by any means, say researchers who assert other dietary and non-dietary determinants contribute to reduced cardiovascular mortality in the French and Mediterranean populations.

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In particular, higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and dietary fiber may also contribute to the mechanisms of the “French paradox,” says an article.

However, cheese and cheese-containing products are prominent ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. Indeed, the varieties of blue-veined and other fungal fermented cheeses, which are a trademark of French culinary culture, “may possess some measurable health benefits due to the presence of numerous functional substances in their core,” notes an article in Scientific World Journal.


Inflammation in atherosclerosis is often associated with infections such as Chlamydia pneumoniae. But a protein extract isolated from Roquefort (blue-veined) cheeses inhibits the propagation of C. pneumoniae in an experimental study, the article reports.

Moreover, short term feeding of mice with blue-veined cheeses reduced atherogenic inflammation “suggesting that ingestion of Roquefort could promote regenerative processes at the site of inflammation. The ability of this protein to inhibit propagation of chlamydia infection as well as the anti-inflammatory and proregenerative effects of Roquefort itself may contribute to the low prevalence of cardiovascular mortality in France where consumption of fungal fermented cheeses is the highest in the world.”

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Many cheese products are made from cows who have been hyperstimulated with bovine growth hormone (BGH), which is injected to force them to produce more milk. The hormone, which is manufactured synthetically, raises risk of mastitis and lameness in cows, however, and has been suggested to be linked with raising levels of growth factors in the human body. Its use reflects the industrialization of dairy farming and it isn’t used in France.

One brand that follows the French tradition, avoiding use of growth hormones, is Salemville Amish Blue Cheese. It is produced by an Amish community in Wisconsin; cows are hand milked twice a day and the cheese itself is handcrafted. Other brands forgo use of BGH and other hormones and additives: Organic Creamery Blue, Carr Valley and Castle Rock Farm, also in Wisconsin.

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