| GEO Health|
| Piece of cheese each day helps protect the immune system|
| Updated at: 0931 PST, Saturday, May 15, 2010|
HELSINKI: A piece of cheese a day could keep the doctor away, research has found.
Scientists say cheese can boost the immune system of the elderly by acting as a carrier for so-called 'good' bacteria.
A team from Finland's Turku University concluded that a daily portion of probiotic cheese can slow the degeneration of our bodies known as immunosenescene, which makes it much harder to fight infections and respond to vaccinations.
The researchers asked volunteers aged between 72 and 103 to eat one slice of either placebo or probiotic Gouda cheese with their breakfast for four weeks.
Tests found that those eating the probiotic cheese had a dramatically increased number of white blood cells - which help fight infection.
Lead researcher Dr Fandi Ibrahim said in the journal Immunology & Medical Microbiology that regular probiotic cheese was an innovative way to boost the immune system.
'The intake of probiotic bacteria has been reported to enhance the immune response through other products and now we have discovered that cheese can be a carrier of the same bacteria.'