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Well we’re all used to the doom-and-gloom health news reports that point out the risks of just about everything that makes life bearable. So here’s something that will cheer up an awful lot of people, myself included.

Now you’re probably aware of the fact that dairy foods – milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt – contain saturated fat, which is widely accepted as being bad for your heart because eating too much of it is thought to increase your cholesterol level. So it’s nice to hear about the Swedish researchers who, writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, say there’s some evidence that eating dairy foods could actually help lower your cholesterol or your blood pressure.

Apparently, by measuring the levels of substances called pentadecaoic and heptadecanoic acid in people’s blood (the acids are an indication of how much dairy fat a person has eaten), they discovered that those with the highest levels had a lower risk of heart attack. Yes. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

It’s great news if you’re female, since the researchers worked out that the women who ate the most dairy foods had a 26 percent reduced risk of heart attack (for men the risk reduction was lower at just 9 percent – sorry boys).

Well of course when you do the maths, the actual benefit in terms of not having a heart attack is rather small. But what the hell, we need all the good news we can get these days, don’t we?

Now at the risk of bursting your Brie-flavoured bubble, I am duty bound to tell you that the study was partially funded by the National Dairy Council/Dairy Management Inc, which is a trade group for the US dairy industry. So the study could possibly jut be a teeny bit biased. Oops, there, I’ve said it.

Nevertheless, it’s a good excuse to have an extra dollop of cream (full-fat, double) on your sherry trifle, huh?