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Cheese Can Prevent Aging (But So Can This Bodily Fluid)

By Hillary Eaton ; Updated November 22, 2016

Chowing down on some aged cheddar might have a surprising added bonus (besides mouth heaven): It can help you live longer.

According to a recent study published by Nature Medicine, ingesting spermidine, which is a natural polyamine compound found in cheese and, ahem, sperm (hence the similarity in name) can lead to better heart health and a longer lifespan.

Related: 18 Foods With a 'Bad Rap' That Are Actually Good for You

During the study, mice were either given a solution of water or water with a spermidine solution. According to Medical Daily, results showed that mice given spermidine repeatedly outlived those who just drank plain water. Even more surprising? This trend still held true when the researchers purposely raised the mice’s blood pressure with a diet high in salt.

Researchers noted that spermidine actually induces autophagy, a process which causes heart cells to disable cells that are dysfunctional. As a result, the mice given spermidine had better cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure, all of which eventually led to longer lifespans. Fondue party, anyone?

While spermidine was first isolated in sperm due to it’s high concentration in the bodily fluid, spermidine is also highly concentrated in some of your favorite aged cheeses — from Parmesan to Gruyere and Gouda. Comparable levels of spermidine can also be found in soybeans and mushrooms, though researchers believe the compound is most effectively ingested as a supplement.

That may be so, but we’re going to go ahead and use this as an excuse to get our cheese on. Thanks, fromage fairy!

Related: 21 Anti-Aging Foods

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