An Ounce (of Grana Padano) a Day…

June 1, 2016 / Food & Wine
Piacenza, Emilia Romagna

…as per the title, that’s all you need to keep the doctor away! (Grana Padano is Parmigiano Reggiano’s more humble little brother, a note on the two very similar cheeses coming soon!) What’s more, the rule comes from none other than an actual doctor, specifically Doctor Giuseppe Crippa, head of the Hypertension Operative Unit of the Saliceto Hospital in Piacenza.

Together with researchers from the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science at the venerable Sacred Heart Catholic University of Piacenza, Dr.Crippa conducted a controlled clinical trial on 30 patients with hypertension. It was done with all the best practices such double blind testing, placebo group, etc., methods that are usually reserved for replicable, peer reviewable drug testing trials.

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And in fact, the international scientific community such as the American Society of Hypertension, has recognized the validity of this clinical test! (Crippa and his team even stand to win some awards at the various hypertension conferences this year.)

Basically, the 30 patients were given 30 grams a day (about 1 ounce) of Grana Padano aged 12 months, which happens to be rich in tripeptides, which apparently are important inhibitors of a specific enzyme connected to hypertension. (In fact, current hypertension meds use the same inhibitors.)

After two months of the daily dose of this cheese, blood pressure levels in all test patients (but not the placebo group which received tripeptide-free Grana!) were “significantly reduced, thanks to the production of angiontensine during the fermentation process, whose concentration reaches very high levels in this particular cheese,” specifies Dr.Crippa. It is unlikely that this benefit extends to other cheeses, he adds, stating that only in Grana Padano does the right combination of those fermenting agents, aging method, production process, etc. come together to create the concentrated dose of those specific proteins.

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What’s more, 30 grams of Grana Padano has less salt than a small bun (locally, the rosetta), only 32 mg of cholesterol (the maximum daily recommended amount is 220 mg), and its limited fats are in good part of the monounsaturated variety, containing important omega 3 oils.

Of course, like any bonafide Italian doctor when speaking about anything health related, Dr.Crippa adds the standard phrase “Needless to say, this treatment must be accompanied by a healthy and balanced diet,” which all Italians unequivocally know means a healthy balanced Italian diet.

Hey, if that’s what the doctor ordered… right?

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GB

by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

10 Responses to “An Ounce (of Grana Padano) a Day…”

  1. John Figliozzi

    The big question for those many of us reading your posts in the US, is: “Would the exported versions of this cheese continue to provide these benefits, or is the beneficial element gone due to the preservation processes needed for exportation? In the end, it still tastes good!!

    Reply
  2. Linda Boccia

    GB does this also include Parmigiana Reggiano or not?

    Reply
  3. Ginny Siggia

    A truly sensible doctor. Now I live in an area rich in dairy farms, and I think all products are completely “clean” of additives, hormones, and preservatives. Add the locally-made bread, a quick spread of pesto, a slice of tomato, and cappuccino, and voila! A delicious breakfast.

    Reply
  4. I now know why my grandparents lived a long and healthy life: they bought a large wheel of the cheese every year, of course with their yearly bottling of 500 gallons of honest vino da tavola didn’t hurt. How much I do miss their wonderful wine, but if one doth live long enough then they too might have the wonderful nephew I have who is to start making wine and has promised me to present occasionally a delight such as his great-grandfather’s. Thank you GB for another wonderful article!

    Reply
  5. Marianna Raccuglia

    Now I can have my grand without feeling guilty. I am sending this to my friends so that they will feel good, too! We meet weekly for wine, cheese and conversation – we will discuss this column. Thanks GB

    Reply
  6. Victoria De Maio

    Yay! Good news! Cheesy news but good news! Gotta love it when science catches up with what we’ve always loved anyway. :D
    Grazie for sharing, GB!

    Reply

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