Move over cheddar. It's time for something hairier…er, healthier. Researchers in Nepal and Canada are reporting [PDF] that yak cheese has higher levels of several healthy fatty acids than the stuff derived from dairy cattle.
Nepal was the first country in the world to start making cheese from Yak milk, and it has been used extensively in Himalayan cuisine. It has only recently become available in the U.S. at certain gourmet grocery stores, and its availability for order online is limited, although export programs for local Himalayan cheese makers are growing.
In the study, the researchers found that, relative to cheddar, it has much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acids, which they say could help fight heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even slow the development of atherosclerosis. The cheese also has more heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The cheeses studied in the research were made from yak reared in the highlands of the Nepalese Himalayas. The diet of the animals may be a factor. Before you run out to hunt down some yak cheese, though, the scientists do conclude that more work should be done to consider its overall effects on human health. And let's not forget its taste.
Remember when the latest craze was ostrich farming? We don't hear too much about that now so it's time to start promoting yak farming and selling yak cheese. Yak are, after all, are very much like hairy cattle. I think they would do very nicely in the western mountains of North America.
The purpose of this exercise is so that we can enjoy the benefits of yak cheese and buy locally produced, environmentally friendly produce.
Down here in Texas there are plenty of Ostrich farms and you can even buy the meat in most grocery stores.