Cheese. I love it. Perhaps a little too much. I’ve heard a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t like cheese. (Lots of good ones too, but that’s a different article.) For instance, arguments can be made concerning the negative health impacts of eating cheese (lots of fat!), other arguments concerning possible negative effects on hormone levels in the body, and even more arguments about the usually poor conditions in which dairy cows live. So, why do I love cheese so much?
Maybe it’s the morphine.
Yes, that’s right:
[A]s far back as the 1980’s researchers have known that cheese contains trace amounts of morphine. Seriously.
In 1981, Eli Hazum and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories reported traces of the chemical morphine, a highly addictive opiate. It turns out that morphine is found in cow milk and human, purportedly to ensure offspring will bond very strongly with their mothers and get all the nutrients they need to grow.
Researchers also discovered the protein casein, which breaks into casomorphins when it is digested and also produces opiate effects. In cheese, casein is concentrated, and so is the level of casomorphins, so the pleasurable effect is greater. Neal Barnard, MD said, “Since cheese is processed to express out all the liquid, it’s an incredibly concentrated source of casomorphins—you might call it dairy crack.” (Source: VegetarianTimes.com)