A recent study in Finland found that cheese with added lactic acid bacteria (sold commercially) stimulated the immune systems of elderly subjects. Earlier studies had found similar effects when the bacteria were put in milk or yogurt. To me, the most interesting result was that the cheese alone (Gouda, a fermented cheese) had no detectable effect. I take that to mean that some fermented foods contain too little bacteria to make a difference. I’m going to have to stop using my umami hypothesis as an excuse to eat cheese — although cheese may also be good for the fat it contains.
Thanks to Anne Weiss.