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Why Cottage Cheese Is Super Healthy and Nutritious

Cottage Cheese in a Blue BowlCottage cheese is a
low-calorie cheese with
a mild flavor.

Its popularity has grown in the last few decades, and it’s
often recommended as part of a healthy diet.

Cottage cheese doesn’t only offer a lot of protein — it’s also
packed with essential nutrients.

For these reasons, it’s widely used by athletes and in weight
loss plans.

What Is Cottage Cheese?

Cottage cheese is soft, white and creamy. It’s considered a
fresh cheese, so it does not undergo an aging or ripening
process to develop flavor.

As a result, it has a very mild flavor compared to aged
cheeses.

Cottage cheese is made from the curds of pasteurized cow’s
milk
and can be made with various levels of milk fat,
such as non-fat, reduced-fat or regular.

It’s also offered in different curd sizes, usually small,
medium or large.

Moreover, it’s available in creamed, whipped, lactose-free,
reduced sodium or sodium-free varieties.

You can enjoy this versatile cheese by itself or as an
ingredient in recipes.



Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is a soft, white
cheese with mild flavor. It is a fresh cheese offered with
different milk fat levels and curd sizes.

Cottage Cheese Is Packed With Nutrients

Cottage Cheese on a Tablespoon

The nutrition profile of cottage cheese varies depending on the
level of milk fat used and amount of sodium added.

One cup (226 grams) of low-fat (1% milk fat) cottage cheese
provides (1):

  • Calories: 163.
  • Protein: 28 grams.
  • Carbs: 6.1 grams.
  • Fat: 2.3 grams.
  • Phosphorus: 30% of the Reference Daily
    Intake (RDI).
  • Sodium: 30% of the RDI.
  • Selenium: 29% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin B12: 24% of the RDI.
  • Riboflavin: 22% of the RDI.
  • Calcium: 14% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 7% of the RDI.

It also has decent amounts of vitamins B1, B3 and B6, as well
as vitamin A, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper.

Take note of how much protein a one-cup serving contains.
Protein
accounts for over 70% of the calories in cottage cheese.

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is an excellent
source of protein with relatively few calories. It is also
packed with many nutrients like B vitamins, calcium,
phosphorus and selenium.

How Cottage Cheese Is Made

Cottage Cheese and Raspberries

Making cottage cheese is a simple process. You can even do it
at home.

The process starts with curdling milk. This is done by adding
an acidic substance like lime juice or vinegar to warm milk.

When the acidity of the milk increases, curds of
casein protein
separate from the whey, the liquid part of
the milk.

Once the curd has solidified, it’s cut into pieces and cooked
until more moisture is released. It is then washed to remove
the acidity and drained to remove the moisture.

The result is a sweeter curd that can be easily crumbled.
Finally, ingredients can be added to flavor the finished
product, including cream, salt, herbs and spices.

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is made by
adding an acid to milk, which causes the milk to curdle.
Then, the curd is drained and crumbled to make the final
product.

Cottage Cheese Can Help You Lose Weight

Black Set of Scales and a Measuring Tape


Weight loss
diets often include cottage cheese.

This is partly because of its high protein and low calorie
content.

One study followed people who maintained a diet that included

high-protein foods
like cottage cheese for one year.

It showed that the diet helped decrease body weight by an
average of 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg) in women and 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg) in
men (2).

Moreover, high intakes of protein, such as the casein in
cottage cheese, have been shown to help increase feelings of
fullness (3, 4, 5).

In fact, cottage cheese seems to stimulate feelings of fullness
in a manner similar to that of eggs.

These feelings of fullness can lead to reduced calorie intake
and weight loss (4, 6).

Also, cottage cheese offers high amounts of calcium.

Studies have linked calcium and other components of dairy
to reduced weight and easier weight maintenance, especially
when combined with exercise (7, 8, 9, 10).

Furthermore, dietary calcium has been associated with metabolic
processes that reduce fat accumulation and accelerate fat loss
(9).

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is high in
protein and calcium, both of which have been associated with
weight loss.

Cottage Cheese and Muscle Gain

Cottage Cheese in a Wooden Bowl

Cottage cheese is popular among athletes and people who
exercise.

Because of its high protein content, it’s a great food to
incorporate into your diet if you’re looking to build muscle
mass.

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A diet including high-protein foods can help you increase
muscle mass when combined with resistance training (7).

Also, the specific proteins in cottage cheese are particularly
effective at helping you build muscle.

Casein accounts for 80% of its protein content and is
considered to be a slowly absorbed protein. It’s just as
effective as whey protein at building muscle and better at
inhibiting muscle breakdown due to its slower absorption
(11, 12).

Casein also promotes prolonged absorption of the amino acid
leucine, which has been linked to increased muscle building
capacity (13, 14, 15).

Many bodybuilders like to eat cottage cheese before bed. This
leads to a sustained release of amino acids into the blood and
muscles during the night, which may reduce muscle breakdown.

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is packed with
casein protein. Casein is a slowly absorbed protein that
promotes muscle gain and helps prevent muscle breakdown.

Other Benefits of Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese has also been associated with other health
benefits.

It May Help Prevent Insulin Resistance


Insulin resistance
can lead to the development of type 2
diabetes and heart disease. The calcium in dairy products is
believed to reduce insulin resistance (8, 16).

One study suggests that eating dairy products may lower the
risk of developing insulin resistance by 21% (17).

Cottage Cheese Can Help With Bone Strength

In addition to calcium, cottage cheese is a good source of
phosphorus and protein. These nutrients have consistently been
linked to improved bone health (18, 19, 20).

It Is High in Selenium

A one-cup (226 grams) serving of cottage cheese can offer you
almost 30% of the RDI of selenium. This mineral has been shown
to increase antioxidant protection in the blood (1, 21, 22).

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese can help reduce
the risk of developing insulin resistance and heart disease.
It can also help improve bone health and provide antioxidant
protection.

How to Incorporate Cottage Cheese Into Your Diet

Bowl of Cottage Cheese and Berries

Cottage cheese’s mild flavor and soft texture make it easy to
include in your meals and recipes.

Here are some creative ways to eat cottage cheese:

  • Pancakes or waffles: Mix it into the batter
    as a substitute for milk.
  • Salads: Add it to your favorite salads for
    extra protein.
  • Fruit: Mix it with fruits like berries,
    sliced bananas, peach slices, mandarin wedges and melon
    chunks.
  • Granola: Top it with granola and drizzle
    with honey.
  • Sour cream substitute: It works well as a
    substitute in recipes.
  • Dipping sauces: Mix it into dipping sauces
    as a substitute for milk.
  • Smoothies: Blend it with some milk and
    fruits for a fruit smoothie.
  • Toast: It makes a creamy, protein-rich
    spread.
  • Baked goods: Bake it into muffins, cakes,
    bread or dinner rolls.
  • Mayo substitute: Spread it on sandwiches or
    use it in recipes.
  • Scrambled eggs: It’ll give your eggs an
    extra creamy texture.
  • Lasagna: Use it as a substitute for ricotta
    cheese.

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese is a versatile
ingredient that you can incorporate into many different meals
and recipes.

It Can Cause Problems for People Who Are Intolerant to Dairy

Cottage cheese is a dairy product, which can cause problems for
some people.

Lactose Intolerance

The lactose content of cheese decreases as the cheese ages.

Because cottage cheese is a fresh, unripened cheese, it
contains more lactose than aged cheeses like Parmesan, cheddar
or Swiss.

Moreover, cottage cheese may contain even more lactose if
additional milk is added to the curd.

For these reasons, cottage cheese is not a good choice if
you’re lactose
intolerant
.

When people with lactose intolerance eat cottage cheese, they
may experience digestive problems such as bloating, gas,
diarrhea and stomach pain.

Dairy Allergy

In addition to lactose, cottage cheese contains casein and
whey,
which some people are allergic to.

If you have experienced an allergic reaction with any dairy
product, then you may not be able to tolerate cottage cheese.

Bottom Line: Cottage cheese can cause
digestive problems if you are lactose intolerant. It can also
cause allergic reactions in those allergic to dairy or milk
proteins.

Take Home Message

Cottage cheese is a curd cheese with a mild flavor and smooth
texture.

It’s high in many nutrients, including protein, B vitamins and
minerals like calcium, selenium and phosphorus.

If you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle, then cottage
cheese is among the most beneficial foods you can eat.

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