Cottage cheese is a soft, creamy white cheese that does not go through an ageing process. It is known for its mild flavour and creamy texture. Cottage cheese has been a popular choice of food for athletes and those looking to lose weight since it is ideal option as low carb diet. Not only is it rich in proteins, but it is also packed with many essential nutrients. Other cottage cheese nutrition health benefits are such as it helps build muscle mass, aids in weight reduction, provides B12, helps in osteoporosis, build bones, prevent insulin resistance, etc.
This cheese was made in cottages from the milk that was left over after making butter; hence it got its name cottage cheese.
How is cottage cheese made?
Cottage cheese is easy to make and can be made at home. Some acidic substance like lemon juice or vinegar is added to warm milk to curdle it. When the acidity of the milk increases, the curds get separated from the whey. Once the curd has solidified, it is cut into pieces and cooked till it releases moisture. The cheese is then washed and drained to remove the acidity. Herbs, cream, salt and spices are then added to this cheese to add to its flavour.
Cottage cheese is made from pasteurised cow’s milk. It can be made from full-fat, reduced-fat and non-fat milk. It is available in cream, whipped, lactose-free, reduced sodium or sodium-free forms at the supermarkets.
Cottage cheese nutrition facts
Cottage cheese nutrition benefits depends on which kind of milk has been used to make the cheese.
One cup (226 grams) of low fat (1% fat) cottage cheese contains (1)
- Calories: 163
- Fat: 2 grams
- Total carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Protein: 28 grams
- Riboflavin: 22% of Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamine B12 : 24 % RDI
- Phosphorus: 30 % RDI
- Sodium : 38 % RDI
- Selenium : 29% RDI
- Calcium : 14 % RDI
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 20.3 mg
- Omega-6 fatty acids: 49.7 mg
Cottage cheese nutrition benefits on health
Helps build muscle mass
Cottage cheese is rich in protein. Over 70 percent of the calories in cottage cheese come from proteins. So, if you are looking to build muscle mass, you must include cottage cheese in your diet.
Studies also prove that high protein diet, when combined with resistance training, helps build muscle mass (2).
Almost 80 percent of the protein in cottage cheese is casein, which is a slowly absorbed protein. Whey and casein help in building muscle and inhibiting muscle breakdown (3). Casein also helps in the absorption of leucine, which improves the muscle building capacity (4).
Aids in weight loss
Cottage cheese nutrition contains high protein and low calories, and this makes cheese the perfect choice for weight loss diets.
A one-year study was done on 30 men and 30 women who consumed high protein foods like cottage cheese. The study showed that the diet helped women decrease their body fat by an average of 2.8 kg and men lost 1.4 kg on an average (5).
Proteins like casein help stimulate the feeling of fullness in the body, and this leads to lesser intake of calories and efficiently helps in reducing weight (6).
Cottage cheese is also a rich source of calcium. Studies have shown that high intake of calcium, when combined with exercise, also helps in weight loss (7).
Dietary calcium also helps in reducing fat accumulation and acceleration of fat loss (8).
Can help to treat osteoporosis and build bones
Cottage cheese nutrition is rich in calcium and phosphorus, both of which are important to build healthy bones. Studies have shown that women who lack these two minerals in their diet are more prone to osteoporosis.
Can help prevent insulin resistance
Cottage cheese nutrition contains calcium, which is helpful in preventing insulin resistance (9). According to one study eating dairy products can lower the risk of developing insulin resistance by 21 percent (10).
Provides vitamin B12
This cheese is an excellent vegetarian source of vitamin B12 which is essential for the development of brain, nerves and blood cells. Vitamin B12, when combined with folic acid or vitamin B6, also helps to lower homocysteine levels in the blood. High homocysteine levels in the body can lead to heart and neurological problems.
One of the high light of cottage cheese nutrition is that it is a rich source of selenium. One cup of cottage cheese can provide almost 30 percent of your daily requirement of selenium. Low levels of selenium can lead to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease (11).
How to incorporate cottage cheese into your diet?
Not only is cottage cheese nutritious, but it is also quite tasty. It can be added to numerous dishes to add to their nutritional quotient.
- Bread or Toast: Cottage cheese can be well served with toast.
- Scrambled eggs: Add them while making scrambled eggs to give your eggs a creamy texture.
- Lasagne: Use it as a substitute for cottage cheese.
- Mayo substitute: Spread cottage cheese on your toast or use it as a mayo substitute in recipes.
- Smoothies: Add to the protein quotient of your smoothies by blending some cottage cheese with the other ingredients.
- Dips: Mix it into dips as a substitute for milk.
- Sour cream substitute: You can use it in place of sour cream in many recipes.
- Fruits: Mix it with fruits like bananas, berries and peaches.
- Salsa or Salads: Add it to any salad for that extra bit of nutrition.
- Pancakes and waffles: mix it with the batter as a substitute for milk.
People who are lactose intolerant and are allergic to dairy products should not consume cottage cheese.
The lactose content in cheese decreases as it ages. Since cottage cheese is fresh, it contains more lactose. If lactose intolerant people eat cottage cheese, they may experience bloating, gas, diarrhoea and stomach pain.
Some people are allergic to whey and casein in cottage cheese. Such people should stay away from cottage cheese.
Sometimes cottage cheese might cause allergic reactions like itching, swelling, hives, etc. The moment you notice these symptoms, stop the intake and consult your doctor.
Too much of anything is bad and so is with cottage cheese. It is high in protein and excess consumption may lead to kidney problems. Make a right balance in your diet plan for the maximum health benefits.
Final words on cottage cheese nutrition
Cottage cheese is a fresh creamy cheese. It is rich in protein, calcium and many other nutrients like potassium and selenium. Include cottage cheese in your diet if you are trying to lose weight or increase muscle mass. However, if you are lactose intolerance or are allergic to dairy products, you should not consume cottage cheese.