Cottage cheese is available in several varieties. You have your low fat cheese, your low sodium cheese, or your cottage cheese with some fruit. As such, cottage cheese is one of the more versatile products in your kitchen. You should be consuming it on a daily basis. Among all of the cheeses you can find, cottage is one of the healthiest.
The best part about cottage cheese is its versatility. You can add it to both sweet and savory recipes. In the last few years, cottage cheese has risen up in the popularity ranks. Thanks to nutritionists who recommend it as part of a healthy diet, cottage cheese is rising up.
Many think cottage cheese is just a bunch of protein. But it comes with a lot more essential nutrients, making it a great option for athletes that want to lose weight and build muscle. That being said, let’s take a look at several reasons why you need to start consuming cottage cheese.
What is cottage cheese?
Let’s explain for those who do not know. Cottage cheese is soft, white, and creamy fresh cheese that does not undergo aging or ripening process to develop flavor. The result is cottage cheese has a mild flavor, one that is vastly different than aged cheeses.
Made from curds of pasteurized cow’s milk, cottage cheese comes in variety of fat levels. You have regular, low-fat, and non-fat options. You can also find it in different curd sizes from small to large. And the biggest versatility factor is you can find it creamed, whipped, with reduced sodium, sodium-free, or lactose-free.
The best way to understand the healthy benefits of a product is to look at the nutrients. For cottage cheese, this is how the nutritional breakdown looks like.
This is what you get in one cup of low-fat cottage cheese:
- 163 calories
- 28g of protein
- 6.1g of carbs
- 2.3g of fat
- 29% of daily dose of selenium
- 24% of daily dose of vitamin B12
- 14% of daily dose of calcium
- 30% of daily dose of sodium
- 22% of daily dose of riboflavin
- 7% of daily dose of folate
In addition, you get small amounts of vitamins B1, B3, B6, A, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium.
Why consume cottage cheese?
Reason No.1 – Lose Weight
We mentioned early that cottage cheese is part of many diet plans. The reason is simple, in one cup, you get small amount of calories, but high amount of beneficial nutrients. Weight loss diets are better when you get some cottage cheese in there.
According to most studies, high-protein foods can help you lose weight, and then maintain a healthy weight. Cottage cheese also contains the protein called casein, which helps increase the feeling of fullness. Think of cottage cheese as a dairy product very similar to eggs.
When combined with regular exercise plan, cottage cheese will help you feel full, refreshed, and lose weight while eating and not starving.
Reason No.2 – Gain muscles
In addition to losing weight, cottage cheese helps you gain some muscles. It all depends on what is your exercise goal. Some want to lose weight, others want to gain muscles. Because cottage cheese is very high in protein, it can help you achieve both goals.
We all know protein is the main building block of your muscles, and you need it before and after exercise. The good thing about cottage cheese is you consume both before and after. It will give you enough energy to last through the workout, but also provide some refreshing factor after.
It all goes back to casein, a slowly absorbed protein. Casein is just as effective as whey protein, the one you find in most supplements. Casein can also help with absorption of the amino acid leucine, which improves the building capacity of your muscles.
Reason No.3 – Prevent insulin resistance
As mentioned, cottage cheese contains decent amount of calcium. Thanks to it, you can prevent and reduce insulin resistance. For those of you that do not know, insulin resistance often leads to development of type-2 diabetes, or the one that is considered fatal and deadly disease.
Reason No.4 – Selenium and more selenium
Selenium is one of those minerals that is just hard to get. Not many products contain high doses of selenium, but cottage cheese gives you almost one-third of your daily dose. Selenium increases the antioxidant protection in your blood. By doing that, selenium reduces the risk for heart disease.
Reason No.5 – Improve Bone strength
Cottage cheese contains almost all of the crucial minerals for bone strength. Those are calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, and then some protein. All of these nutrients are linked with improved bone health.
How to add cottage cheese to your diet
We mentioned that cottage cheese is great for both savory and sweet dishes. You can also use it as a substitute for many other not-so-healthy ingredients. That being said, here are some easy ways to add more cottage cheese to your diet.
- Mix it as a substitute for milk in pancakes and waffles recipes
- If you want extra protein in your salad, add some cottage cheese
- You can mix it with fruits for a great salad. Some fruits that go well with cottage cheese include berries, mandarin wedges, banana slices, peach slices, melon chunks, and mango chunks
- Cottage cheese is one of the best sour cream and heavy cream substitute
- If you want a smoothie with extra protein, mix cottage cheese, milk, and some fruits
- You can use it as a spread on your toast for a creamy and protein-rich spread. Or you can use it as a mayo substitute in any sandwich
- For a creamier texture of your scrambled eggs, add some cottage cheese
- You can also use it as a substitute for ricotta cheese in lasagna recipes
- Last, but not least, all baked goods like muffins, cakes, breads, dinner rolls, and similar benefit from some cottage cheese
Are there any problems with consuming cottage cheese?
The only downside of cottage cheese is it usually contains lactose. Because it is a fresh and unripened cheese, cottage contains more lactose than aged cheeses like cheddar or Swiss. Therefore, if you are intolerant to lactose, you should stay away from cottage cheese. Otherwise, you might experience problems like bloating, gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
In addition to lactose, cottage cheese contains allergens like whey and casein, which are also problematic for some people.