Cottage cheese is simply milk that has curdled and ripened. A starter substance such as cultured buttermilk, which contains lactic acid bacteria, and rennet, a natural substance used to make cheese, is combined with the milk during processing to create this rich, nutritious dairy product. What are the health benefits of cottage cheese? How can it be integrated into a healthy diet?
Healthy Bones and Teeth
As with other dairy products cottage cheese is a great food to consume for healthy bones. It is rich in calcium, the primary mineral for the formation of bones and teeth. Making sure you are getting enough of this mineral is so important for maintaining good bone density throughout your life and preventing decay in old age. A deficiency can easily be a factor in osteoporosis, a disease that post-menopausal women are at high risk for. One cup of low-fat cottage cheese provides 14 percent of the daily requirement of this mineral.
Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of phosphorus, with 30 percent of what you need in a day in one serving. This mineral also helps with bone and teeth formation. There is a small amount of magnesium in this dairy product, which is an important bone mineral that is necessary for the absorption of calcium.
Promote Weight Loss
As long as you eat a cottage cheese that is made from low-fat milk this food is a great part of a diet for weight loss. Cottage cheese is very high in protein, with 28 grams in one cup. For all of that filling, energizing, sustaining protein, there is only two grams of fat, six carbohydrates, and 163 calories. A bowl of cottage cheese sprinkled with cinnamon and raisins for breakfast or a cup with a green salad at lunch are high-protein, low-fat meals that will sustain you for hours with minimal calories.
Yes, cottage cheese is good for your heart! First, because it is a good source of calcium which promotes a regular heartbeat and helps to lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. Second, because it is a low-fat, low-cholesterol food that you can enjoy in place of other more fatty cheeses. Just make sure you are eating cottage cheese made from skim, one, or two percent milk-fat.
Nutrient Source for Vegetarians
For people who do not eat meat, cottage cheese makes a great food staple. It is a good source of nutrients that are generally found in meat products, such as vitamin B12 and selenium. Vitamin B12 is very important for nervous system well-being and proper growth. It is also used to regulate homocysteine levels in the body along with folate and vitamin B6, making it important for heart health. One serving has 24 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin B12.
Selenium is an important antioxidant in the body. Along with vitamin E this mineral helps to prevent the oxidation of lipids. There is nearly one-third of the daily recommended amount of selenium in one cup of cottage cheese.
A strong source of protein, cottage cheese is ideal for vegetarians who need to make sure they are consuming enough protein.
There are many health benefits of cottage cheese. While it is best to opt for a lower-fat product, as a meal, snack, or even healthy dessert it provides a dose of protein, calcium, and other nutrients for a small amount of calories and fat. A mild flavored, creamy cheese, you can use cottage cheese almost anywhere — as a topping for pancakes with honey, a substitute for ricotta in lasagna, as a snack with sliced peaches or crackers, with salads, or simply sprinkled with a little sea salt and paprika.
Bassett, Harold J. “Homemade Cottage Cheese.” (University of Missouri Extension) https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G9550
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
photo by Rob Boudon (CC/flickr) https://www.flickr.com/photos/robboudon/4907518505/