The health benefits of cottage cheese may include weight loss, a good supply of protein, B complex vitamins, and healthy fats, as well as a reduced risk of breast cancer. Cottage cheese is also a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium, which play a vital role in many of the body functions.
What is Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is prepared by boiling and curdling milk with the help of acidic substances such as lime or vinegar. As the milk boils, it starts to curdle, forming lumps of curd. This curd is then pressed to squeeze out the whey or milk serum to form a big lump of curd or cheese.
Cheese is a milk product that is made in a number of different ways and can be purchased in different forms depending on the milk and fat content. The different types of cheese include hoop cheese, farmer cheese, pot cheese, paneer, queso blanco, and various others. Each of these cheeses is prepared with a different procedure and sometimes different ingredients are added. Thus, different kinds of cheeses have evolved with different flavors.
The process of preparing cottage cheese and commercial cheese is somewhat similar. The only difference is in the proportion of milk used to obtain the cheese.
Nutritional Value of Cottage Cheese
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||4.3|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||3.38|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||2.67|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||83|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.07|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||8|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||159|
|Potassium, K [mg]||104|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||315|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.4|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.03|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||9.7|
|Fluoride, F [µg]||31.6|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.56|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.05|
|Folate, total [µg]||12|
|Folate, food [µg]||12|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||12|
|Choline, total [mg]||18.4|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0.43|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||37|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||12|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||140|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.08|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units [IU]||3|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0.1|
|Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) [µg]||0.1|
|Vitamin K (Menaquinone-4) [µg]||0.9|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||1.72|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.78|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.12|
|Aspartic acid [g]||0.91|
|Glutamic acid [g]||2.6|
|Sources include : USDA|
Cottage cheese is formed when casein, a milk protein, reacts with acid and coagulates. This is one of the favorite proteins for athletes, bodybuilders, sprinters, and various sports enthusiasts because casein is a very slow-digesting protein and releases energy slowly. Whey protein is also a preferred type, which is a by-product of cottage cheese. Whey is very healthy and popular amongst sports and fitness enthusiasts. It can be stored in a cool place to be used at a later time.
Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese provides many health benefits, which are listed below.
May Have Anti-cancer Potential
Calcium and vitamin D found in dairy products, especially in cottage cheese, may help reduce the risk of cancer. A research paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that in case of premenopausal women, a high intake of low-fat dairy products, which even may include low fat cottage cheese, can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Possibly Rich in Protein
One of the biggest benefits of cottage cheese is the possibly high amount of casein protein found in it. It is believed that cow’s milk may contain the highest amount of casein protein among various kinds of milk. The amount of protein contained in cottage cheese is ideal for vegetarians in supplying them with the required amount of daily protein. Cottage cheese does not require any amount of cooking and it can be consumed directly. A study cited in JAMA Network shows that drinking milk provides excess energy in some children.
Possibly Good For Pregnant Women
Cottage cheese is recommended for pregnant women along with athletes due to various essential nutrients found in it. They need calcium and cottage cheese is a very good source of it. Cottage cheese also contains phosphorus, an important element found in bones, which is also recommended during pregnancy.
Possibly Rich in B-complex Vitamins
- Vitamin B12 is needed for proper brain functioning and helps in absorbing iron.
- Riboflavin helps in converting carbohydrates into energy.
- Pantothenic acid acts as a synthesizer that helps in forming proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids in our body.
- Thiamin helps in converting sugars into energy in the pyruvate dehydrogenase system.
- Niacin plays an important role in digestion, energy production, and cholesterol reduction.
- Folate helps in fetal development in pregnant women, producing red blood cells, and keeping the heart healthy.
May Strengthen Bones
Calcium is one of the major elements associated with milk and milk products such as curd or cottage cheese. The benefits of calcium-rich foods may include bone strengthening and weight loss. The amount of calcium in cottage cheese is 8% of the daily recommended value. Calcium may help in building strong bones throughout childhood and adulthood. Eating calcium-rich foods during pregnancy and later years is helpful, especially in the prevention of osteoporosis. It also helps the nervous system in sending nerve impulses.
Can Help Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
Cottage cheese may help reduce blood sugar levels. Many recommend it as one of the best snacks to have for people with diabetes. In a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota, USA, and published in the Nutrition and Metabolism Journal, men who ate 25 grams of cottage cheese with 50 grams of sugar had 38% lower blood sugar afterward, compared to those who consumed sugar alone.
Might Prevent Strokes
Apart from other nutrients, cottage cheese contains potassium, which may act as a fluid-balancing element in the body and is an important component in the neural activities of the muscle and brain. It also relieves muscle cramps. Intake of potassium on a regular basis prevents the risk of getting brain stroke since it lowers blood pressure and the contraction of vessels. It is also helpful in decreasing stress levels and anxiety. Potassium, like sodium, acts as an electrolyte, but without the side effects of sodium, such as increased blood pressure and cardiovascular stress.
A study conducted by Professor Peter Elwood, et al., Department of Epidemiology Statistics and Public Health, Cardiff University, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK, reveals that milk and dairy products consumption can prevent metabolic syndrome associated with the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
May Improve Biological Functions
Zinc found in cottage cheese is about 4% of the daily recommended value. In the human body, it is found in the brain, muscles, bones, kidneys, liver, prostate, and eyes. It helps in the metabolism of DNA and RNA. Zinc is one of the trace elements whose presence in our body helps in improving the immune system and digestion. It is also useful for relieving stress and anxiety, curing night blindness, improving ocular health, preventing appetite loss and prostate disorder, and fighting various infections. Moreover, it acts as an antioxidant too.
Might Improve Digestion
Cottage cheese contains phosphorus, which can play a major role in the formation of DNA and RNA. It is a major component in forming bones along with calcium. Phosphates may also help in digestion, excretion, and in the production and extraction of energy in the cells. A 2012 study shows that moderate intake of cottage cheese along with other fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, and whole grains is effective in achieving and maintaining weight loss.
May Have Antioxidant Properties
Selenium is a trace element found in cottage cheese. It is required in very small quantities, not more than 50 mcg to 70 mcg in adults. Selenium is useful as an antioxidant that protects cells and DNA from damage. According to a report published in the Harvard Health report, it is also believed that an optimum intake of selenium-rich foods reduces the risk of prostate cancer. A study conducted by a team of Harvard researchers found that a group of men who continued to receive selenium experienced a 49% lower risk of prostate cancer through a follow-up period that averaged 7.6 years.
Cholesterol Levels in Cottage Cheese
The level of cholesterol in cottage cheese depends upon the type of milk used for preparing it. If whole milk is used for cheese preparation, the cholesterol content would be higher (33 mg per cup) as compared to low-fat milk (10 mg per cup) or no fat milk (4 mg per cup). So, if you are health conscious, use low-fat versions of cottage cheese to avoid extra fat intake and excessive cholesterol.
Quick Serving Tips
- Salad: Add chopped/grated cottage cheese to salads such as green salads and tuna salads.
- Omelet: Add chopped cottage cheese and vegetables to the egg mixture for making a delicious omelet.
- Curries/Stews: Cottage cheese can be used for making stew/curries, along with meat and vegetables.
Side Effects of Cottage cheese
There are certain risks involved in eating cheese, both the cottage and grocery varieties. Some of these are particular risks for people with hypertension (high blood pressure).
Higher Levels of Sodium: Salt is a major ingredient used at various stages of cheese and yogurt preparation. As per the research conducted by Demott, Hitchcock, and Sanders at the University of Tennessee, an average of 3.7 mg/g to 4.5 mg/g of sodium chloride is found in various dairy preparations, including cheese. The findings are almost double the federal government’s approved salt content level (2.7 mg/g).
Bacterial Contamination: One may experience bacterial contamination by eating cottage cheese or any other dairy product if the milk has not been pasteurized properly. One of the most common diseases associated with unpasteurized milk, improperly cooked meat, poultry, and fish is listeriosis, which is caused by Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium is particularly known to be risky for pregnant women and their developing fetus.