Remember “Little Miss Muffet”? While the tuffet thing still mystifies, the heroine deserves major props for her snack choice. These days, “curds and whey” are known as cottage cheese and they’re a bona fide nutritional powerhouse.
Whether you eat it solo or pureed with sweet treats like berries and honey, cottage cheese is worth adding to your diet. So, grab a spoon and let’s dig into all the ways cottage cheese benefits your health.
7 cottage cheese benefits
- Protein boost
- Reinforces strong bones
- Supports thyroid health
- Helps with weight loss
- Relieves cramps and muscle soreness
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Provides energy
Yep! Unless you’re lactose-intolerant or eating vegan, these mild-mannered, pillowy curds are a healthy way to fill your belly, load up on essential nutrients, and manage your calorie count.
A note: Cottage cheese’s fat content varies depending on whether you’ve snagged a container of cheese made from nonfat, reduced fat, or regular cow’s milk.
Cottage cheese nutrition
Here’s the goodness you’ll find in 1 cup low fat (1 percent milk fat) cottage cheese:
- 163 calories
- 28 grams (g) protein
- 2.3 g fat
- 6.15 g carbohydrates
- 138 milligrams (mg) calcium
- 11.3 mg magnesium
- 194 mg potassium (vitamin K)
Cottage cheese benefits keep stacking up when you factor in its micronutrients like selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, folate, and more.
Not a cottage cheese eater? Here are a few reasons you might wanna give this snack a whirl.
1. Helps fill your protein quota
There’s a reason cottage cheese is a fitness industry fave. Just 1 cup low fat cottage cheese (1 percent milk fat) packs 28 grams of high quality protein into 163 calories.
And it’s not just any protein: Cottage cheese contains casein protein. A study with animals found that casein protein’s absorbed more slowly than other proteins. This could help prevent muscle breakdown and support a steady, gradual absorption of amino acids.
So, if you’re looking for gym #Gainz, you’ll get a boost from whey and casein — aka, the building blocks of cottage cheese. No wonder bodybuilders love the stuff!
2. Supports your bone health
Oh hello, bone-loving calcium!
If you’re between the ages of 19 and 50, the National Institutes of Health says you should aim for 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Just a cup o’ cottage cheese will get you nearly 14 percent of the way there!
It’s also a stellar source of phosphorus and protein — both important for healthy bones and teeth.
3. Helps keep your thyroid in tip-top shape
In addition to its calcium and protein content, cottage cheese is rich in essential minerals like selenium.
A cup of these curds = 36 percent of your recommended daily intake of selenium. Though you only need a teensy bit each day, this mineral is vital for healthy thyroid function.
A research review suggested that folks with thyroid disease can benefit from selenium supplementation. While that *doesn’t* mean you should go grab a bottle of supplements, it highlights the importance of noshing on selenium-rich foods for the sake of your thyroid.
4. Helps you stick to your weight loss goals
One of the most frequently touted benefits of cottage cheese? It can help you lose weight.
Here’s why: The casein protein in cottage cheese helps you feel full longer, which *might* keep your hands out of the proverbial cookie jar.
In one small 2012 study (“Alexa, play ‘Skyfall’ by Adele!”), women who pulled back on pasta and potatoes while upping their intake of high protein foods like cottage cheese and fatty fish lost an average of 6.2 pounds after a year. Not super impressed? Remember that these participants still steadily lost weight without making major lifestyle changes.
5. Soothes aching muscles
Cramping up after leg day? You curd always turn to cheese.
Cottage cheese curds contain a quartet of cramp-crushing electrolytes: calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
The fact that they’re all bundled together in one creamy snack is a solid reason to make this cheese part of your post-workout routine.
6. Does your heart a favor
We’ve already praised the selenium in cottage cheese. But we haven’t mentioned this mineral’s other potential benefit: heart health.
A research review linked selenium to a reduced risk of heart disease. To pamper your ticker in the best way possible, opt for low sodium cottage cheese — or just give your curds a quick rinse in a colander to remove excess salt.
7. Turns up your energy
Sure, you could rely on caffeine for your daily wake-up call, but a cup o’ cheese alongside your morning fruit might give you the little extra push you need.
Why? Well, because cottage cheese is swimming with vitamin B12 which, like other B vitamins, might boost your mood and support your body’s natural energy production.
Keep in mind: Vitamins and essential nutrients aren’t going to give you a jolt like espresso or energy drinks. Nourishing your body with nutritious foods like cottage cheese simply helps you feel better and more energetic 24/7.
There are few risks to consider when consuming cottage cheese.
- Lactose intolerance. Do you feel bloated and gassy after drinking cow’s milk? Or do other cheeses give you the runs? You might wanna skip these curds.
- Dairy allergy. Cottage cheese is made from cow’s milk. So, if you’re allergic to cow’s milk, avoid this creamy snack.
- Too much of a good thing. Medical experts have debated the health benefits of dairy for a long, long time. A research review suggested there’s little cause for concern if you’re sipping and snacking in moderation. Cottage cheese every other hour may be a bit much. Cottage cheese for breakfast? Probs A-OK.
Cottage cheese is a super-easy ingredient to add to your meals and snacks. The fact that it’s good for you is just the cherry on top!
To keep your cottage cheese as healthy as possible, opt for low fat varieties with no added sodium. Then pull up a chair, pull out a spoon, and enjoy!