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Is Cottage Cheese Good for You?

Cottage cheese has long been a favorite among athletes and people trying to watch their weight. Mild and fresh, it’s made from curdled milk. After draining, the curds are washed to remove residual acids, giving cottage cheese a sweeter taste.

Cottage cheese is rich in protein, relatively low in fat, and high in calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin A.

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What Are the Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese?

cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium, a mineral that plays a major role in tooth and bone health, and in the prevention of osteoporosis. It also helps you to regulate your blood pressure and might even play a role in preventing certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.

Learn More: 8 fast facts about calcium! »

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If you’re concerned that your child is lethargic, consider adding cottage cheese to their diet. According to a 2005 study, young children who eat more dairy products such as cottage cheese and milk have more energy.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that includes high blood sugar levels, which is a major concern for people with diabetes. A British study found that eating dairy products such as cottage cheese can decrease the likelihood of metabolic syndrome in men, both who have and do not have diabetes.

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Calcium and Bones
Cottage cheese is high in calcium, though a recent study found no connection between increasing dairy consumption in children and adolescents and increased bone mineralization.

Cottage cheese may also be helpful in promoting weight loss. Studies show that a diet including cottage cheese — along with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and vegetable oils — can be highly effective for achieving and maintaining weight loss. In another study, a higher intake of protein and dairy products like cottage cheese helped overweight and obese premenopausal women achieve sustained fat loss and lean muscle gain.

Some brands of cottage cheese include fermented or live cultures, which are known as probiotics. Lactobacillus GG is a specific type of probiotic that has been shown to have major health benefits. The most commonly known advantage of consuming foods containing probiotics is that it aids in gut health.

What do you need to know about probiotics? »

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Making Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is usually served fresh, and is never aged. Different varieties of tastes and curd size can be created depending on the fat level of the milk.

Are There Any Negatives to Cottage Cheese? 

Calcium may be good for bones and teeth, but sodium (salt) is not. According to one study, cottage cheese’s high sodium content — 696mg per cup — might counterbalance the positive effects of calcium on blood pressure.

Calcium itself can also be unhealthy in high quantities, according to some research. One study found that high dairy or calcium intake increased the risk of prostate cancer. The data on this topic is mixed. If you are concerned about prostate cancer, discuss dairy intake with your doctor.

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A Note on Cancer Treatments

Alternative medicine and special diets have long been used to treat diseases such as cancer, though not always with positive results. The Bill Henderson Protocol (BHP) is a diet that claims to treat cancer by increasing intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, through flaxseed oil and cottage cheese. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says that there is no evidence that this regimen works, and cautions against it as a treatment of cancer.

The Takeaway

Cottage cheese is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals like calcium, which are important nutrients for continued good health. However, the sodium in cottage cheese might work against the benefits. As with anything, moderation is key.

Article Resources
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  • Budwig Diet. (2014, November 13). Retrieved from http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/budwig-diet-0
  • Chan, J. M., Stampfer, M. J., Ma, J., Gann, P. H., Gaziano, J. M., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2001). Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians' Health Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition74(4), 549-554. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/74/4/549.short.
  • Elwood, P. C., Pickering, J. E., & Fehily, A. M. (2007). Milk and dairy consumption, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome: the Caerphilly prospective study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61(8), 695-698. Retrieved from http://jech.bmj.com/content/61/8/695.short.
  • Goldin, B.R. (1998). Health benefits of probiotics. The British Journal of Nutrition, 80(4), S203-7. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9924285.
  • Joeckel, E., Haber, T., Prawitt, D., Junker, K., Hampel, C., Thuroff, J.W., Roos, F.C., & Brenner, W. (2014, February 28). High calcium concentration in bones promotes bone metastasis in renal cell carcinomas expressing calcium-sensing receptor. Molecular Cancer, 13(42). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24576174
  • Josse, A. R., Atkinson, S. A., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Phillips, S. M. (2011). Increased consumption of dairy foods and protein during diet-and exercise-induced weight loss promotes fat mass loss and lean mass gain in overweight and obese premenopausal women. The Journal of Nutrition141(9), 1626-1634. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21775530
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  • Mannion, C., Page, S., Bell, L. H., & Verhoef, M. (2010). Components of an anticancer diet: Dietary recommendations, restrictions and supplements of the Bill Henderson Protocol. Nutrients3(1), 1-26. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257729.
  • Ostrowska, L., Stefanska, E., Jastrzebska, M., Adamska, E., Wujek, A., & Waszczeniuk, M. (2012). Effects of dietary habits modifications on selected metabolic parameters during weight loss in obese persons. Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny, 63(1), 83-90. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22642074
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