Move over, trendy superfoods. There’s a humble dairy product stealing the spotlight: cottage cheese. Once considered a staple of dieting fads, cottage cheese has (thankfully!) undergone a remarkable transformation. Whether you love it—or are skeptical of it—cottage cheese is now being celebrated for its remarkable health benefits and versatility. Packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, cottage cheese is a staple amongst health enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to fuel your workouts, maintain a balanced diet, or snack on creamy goodness, cottage cheese is worth the fridge space. Need more convincing? Without further ado, I’m sharing how it supports women’s hormones and 10 cottage cheese pasta recipes.
What are the health benefits of cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. It’s also naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, making it a convenient addition to a well-rounded diet. Here are some of the key health benefits of cottage cheese:
1. Source of protein
Cottage cheese is a fantastic source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle health, and promoting satiety. It contains all the essential amino acids we need!
2. Aids in weight management
Because it’s high in protein, cottage cheese is an ideal food to include in your diet (whether or not you’re trying to lose weight). If you choose full-fat cottage cheese, its protein and fat content will help keep you full and satisfied. Win, win.
3. Improves bone health
A reliable source of dietary calcium, cottage cheese helps maintain strong bones and teeth. One cup of cottage cheese contains approximately 138 milligrams of calcium, which is about 14% of the recommended daily intake for adults.
4. Supports muscle recovery
Cottage cheese is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. These are required for building and repairing muscles—making it an ideal ingredient for anyone, especially athletes, pregnant women, and those looking to increase their muscle mass.
5. Promotes digestive health
Cottage cheese contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics can help improve digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, and support overall digestive health.
Cottage Cheese is an ideal Source of Protein
Along with building and repairing muscles, we also need protein for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Protein is abundant in plant and animal foods—including cottage cheese! In fact, one cup of cottage cheese contains approximately 28 grams of protein (which is more protein than a chicken breast). Cottage cheese is convenient for kids, athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone looking to increase their lean muscle mass. Additionally, the protein in cottage cheese is easily digestible. Meaning, it can be efficiently used for muscle growth. Pasteurized cottage cheese is also a great source of protein for pregnant women.
Allergic to lactose? Good Culture makes organic lactose-free cottage cheese!
can cottage cheese help balance blood glucose?
Yes! When we digest carbohydrates, they break down into glucose. And this glucose is released into the bloodstream. While we need carbs (they’re the body’s ideal form of energy!) it’s important to balance carbs with other blood sugar-friendly nutrients: protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Ultimately, the goal is to keep glucose levels within a normal range. After all, constant spikes and dips in blood sugar lead to mood swings, energy dips, headaches, and intense cravings. One of the best foods to keep blood sugar balanced? Cottage cheese.
How does Cottage Cheese Help Balance Blood Sugar?
Cottage cheese is low on the glycemic index, which means it doesn’t cause a rapid blood sugar spike. Given that we want steady blood sugar as often as possible, cottage cheese fits the glucose-friendly bill. It’s high in protein and digests slowly, making it particularly beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, a hormone imbalance, or anyone needing to manage their blood sugar levels (over 88% of Americans don’t have stable blood sugar). Additionally, cottage cheese contains magnesium. And magnesium has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, thus helping regulate blood sugar levels.
Want to nerd out on blood sugar? I have you covered.
cottage cheese supports healthy hormones
Along with supporting healthy blood sugar levels, cottage cheese also reinforces healthy hormones. Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances are extremely common. Many women experience irregular periods, acne, mood swings, and weight gain due to factors like stress, poor nutrition, and environmental toxins. Luckily, this is where cottage cheese comes in! It’s packed with hormone-supporting nutrients.
Protein is particularly important for hormone balance as it provides the building blocks for hormone production. As mentioned, cottage cheese contains all of the essential amino acids required for protein synthesis, making it a high-quality protein source.
Calcium is also critical for hormone regulation as it plays a role in the production and release of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. A diet low in calcium can lead to hormonal imbalances, which can affect various aspects of women’s health.
Furthermore, cottage cheese contains a variety of other nutrients that can support hormone balance. These include vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption and plays a role in hormone production, as well as B vitamins, which are necessary for healthy hormone metabolism.
should You buy organic cottage cheese?
Yes. When making these cottage cheese pasta recipes, opt for organic cottage cheese. Organic dairy products are produced using sustainable and humane farming practices, prioritizing the well-being of the animals and their surrounding environment. These products are free from synthetic hormones and antibiotics, too. On the other hand, conventional dairy products may contain traces of synthetic hormones, which are linked to various health problems—including disrupting the gut microbiome.
cottage cheese can support your overall Health
To summarize, cottage cheese is a well-rounded, nutritious ingredient that’s worth keeping on hand. It can support hormone balance in women, boost muscle repair and growth, as well as help maintain optimal blood sugar levels. Its high protein and calcium content—as well as other essential nutrients—make it an excellent addition to any diet. When purchasing dairy products, try to choose organic. This will help you avoid exposure to synthetic hormones and support sustainable farming practices. Along with other healthy lifestyle habits, cottage cheese can support your overall health and well-being.
10 Healthy Cottage Cheese pasta Recipes
Did you know that you can add cottage cheese to (almost) any pasta dish? Not only does it enhance the nutritional value of your meals, but it also adds a delightful creaminess. Below are 10 healthy and delicious cottage cheese pasta recipes. They’re easy to prepare and perfect for satisfying your pasta cravings— without compromising your health goals.
Keep in mind that these are meant to provide inspiration. Either trust your own measurements or take to Google!
Creamy Spinach and Cottage Cheese Pasta
This wholesome pasta dish combines the goodness of cottage cheese with tender spinach leaves. Start by cooking whole grain pasta according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté garlic and onion until fragrant. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in cottage cheese and a splash of milk to create a creamy sauce. Toss the cooked pasta into the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and serve hot. This dish is an excellent way to enjoy a balanced meal with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.
Cottage Cheese and Tomato Pasta Bake
For a comforting and satisfying meal, try this cottage cheese and tomato pasta bake. Cook your favorite pasta al dente and set aside. In a saucepan, combine canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Layer the cooked pasta with cottage cheese and tomato sauce in a baking dish. Top with grated parm and bake until golden and bubbly. This recipe provides a healthy twist to the traditional pasta bake while adding a protein-rich element.
Spicy Cottage Cheese and Vegetable Penne
If you enjoy a bit of heat, this spicy cottage cheese and vegetable penne dish is for you. Cook fiber-rich penne until al dente. In a skillet, sauté bell peppers, zucchini, and onions until crisp-tender. Add red pepper flakes, garlic, and tomato sauce, and cook for a few minutes. Stir in cottage cheese and cooked penne. Toss well to combine and heat through. This recipe offers a spicy kick along with the goodness of cottage cheese and colorful veggies.
Cottage Cheese and Mushroom Alfredo Pasta
For a creamy and flavorful pasta dish, try this cottage cheese and mushroom Alfredo recipe. Cook fettuccine according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté sliced mushrooms until golden brown. Add cottage cheese, low-fat milk, and grated Parmesan cheese to create a creamy sauce. Toss the cooked pasta and mushrooms in the sauce, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. This recipe provides a healthier alternative to traditional Alfredo sauce while maintaining a rich and satisfying taste.
Lemon and Herb Cottage Cheese Pasta Salad
Looking for a refreshing and light pasta dish? This lemon and herb cottage cheese pasta salad is the answer. Cook whole grain pasta until al dente, then rinse under cold water. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, lemon zest, fresh herbs like basil and parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add the cooled pasta and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled as a delightful side dish or a light main course.
Cottage Cheese and Broccoli Penne
This cottage cheese and broccoli penne dish is a fantastic way to incorporate more veggies into your pasta. Cook fiber-rich penne according to package instructions. In a steamer, cook broccoli florets until tender. In a pan, sauté garlic and red pepper flakes. Add cooked penne, cottage cheese, and steamed broccoli. Top with grated parm.
Creamy Avocado and Cottage Cheese Pasta
Cook whole wheat pasta (2 cups) according to the package. Drain and set aside. In a blender or food processor, combine avocado (one ripe avocado, peel and pit removed), cottage cheese (one cup), lemon juice (two tablespoons), and garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and creamy. Toss the cooked pasta with the avocado-cottage cheese sauce until well coated. Serve the pasta warm or chilled, and if desired, top with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for added freshness.
Protein-Packed Greek Cottage Cheese Pasta
Serve the Greek-inspired pasta salad as a refreshing and protein-packed meal! Cook lupini bean pasta (2 cups) according to the package. Drain and set aside. In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese (one cup), cucumber (1/2 cup), tomatoes (1/2 cup), chopped kalamata olives (1/2 cup), dill (2 tablespoons), olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper—to taste. Mix well.
Spinach and Cottage Cheese Stuffed Shells
Cook jumbo pasta shells (16 shells) according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. In a bowl, combine cottage cheese (two cups), spinach (one cup), Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup), one egg, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder—to taste. Mix well. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Stuff each cooked pasta shell with the cottage cheese and spinach mixture. Place them in the baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara sauce (two cups) over the stuffed shells. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the shells are heated through. Garnish with extra parm and fresh basil.
Cottage Cheese and Veggie Stir-Fry Pasta
In a small bowl, whisk together one cup low-fat cottage cheese, tamari (two tablespoons), and sesame oil (one tablespoon). Set aside. Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat. Add two cloves minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes (until fragrant). Add sliced bell peppers (one cup), zucchini (one cup), mushrooms (one cup), and broccoli florets (one cup) to the skillet. Stir-fry the vegetables for about 5-7 minutes—until they are tender-crisp. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet with the stir-fried vegetables. Pour the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta and vegetables. Gently toss and stir everything together. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until heated through. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.
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