Is Cottage Cheese Good For You?

When it comes to cottage cheese's mild flavor and creamy texture, people are often firmly in the "love it" or "hate it" camp. While it's still popular among athletes and those who are working hard to stick to exercise goals, its popularity in recent decades among the general public has given way to a newer protein-packed powerhouse: Greek yogurt. Considering the similar nutritional profiles of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt — with cottage cheese leading in protein, and Greek yogurt edging ahead in calcium and lower sodium — maybe cottage cheese actually deserves a little more love.

"Everything comes around full circle, and it's time for cottage cheese to get its day," Debbie Petitpain, wellness director at the Medical University of South Carolina and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Consumer Reports.

Cottage cheese is relatively low in calories and super high protein, with 28 grams per cup, making it a favorite bedtime snack of athletes who are trying to build muscle mass. Most of the protein is in the form of casein, which is slowly absorbed and promotes muscle growth and repair (via WebMD). Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals — most notably calcium, vitamin B12, and selenium — making it a nutrient-dense food (via Healthline).

Cottage cheese can help build muscle mass

With so many things in its favor, what's not to love about cottage cheese? Well, the sodium content, for one. According to Consumer Reports, cottage cheese can easily contain 300-400 grams of sodium per half-cup serving, although "low-sodium" and "no salt added" options are now available. Also, cottage cheese will likely not be an option for those who have a dairy allergy. However, lactose-free cottage cheese options do exist for those who are lactose-intolerant.

All in all, cottage cheese is a nutrient-packed food that deserves a place in health-conscious diets. Cottage cheese is a "fresh" cheese, meaning that it doesn't go through an aging process, unlike many other kinds of cheese. This means it has a mild flavor, which gives it a lot of versatility in food preparation. It can be enjoyed fresh, with a sprinkling of herbs or fruit, or it can be used in pasta dishes, pancake recipes, and more.

It's not pretentious, but that's also part of its appeal. "A single ingredient food doesn't have much opportunity to reinvent itself to become sexy," Debbie Petitpain adds. "But the health benefit comes in the simplicity itself."