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Cottage Cheese is a fresh, loose-cheese curd product which has a mild sweet taste to it. It got the name because in earlier days cheese was made from leftover milk that was available after making butter. It is unlike the other cheese, it is not colored, not pressed or aged. Since it is not pressed, some of the whey is still present and thus, curds remain loose.
It is readily available in any supermarket. It can also be made at home by using simple ingredients such as - half and half or heavy cream, salt, milk and vinegar. It is eaten with fruits, cereals, on toast, in desserts, it can also be consumed as a replacement for mayonnaise. Many people prefer to eat it plain.
Different types of Cottage Cheese are available depending on whether they are made from full-fat or low-fat milk, small-curd or large-curd preparations and no-sodium variety. Rennet, set of natural enzymes are used to speed up curdling and to retain the curd size.
The two most basic types are-
1. Small-curd, high-acid: This is made without Rennet. Since it has no Rennet, the process is slower, the chunks get broken up naturally and the acid build-up is more.
2. Large-curd, low-acid: This is made with Rennet. Thus, the process is faster and acid build-up is less. The chunks of curd are also retained. It is also called "Chunk-style Cottage Cheese".
Cottage Cheese is considered a favorite bedtime snack by many body-builders, weight-watchers and most of the athletes. It is also considered safe for all pregnant women, despite cheese products being a taboo for them. This is because of its high-protein (casein) and low-fat content. Consuming one bowl of cottage cheese could give you 58% of protein required as a daily intake. It is also a rich source of Phosphorus, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin and Calcium. It also has moderate quantities of Potassium, Iron and Zinc.
So, why is Cottage Cheese such a celebrity among health freaks?
1. Keeps you satiated: Cottage Cheese is an abundant reserve of Casein protein. This protein is a slow-digesting protein. It takes a longer time compared to other proteins to be metabolized by our body. This keeps your blood sugar levels in check, keeping you full for a longer time. This in turn keeps you from binge eating on unhealthy food. It also limits your calorie intake for the day.
2. Metabolism booster: Since the Casein protein present in Cottage Cheese is a slow-digesting protein, it uses up more energy. More energy requirement means a faster metabolism of fat by the cells. This boost in metabolism helps you burn more calories and aids in losing weight. So, you're burning a lot of calories while you sleep. Cottage Cheese is also rich in Leucine. Leucine is very important for weight loss.
3. Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) increases: REE is the calories you burn when you are at rest. Exercising obviously helps you burn calories, but we also burn a lot of calories while at rest. Consuming Cottage Cheese just before bed increases your REE for the following day.
4. Muscle growth is promoted: Cottage Cheese is a rich source of protein and low in fat and carbs. This promotes an increase in the Growth Hormone level in the body, which is more muscles in the body. Muscles burn calories faster, and this helps you lose weight too.
5. Better sleep: Cottage Cheese is rich in Tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that prevents insomnia, anxiety, depressions and other mental disorders. It is responsible for ensuring your body gets good rest and sleep at night.
6. Other essential nutrients: Cottage Cheese is a rich source of Phosphorus which is vital for healthy bones, teeth and a healthy kidney. It also has Vitamin B2 which is essential for the health of vital organs and for a goof metabolic process in the body. Best of all, it's a good source of Vitamin B12 which is beneficial for the nervous system.
7. Weight loss: If you're planning to lose weight by consuming Cottage Cheese, ensure you choose the low-fat kind. Regular exercise and a balanced diet along with Cottage Cheese as a bedtime snack is a very good plan for weight loss. But make sure you count the calories you'll be consuming out of Cottage Cheese into the 1200 count per day.
8. Muscle gain: If you're looking to gain muscles, have Cottage Cheese along with your normal calorie intake of 1500 per day. Its rich protein content and the fat from other food you consume will promote growth of muscles.
Here are some snacks made with Cottage Cheese you can consume before you go to bed:
Cottage Cheese with Peanut Butter: Cottage Cheese alone is a fat-burning food because of its casein content. Adding a tablespoon (don't get too greedy) of Peanut Butter to it further decreases its metabolism by the cells in our body, keeping you full for an even longer time.
Cottage Cheese with Fruits: Any fruit will not do. Stick to berries or apples. Mix these up with Cottage Cheese and just eat it plain. It's healthy and yummy! Be careful not to add fruits with high sugar content, Cottage Cheese already has a mildly-sweet taste, and it will ruin the whole point of a healthy bedtime snack.
Cottage Cheese with Tomatoes and Herbs: To give it a non-sweetish taste. Add crushed tomatoes and your favorite herbs. This will provide some variety from the usual sweet Cottage Cheese snacks.
Cottage Cheese with Pesto and Eggs: Just beat up some eggs how you like them and add them to the Cottage Cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Cottage Cheese and Chocolate Shake: If you're a muscle fan, this is the best option for you. Add a spoonful of Peanut Butter and Protein Powder to Cottage Cheese and crush it up. Your muscles will thank you for this delight.
Could you have imagined this simple food to be such a wonder?
Well, it is. Use it well