Protein consists of separate amino acids that work together to perform necessary functions. While many plant products contain some amino acids, animal products, including dairy items, provide a rich source of complete protein. Cottage cheese contains varying amounts of all the essential amino acids, those building blocks of protein that your body can’t manufacture on its own.
Protein exists in every cell in your body. This important nutrient helps support the health of your tissues, including your muscles, glands, organs and skin. After eating protein, your body breaks this nutrient down into amino acids. Individual amino acids play various roles in maintaining various systems and helping you perform certain functions. Your body makes its own nonessential amino acids, although you must obtain essential amino acids from food sources. The amino acids that your body cannot make include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Cottage cheese contains all nine of the essential amino acids, as well as the nonessential amino acids that help form protein. One cup of low fat cottage cheese provides your body with more than 6 grams of glutamic acid, over 3 grams of protein and more than 2 grams of both leucine and lysine, as well as varying amounts of the other amino acids. All together, the amino acids in a single cup of cottage cheese provide 28 grams of protein.
Regular consumption of cottage cheese helps ensure you obtain adequate amounts of amino acids. Each amino acid plays a specific role in your body and can also affect your brain. The Franklin Institute warns against trying to manipulate your intake of specific amino acids by taking individual supplements, but instead advises consuming foods, such as cheese, to obtain these protein particles.
Although cottage cheese is a nutritious food that contains amino acids, as well as other nutrients, eating too much of any one food can lead to an imbalance of nutrients. To avoid nutritional deficiencies, consume a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from every food group. Select nonfat or low-fat types of cottage cheese to avoid excessive amounts of fat in your diet, especially if you are overweight.