Benefits of Cottage Cheese Post-Workout

Cottage cheese in white bowl with strawberries, plaid napkin
A bowl of cottage cheese topped with strawberries. (Image: a_namenko/iStock/Getty Images)

Quality post-workout nutrition assists muscle recovery and supports your healthy lifestyle and fitness goals. Eating cottage cheese after a workout gives your body protein and carbohydrates for post-exercise muscle recovery. Low-fat cottage cheese gives you a nutrient-rich snack that's low in saturated fat. This portable dairy product also has specific health benefits for your bones and muscles that can keep your body in good condition for a lifetime of workouts.

Post-Workout Nutrition

During a workout that places demands on your muscles, such as weightlifting, it's normal to experience tiny tears in the muscle tissue. This minor damage to muscles and the repair process result in the muscles becoming stronger. Carbohydrates replace the muscles' fuel, glycogen. Protein helps to build muscle. One amino acid, glutamine, is particularly valuable in helping the body recover after a heavy workout, and endurance athletes may deplete glutamine. Cottage cheese supplies glutamine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than hard cheeses such as cheddar or creamy cheeses such as brie, making it a healthier post-exercise snack choice for your heart and your waistline. At 79 percent water, it's also relatively high in water compared to many other protein foods, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Cheddar cheese is only 37 percent water. Cottage cheese can improve your hydration after a workout, helping to replace fluid lost through perspiration.

Cottage Cheese Benefits

Consuming cottage cheese after a workout not only provides protein, it can contribute to bone health, too. Cottage cheese is a good source of calcium. A single 1-cup serving of 1-percent milk fat cottage cheese provides 138 milligrams of calcium, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. That's 14 percent of the daily value of calcium, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Adequate calcium intake and regular weight-bearing exercise help maintain bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Serving Suggestions

Mixing fruit into cottage cheese adds sweetness without sugar, healthy fiber, more vitamins and minerals and can turn plain cottage cheese into a treat. A snack of cottage cheese can help to fill your protein needs if you miss a meal. Simple additions for a post-workout cottage cheese snack include apples, peaches, nectarines, berries or cherries, frozen mangos, pineapples, bananas and dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries or raisins. For a savory snack, mix in a slice of avocado cut in chunks with a spoonful of chunky salsa or a handful of chopped celery and nuts.

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