The oft-ordered dish in restaurants and perhaps the only ‘tasty’ dish vegetarians eat (as claimed by several meat eaters), paneer or cottage cheese has a dedicated fan following in India at least. A product made from milk, it is used in several forms such as chunks,bhurji(small bits), fried, sautéed, barbequed, grilled, etc. Basically, paneer is an all-rounder when it comes to ways it can be eaten and tastes good almost in all these forms. Since it is eaten so much, you might think if its health benefits match up to its popularity status. And surprisingly, paneer is an excellent combination of taste and health.
1Good source of protein
Perhaps common knowledge by now, but paneer is a good source of protein especially for vegetarians who do not get their intake from meat products. 100 gm of paneer yields about 18 gm of protein which is good for people who weight train as they need protein for muscle building and repair. Apart from this, proteins are loaded with a wide range of health benefits.
2Keeps hunger pangs at bay
Since paneer is made of protein, it releases energy slowly in the body which means, it does not cause a spike in one’s blood sugar levels, nor does it give an instant boost which drops soon. It keeps one satiated for long after eating it which is why it can be used as evening snack to kill those hunger pangs.
3Builds stronger teeth
Paneer also has calcium apart from protein. This helps in building stronger teeth and bones (to a certain extent). Though it is a milk product, it is better than milk when it comes to nutrition. Having the same amount of milk and protein will yield more nutrition from paneer, the only hitch being, you will intake more calories from it too. You can include these foods, apart from milk and milk products in your diet for healthier teeth.
4Helps burn more fat
Apart from being rich in protein and calcium, paneer is a great source of conjugated linoleic acid — a fatty acid which helps lose weight by increasing the fat burning process in the body. So people who wish to lose weight, should definitely include a paneer dish in their diet plans. Although diet plays a major role in weight loss, HIIT is an effective workout to burn most calories.
5Prevents deadly diseases
The humble paneer is in fact quite useful to prevent deadly diseases such as cancer by preventing the growth of cancer-causing cells in the body. Not just this, it also protects against heart disease by lowering the fat deposition in the arteries.
Though paneer has these benefits, it is not free from controversy. Many believe that it is fattening and hence, you should stay away from it. The truth is, although high on the calorie metre (100 gm = 292 calories), paneer works for people who have an active lifestyle as they will burn those calories easily and gain its nutrients. But moderation is essential — do not have excess amounts but you do not have to shun it completely either. Read more about which is healthier food option: Paneer VS Cheese or Paneer VS Tofu.