Cottage cheese and flaxseed are widely recognized as being healthy foods on their own for a variety of reasons, but their combined effects were first noted by German cancer researcher Dr. Johanna Budwig in the early 1950s. Budwig believed that cells become cancerous when cellular membranes become clogged and dysfunctional. Without a healthy and permeable membrane, communication and exchange of nutrients between the inside and outside of cells is greatly reduced. She thought that combining flaxseed oil with cottage cheese allows essential oils to be easily absorbed into the cell membrane, which reestablishes communication and nutrient exchange and deters cancer development.
Cottage cheese is curd made by adding enzymes to milk fat. It’s called cottage cheese because it was commonly made at home or in “cottages” starting in the mid 1800s, although evidence exists that ancient Romans actually began the process. Cottage cheese is high in protein, rich in some minerals and vitamins but relatively low in fat. For example, a 1-ounce portion of cottage cheese derived from 4 percent milkfat contains about 30 calories, 3.5 grams of protein and 1.3 grams of fat that’s predominantly saturated. Cottage cheese is also available as low-fat varieties made from either 1 percent or 2 percent milk. The majority of protein in cottage cheese is from casein. Cottage cheese is also an excellent source of calcium, selenium, phosphorus and riboflavin. Health benefits from eating cottage cheese include ample protein for muscle growth and repair and minerals for strong bones and teeth.
Flaxseed oil is derived from grinding and squeezing the fatty oil out of flaxseeds. Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, antioxidants called lignans, many B vitamins and magnesium. Lignans help to balance estrogen and may promote fertility, reduce symptoms of menopause and help prevent breast cancer. ALA helps to reduce inflammation in your body, which may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and help to combat the symptoms of arthritis and autoimmune conditions. Magnesium is important for healthy bones and normal muscle tone.
Budwig Cancer Diet
Budwig recommended eating nothing but cottage cheese drizzled with fresh-pressed flaxseed oil for many weeks until there was evidence that the cancer disappeared or reduced significantly. Despite some anecdotal reports of success over the years, modern medicine does not recognize Budwig's claims, so it’s best to view cottage cheese and flaxseed oil as a healthy snack instead of a miracle cure. Combining cottage cheese with flaxseed oil will likely not excite your taste buds, so add vegetables, herbs or spices to improve the taste. For a sweeter snack or healthy dessert, add blueberries, walnuts and/or organic honey.
Most cottage cheese is quite high in sodium, so if you are worried about your blood pressure, look for brands that offer low-sodium choices. In addition, ALA thins the blood, which means it reduces the ability for your blood to clot. Avoid flaxseed oil if you are taking blood-thinning medications or are scheduled for any surgical procedures.
- The Nutribase Complete Book of Food Counts; Art Ulene
- Contemporary Nutrition: Functional Approach; Gordon M. Wardlaw et al.
- American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies; American Cancer Society
Sirah Dubois is currently a PhD student in food science after having completed her master's degree in nutrition at the University of Alberta. She has worked in private practice as a dietitian in Edmonton, Canada and her nutrition-related articles have appeared in The Edmonton Journal newspaper.