Tofu has been around for thousands of years and has become popular in recent decades due to its health benefits. It can be cooked in myriad ways and it adds a different texture to dishes like stir fry and soups. Now, it is a staple of many vegan diets. Learn more about the health benefits of tofu!

Tofu has been a staple in Japan for thousands of years. In fact, according to tradition it was originally created as a means of storing nutrients from the soybeans before they were harvested. Even today tofu remains an important staple among many Japanese dishes such as sukiyaki or nikujaga.

A type of soybean curd, tofu is made by coagulating soy milk with calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride or sodium alginate, then pressing the resulting curds into blocks.

Tofu is made from soybeans fermented with calcium sulfate, magnesium chloride or sodium alginate as mentioned above; the fermentation process involves adding salt and water into the paste that is formed by mixing soy milk with these salts. The mixture turns into curds that are pressed together to make tofu. The pressing removes much of the moisture, resulting in tofu.

Health benefits of tofu:

Nutritional information | per 100 grams

  • 73 kcal
  • 2g fat
  • 5g sat fat
  • 7g carbohydrate
  • 1g protein

Now, let’s learn more about why tofu is good for you!

1.    Rich in protein and calcium:

Tofu is a soy-based food that is often used in the vegan diet. The protein in tofu comes from soybeans, whereas other proteins might come from other sources.

Tofu is high in protein and calcium which helps to build strong bones and increase bone density. It also provides nutrients such as iron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, and potassium.

The health benefits of tofu include it being a rich source of calcium and iron for vegans and vegetarians who need to watch their consumption because they are mostly plant-based diets.  It contains about 10% of the daily value of iron as well as a good source of vitamin B12.

2.   Help prevent cardiovascular disease:

Soy isoflavones are found in some soy products, which are known to have many health benefits. One of these benefits is reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers evaluated the effect of consuming tofu, which is high in protein and cholesterol-lowering nutrients such as selenium and vitamin B12. The results showed that those who consumed tofu had better blood pressure, decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, improved blood lipids (fats), reduced triglycerides levels, improved insulin sensitivity, and improved endothelial function (a measure of heart health).

3.   Help prevent breast and prostate cancer:

Tofu is high in antioxidants, polyphenols, and beta-carotene which help reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping free radicals at bay. It also contains high amounts of selenium which helps fight against cancer cells by disabling their growth. Moreover, tofu helps reduce dampness, swelling, and inflammation of the breasts due to its high absorbency capacity

Also since Tofu contains no cholesterol or saturated fats, it likewise promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Due to the high amounts of soy and genistein in tofu, it has been suggested that those who eat a lot of soy may be less likely to develop breast or prostate cancer. In addition, the antioxidants found in soy may help prevent cell death from cancerous cells.

4.   Help reduce risk of and maintain type 2 diabetes:

Tofu has been found to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It is a low-calorie food that is an excellent source of protein and it can be prepared in many different ways to cater to various tastes and preferences. It contains protein for those who have difficulty getting protein from other sources or those who are on weight-loss diets.

Moreover, tofu is a vegetarian source of protein that contains low amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, which is good for people with diabetes. In addition, it can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow.

5.   Improves kidney function:

A study on the effects of tofu consumption on kidney function was conducted by researchers from Aichi Prefectural University.

The study showed that those who ate more tofu had 50% higher levels of creatinine clearance than those who ate less tofu. Creatinine is a waste product that gets removed from the blood by the kidneys and it is a good indicator of how well your kidneys are functioning.

In addition, those who ate more tofu also had significantly lower levels of albumin – which is an indication that their kidney function improved as well.

6.   Help prevent osteoporosis

Soy protein and calcium may be the best way to prevent osteoporosis and related fractures. Tofu soy isoflavones have been shown in animal studies to reduce bone loss, which explains its use in Asian countries that have a high incidence of osteoporosis. Tofu soy isoflavones also help strengthen bones by increasing bone mineral density.

In this study, researchers found that those who had been eating tofu as their main protein source had a lower risk of developing hip fractures as well as a higher bone mineral density than those who ate plant-based proteins such as nuts, beans, or legumes.

7.    Aid with the symptoms of menopause:

Menopause can cause a variety of symptoms that occur within the first few years after menstruation. The most common symptoms are hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, bone loss and changes in sleep quality.

Menopause is the time during which women transition through their reproductive years from having menstrual cycles to not having them anymore. It is generally defined as one year after a woman’s last period ended.

Although the process of menopause is inevitable for most women, there are ways to cope with it. One way to ease the symptoms is by eating a well-balanced diet that includes tofu. Tofu is full of protein and other nutrients that can help to regain ideal body weight.

How to cook tofu?

The texture of tofu can best be described as rubbery, and it has basically no taste. However, if you know the right technique, tofu can be cooked to the perfect consistency. It’s ability to soak in flavors makes it the perfect vehicle for so many dishes.

Tofu is a great source of protein in a vegetarian diet. It also has a long shelf life and tastes great when pan-fried in soy sauce with sesame oil and garlic. Tofu can be made into a variety of dishes, which vary in ingredients and preparation styles. The following are some of my best tofu dishes:

My favorite tofu recipes:

Jerk Tofu

Smothered Vegan Fried Chicken

Easy Tofu Scramble

Curry Tofu with Cauliflower

Sesame Tofu

Tofu Bacon

Pan-Fried Tofu with Cranberry Sauce

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