Discover the amazing health benefits of tofu and why it should be a part of your healthy diet! Consuming tofu has many benefits, from heart health, weight loss, and bone health to its potential cancer-fighting properties. Incorporating this versatile and delicious ingredient into your meals is easy and tasty. Elevate your health and try tofu today!
Tofu is a nutrient-dense food that offers many health benefits. It is a great source of plant-based protein, low in calories, and rich in minerals such as calcium and iron. It is full of health benefits! It has been a staple in Asian cuisine for years, sometimes known as bean curd. Recently, it has become a lot more popular and is known worldwide as a healthy food option. Tofu has many versatile uses in cooking and is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly protein source. People often use it in dishes such as stir-fries, soups, salads, and even desserts.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds into soft, white blocks. It is a great source of protein, especially for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a good choice for those looking to manage their weight.
If you are looking for a way to get in important nutrients, including calcium, iron, and magnesium, tofu is a great option. There are many different types of tofu including extra-firm tofu and silken tofu. There are also soft and medium tofus, people tend to use different consistencies of tofu depending on what they are using it for.
Nutritional Benefits of Tofu
Tofu is a great plant-based protein source because of all the nutrients it contains. A 100-gram serving of firm tofu has 144 calories, 14.8 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, and 2.7 grams of carbs. It also has 1 gram of fiber and a healthy amount of vitamin B12. Of course, the exact nutritional content of tofu can vary depending on how it is prepared and what type of tofu it is.
When following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is especially important to make sure that you are finding quality plant protein sources. The downside of most plant based proteins is that they lack a lot of the minerals that your body needs to thrive. Fortunately, tofu is packed with minerals that you will not find in other plant based proteins.
Tofu contains all nine essential amino acids that your body is not able to produce by itself. For most tofu brands, part of the process involves using calcium sulfate to get the protein and oil in the soymilk to form the curd, which gives it an extra power punch of calcium aside from the calcium it naturally contains.
Different types of tofu have different nutrient contents. If you are consuming firm tofu that has been prepared with calcium sulfate you can expect to be consuming about providing 861 mg or 66% of your recommended daily value of calcium. This type of tofu is also a great way to get manganese into your diet. It provides you 1.5 mg o of it in a serving which is 65% of the recommended daily value you need to be taking in.
One other mineral that tofu contains that most people either do not know about or think much about is selenium. One serving of tofu provides 21.9mcg of selenium which is almost 40% of the recommended daily value needed. You can also expect to get a good amount of copper in your diet by eating tofu.
By eating firm tofu you will also be getting plenty of iron, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium which are all important parts of a healthy diet. Soft tofu can have slightly different nutritional content than firm tofu.
What are Soy Isoflavones?
Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, a plant-based compound with a chemical structure similar to the hormone estrogen. They are found in many foods but are most commonly known to be found in soy foods, including soybeans and soy-based products like tofu. This compound has been studied extensively for its potential health benefits.
Soy isoflavones may also be useful in alleviating symptoms associated with menopause and helping in preventing osteoporosis in women who are postmenopausal. Some women have also reported that consuming that consuming soy products has helped to combat hot flashes as well as feelings of fatigue and irritability.
Tofu and Heart Health: Is Tofu Good For Your Heart?
Heart health is something most adults are concerned with, especially if there is a history of heart disease that runs in the family. It is important to make healthy food choices throughout life to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your heart. However, for some people, heart problems are hard to avoid due to genetics, or they have a history of poor health and must do everything they can to bounce back.
Tofu can be beneficial for heart health, by adding tofu into your diet you may be able to reduce your risk of heart disease. It is low in saturated fat, which can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood and is known for negatively impacting heart health. Tofu also contains plant sterols, which can help block cholesterol absorption in the intestine. By blocking cholesterol absorption, the overall cholesterol level in the blood can be reduced, which is, again, very good for the heart.
Soy protein, another heart-healthy nutrient, has also been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood, and tofu is full of it. It has been found that consuming soy protein can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 3-4%, which can be huge for some people. It is also naturally low in sodium and rich in potassium, which is important for those needing to regulate blood pressure. If you consume too much sodium, you can increase blood pressure levels, so eating foods lower in sodium is a great way to keep tabs on blood pressure.
Tofu and Weight Loss: Does Tofu Help with Weight Loss?
Tofu may not be one of the first foods to come to your mind when thinking of weight loss, but it can be very beneficial to include tofu in your diet if you are trying to slim down. It is low in calories and high in protein, making it a great food for weight management. The higher protein and fiber content of tofu helps to promote feelings of fullness which will help keep you from snacking all day and adding extra unneeded calories to your diet.
Tofu is also a versatile food that can be used in various dishes, making it a good option for replacing higher-calorie and less nutritious foods. While tofu can be a healthy addition to a weight loss diet, it’s important to still eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods and to stay within your daily calorie needs.
How Tofu Helps with Bone Health
Calcium is an important mineral and contributing factor in maintaining strong and healthy bones. Many people need to realize that tofu is actually a great calcium source. Getting enough calcium in your diet is challenging for some, especially if you do not consume animal products.
Eating foods high in calcium, like tofu, can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more prone to fractures. In just 100 grams of tofu, you will typically be provided with around 350 milligrams of calcium, about 35% of the recommended daily intake for adults.
Tofu is also a good source of other important nutrients for bone health, including magnesium and phosphorus. Magnesium is needed for the proper absorption and metabolism of calcium, while phosphorus is an important component of bones and teeth. Some studies suggest that isoflavones, which tofu has plenty of, can increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women.
Tofu and Cancer Prevention
Cancer is the big word that we all seem to worry more and more about as we age. Each year, there seems to be another list of potential cancer-causing foods and substances that we are told to worry about. Rather than worrying about things that might cause cancer, we can focus on consuming things that have plenty of health benefits and might be able to battle potential cancer-causing things in our lives.
Some research suggests that tofu can reduce the risk of certain cancers. For example, research has shown that soy products like tofu may be associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. This may be partly due to the isoflavones in soy, which can act as a weak estrogen in the body and may help block the effects of stronger estrogens that can promote the growth of breast cancer cells.
Some studies have also suggested that consuming soy products may be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer. However, the evidence in this area is inconclusive, and more research is needed to fully understand the potential anti-cancer effects of soy and tofu but consuming more soy and tofu products, in moderation, of course, is likely to do more good than harm.
Remember that if you have a history of breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers, you should talk to your doctor before consuming large amounts of soy products.
How to Incorporate Tofu into Your Diet
There are many ways to include tofu in your diet, and if you are skeptical of it, I promise you it will be much better than you expect. One very popular way to utilize tofu is by adding it to stir-fries. You can cut tofu into cubes or slices and add it to your favorite stir-fry recipe just like you would your favorite protein or veggies. If you are not wanting to cut animal protein from your diet but do want to add tofu for its multiple benefits, you can mix the two protein sources for a delicious meal.
Tofu scramble is a good vegan alternative to scrambled eggs and is easy to make. Just crumble firm tofu and cook it with veggies and seasonings for a delicious breakfast or brunch. Remember that tofu tends to absorb whatever flavors you are cooking with rather than having a flavor that stands on its own so the possibilities are truly endless.
You can also add tofu to soups and salads for extra protein and a creamy texture. It is commonly used by vegans as a cheese or cream substitute but do not be stuck thinking tofu is only for people following plant based diets!
Silken tofu can be blended with herbs, spices, and olive oil to make a creamy salad dressing or you can blend it into your favorite smoothie recipe. The possibilities are endless!
These are just a few ideas for incorporating tofu into your diet. So go ahead, try experimenting with different recipes and cooking methods to find your favorite ways to enjoy both the taste and health benefits of tofu.