If you are looking for nutritious and complete food, tofu is an option that you should consider. It has a high vitamin content and contributes to general well-being. If you want to know more about the health benefits of tofu, keep reading. Here you will also find out how to prepare it, how to eat it, and if it is safe to consume. You will be surprised at the great nutritional value it has.
Where does tofu come from?
This ancient and nutritious food originates from China and is particularly popular in Japanese and Korean cuisine. It is also a favorite in vegetarian and vegan meals.
Tofu is made from soy milk that has been cooked and shaved. It is known as soy cheese or tofu cheese because the preparation is similar to that of cow cheese.
What distinguishes tofu from other foods?
The texture of tofu or soy cheese can be soft or firm, and it also has a mild flavor and color. It is a good source of antioxidants, isoflavones, proteins, fiber, and vitamins. The following are the important vitamins and minerals you can find in tofu:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B-6
- Folic acid
How to eat tofu?
Tofu may be eaten in several ways. It can be used in both savory and sweet recipes due to its versatility. You can eat it in lasagnas, pizzas, vegetable quiche, cream, soups, vegan burgers, salads, vegan cheese bread, gratin vegetables, and pudding.
If you are a vegetarian or have an intolerance to meat and need to consume protein, tofu will be your ally. You can start introducing these food options into your daily diet as a substitute for meat and dairy products. You can also consume tofu in pates and pastes, on a grill or roast, or uncooked.
How to prepare and cook tofu?
If you want to prepare your tofu at home, you will only need 1 kg of soybeans and filtered water. To prepare it, follow these steps:
- Soybeans should be washed with running water.
- Reserve the items in a jar with around 3 liters of water after washing, and lets the beans soak at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours.
- In the blender, all the grains are combined with filtered water after these 8–10 hours (with 1 cup of water for every 1 cup of soybeans).
- 4.5 liters of water are heated in a pot while the beaten soy is set aside
- Put the beaten soy in the hot water when it has been heated, and stir continuously until it boils.
- Turn off the heat once the contents are boiling and stir them while separating the soy from the milk with a thin towel.
- Makes the coagulant ready: use 5 teaspoons of bitter salt, commonly known as calcium chloride or magnesium sulfate. Ideally, dissolve them in 1/2 cup of warm water.
- Carefully stir in the coagulant while heating the milk.
- The clots that developed are collected with a skimmer, and the surface is covered with a perforated pattern.
- To give it shape, weight must be applied for ten minutes. The tofu should then be placed in a deep container and covered for 10 minutes with cold and filtered water.
- The tofu should be left in an ice-filled container after being unshaped.
The water in the tofu should be changed every day, and it should be kept in the refrigerator. It usually has a five-day validity period.
What are the tofu nutrition benefits?
The nutritional benefits of this powerful food are what make it so popular and desired by many. For every 100 gr of tofu serving you can get:
- 0.7g Carbohydrate
- 4.2g Fat
- 0.5g Saturated fat
- 8.1g Protein
And best of all, it is low in calories, only 73 kcal / 304KJ per 100 gr. Tofu’s calcium levels vary, so read labels and look for a product that is ‘calcium set,’ which means it contains calcium chloride (E509) or calcium sulfate (E516).
What are the main 5 health benefits of tofu?
Tofu can help you improve your overall health. This is a source of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins, which aid in the proper functioning of the body. Tofu also aids in the prevention of a variety of diseases. But the top 5 main benefits are the following:
Could lessen menopause symptoms
Isoflavones are also known as phytoestrogens which means they mimic a weak form of the hormone estrogen in the body. This helps some women with perimenopausal symptoms such as low mood and hot flashes.
Although the intestinal microbiota, genetics, and environmental factors play a role in the way our bodies react to certain foods, it cannot be guaranteed that a diet based on these types of foods is beneficial for all women.
Source of antioxidants that preserve the health
Soya beans are high in isoflavones and other active plant compounds like saponins. Soy food such as tofu contains natural compounds known as isoflavones, which are powerful antioxidants that help reduce the damage caused by molecules known as free radicals. This oxidative stress is linked to aging as well as the onset of some chronic diseases.
May benefit heart health and avoid cardiovascular disease
Regular consumption of isoflavone-rich foods, such as tofu, has been linked to lower cholesterol levels. According to studies, this includes a decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, as well as total cholesterol. Regular consumption of legumes, including soya, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease. This is thought to be due to their high concentration of phytochemicals and fiber.
May help with blood sugar control
In one study, postmenopausal women who ingested 100 mg of soy isoflavones daily reported a 15% and 23% decrease in fasting blood sugar levels and insulin levels. Similarly, soy protein isolate supplementation in diabetic postmenopausal women improved cholesterol control and reduced fasting insulin and insulin resistance.
A meta-analysis indicates that we still have more to learn in this area, although other research has yielded conflicting results. However, further research is required before we can say that eating soy products like tofu is beneficial.
‘Complete’ plant protein source
The human being needs essential amino acids for its functions of repair, growth, and strengthening of immunity. Tofu and soybeans contain a high value of protein that provides 9 essential amino acids. The ability of the protein in soy to be absorbed by our bodies is good. Some research suggests that it may even be on par with that of animal protein.
Can everyone eat tofu?
Except for those who have a soya allergy, tofu is generally considered to be harmless for most people. Additionally, soybeans are thought to be goitrogenic, which means they interfere with the thyroid’s ability to function. If you have a thyroid issue, you might want to limit your intake even if this effect may be negligible in reality.
Oxalate is present in tofu and other soy products; those who have previously experienced calcium oxalate kidney stones may decide to limit their intake. However, soy products with some oxalate and a moderate amount of phytates can be helpful for people who are suffering from kidney stones.
Enjoy the health benefits of tofu
There are numerous benefits you can receive if you eat tofu. Including it in our daily diet will provide us with many important nutrients. After reading this blog, you now know how to prepare it at home and how to include it in delicious dishes. So, do not hesitate to try it and start enjoying the wonderful health benefits of tofu.
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I am a professional health and nutrition writer with extensive experience in the industry. My passion for sharing valuable insights on nutrition and wellness stems from over 15 years of personal training and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. My commitment to continuously educate myself on the latest trends and research in the field allows me to deliver high-quality content that is informative and engaging. My mission is to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being through my writing.