How Healthy Is Tofu?
We all know that going plant-based is healthy, but how healthy is one of the most popular vegan proteins: tofu. When unpacking the health benefits of tofu and soy-based foods, it makes a lot of sense why this versatile protein is increasingly popular.
From bean to tofu
Tofu is made from humble soybean curds. Tofu is approximately 2000 years old and is considered a staple in Asia. Asia is regarded by many as a health food haven where the flavour is perfectly balanced with the freshest produce. Okabe or tofu was created by a Chinese cook when he accidentally added Nigari to soy milk. Also known as magnesium chloride, Nigari is a coagulant that, when added to soymilk, helps curdle and coagulate the soy so that it forms tofu. The curds are strained through cheesecloth and
pressed to remove additional liquid. The longer the curds are in the tofu press, the firmer the tofu will be.
Are soybeans truly good for your heart?
It is a well-known fact that most beans are good for your heart. Tofu is no exception as it is rich in soy isoflavones. Isoflavones are compounds that are responsible for reducing markers that contribute to cardiovascular disease. By lowering levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, contributing to weight loss and lowering your BMI. Animal proteins can have high LDL cholesterol levels, which, if you suffer from preexisting heart and high blood pressure conditions, is something that you would want to avoid. Studies show that swapping out at least some animal protein in your diet for tofu may help manage heart conditions and maintain healthy LDL levels.
Its what’s inside that counts
Tofu might look like a pale block of cheese, but it does pack a nutritional punch. Tofu is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Low in calories and high in plant protein, tofu keeps you fuller longer, making it easier to lose or maintain weight loss. Vitamins and minerals are essential for any living creature. Soy foods are rich in iron, potassium, manganese, selenium, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorous, and vitamin B. It is clear to see why this superfood is a staple in Asia and increasingly in Western homes.
Breast cancer VS tofu
Tofu and other soy foods have an abundance of genistein, estrogen-like isoflavone that has antioxidant properties. Genistein stops cancer cells from growing or continuing to grow. Studies have shown that consuming a diet rich in soy from earlier in life has been linked to a reduction in breast cancers later in life.
Specialists recommend one to two servings of tofu a day for maximum benefit. Tofu not only benefits men and women at increased risk of breast cancer: Men who have prostate cancer can also reap the benefits of a soy diet. Tofu aids in keeping PSA – prostate-specific antigens – levels low. Keeping PSA levels under control slows down cancer cells’ growth or completely stops them from growing at all.
Not too hot to handle
Tofu truly does offer complete support. Researchers noticed that women in Japan suffered fewer menopause-related hot flashes. The research team dug a little deeper and discovered that the phytoestrogens in tofu and other soy products helped reduce the severity of hot flashes.
You don’t need to wait till menopause to benefit from adding tofu to your meal plan. Tofu contains high amounts of magnesium and calcium, which offer menstrual support to women who suffer from cramping. Studies have shown that tofu is an excellent food for weight loss in patients suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Tofu vs. meat: the age-old debate
Not all plant-based diets are healthy; with many Junk-food vegans and comfort meals available on the market, how healthy can tofu be compared to meat and animal proteins. When added to a balanced diet that contains the right amounts of green vegetables and healthy sugars, tofu can be precisely what you need to shed some pounds.
Tofu is comparably healthier than most animal meats. Humans need between 46 and 56 grams of protein per day for optimal functioning. A side-by-side look at tofu and meat; it is clear that tofu is somewhat healthier than meat.
- Per 3 oz serving of chicken breast contains 16.5 grams of protein, a 3/4 cup serving of tofu has 26 grams of protein, while a 3 oz serving of lean ground beef has 17 grams of protein.
- Calories are an important consideration when adjusting a diet. Tofu has considerably fewer calories than chicken, containing 76 calories per 3 oz serving; skinless chicken has 131 calories per 3 oz serving! The main benefit of this is that if you are still hungry, adding more tofu will have little impact on your diet.
- Most animal meats have the negative addition of bad cholesterol; on the flip side, reducing the amount of animal protein and increasing soy intake might help balance your cholesterol levels if you cannot go without meat!
To tofu or not to tofu
With many studies supporting the health benefits, tofu is a worthy source of protein for anyone who needs something healthy and a little change in their diet. Tofu offers its self up as a blank canvas to anyone tired of the same old health food combinations of chicken and broccoli, while it serves the noble purpose of keeping vegans fed and healthy!
If you are making the switch, remember to avoid genetically modified soy products and, where possible, buy organic tofu instead. Try making tofu at home and adding your own twist to the recipe.