Tofu – Nutritional Information
Tofu is prepared by pressing the curds of the coagulated soy mild into soft white blocks. It is traditional for the cuisines of Southeast and East Asia. Chinese people have consumed it for more than 2,000 years. It may be firm, extra firm of soft. Its subtle flavor allows it to be used in sweet and savory dishes. It is low in calories but contain high amount of protein and iron.
Depending on what coagulants were used during the manufacturing it may also have high content of magnesium or calcium.
It’s gluten-free and contains no cholesterol. Remember that soy is a potential allergen and if you have soy allergy, you should not consume tofu. Some professionals advise people not to consume soy products if they have breast tumors, thyroid issues and stones in the kidneys or in the gallbladder. However, once we have warned you about the potential side effects, let us discuss some of the health benefits of tofu.
Per 100g tofu
Some research have shown that the genistain contained in the soy may act as an antioxidant, which can help stop the growth of the cancer cells. It can increase the activity of p53 – a specific tumor suppressor protein that may trigger apoptosis (which is a programmed cell death) in cancer cells and trigger the arrest of the cell cycle, which helps to stop the activity of the cancer cells. It has been shown that genistein can stop the activity of the protein kinases and slow down the formation of tumors – that is especially true for prostate and breast cancer. Still, the beneficial effect of the soy products may be affected by the other dietary choices. Moreover, if you have a family history of cancers, which are related to the hormones (like prostate cancer or breast cancer), you should consult with your general practitioner before including soy products in your diet since there have been some researches that show that large doses of purified soy isoflavones may increase the risk of certain cancers.
Do remember that purified soy isoflavones are differentfrom the isoflavones in the regular tofu. In addition, do not choose soy protein concentrates or
soy protein isolates but go for less processed soy products.
Tofu contains soy protein, which may benefit the renal function and may be helpful for those who are on dialysis or have kidney transplant. Some clinical trials have shown that soy can have positive effect on some biomarker in people who suffer from chronic kidney disease. That may be because of it having high protein content but also it might be due to the impact the soy has on the levels of lipids in the blood.
Soy products have also been thought to help women going through menopause. They are believed to relief symptoms of menopause like hot flashes for they contain phytoestrogens. Still, this topic needs further research.
Other studies suggest that in places where people eat more soy and soy products the incidence of age-related mental disorders is lower. Some researchers have shown improvement in verbal fluency and nonverbal memory after people have been treated with soy isoflavones but some studies do not support this. Still, in 2017 were published some findings which suggest that since soy products contain lecithin – this compound promotes the production of phosphatidylserine and phosphatic acid which are vital for the proper function of the neurons – may be beneficial for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
The isoflavones in the soy products may increase the mineral density of the bones and reduce the bone loss.
These same compounds were subject of a study, which showed that they can reduce the levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol which may decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Soy products also have some specific peptides which can help with the treatment (and prevention) of obesity for they may stop the accumulation of fatty acids in the adipose (fat) cells and decrease the synthesis of the aforementioned fatty acids. Nevertheless, the research on this topic is still ongoing.
It is also been suggested that soy products may help prevent diabetes type 2 by lessening the insulin resistance but their consumption should be coupled with other dietary changes. This suggestion have so far been tested only on animals and there is not enough research on how soy products affect people with diabetes.
With what foods can we eat tofu?
You can mix tofu with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, different vegetable and spices or seasonings.
It can also be consumed together with fruits and honey. Alternatively, you can make a tofu scramble with eggs (or without them). Tofu can be put into desserts, as well, or into different smoothies. Moreover, it goes well in soups with different vegetables.