9 Health Benefits Of Tofu

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9 Health Benefits Of Tofu
health benefits of tofu, tofu health risks, tofu health benefits
KayaWell Expert

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food prepared by pressing coagulated soy milk into flat white blocks. It has been a common ingredient in global cuisines, such as Chinese food, for many centuries. This power-packed food substitute is ideal for vegetarians and vegans all around the world because it contains no traces of animal products of any kind – it is a pure
organic food that supplies a wealth of nutritive value in a variety of
delicious ways. The name comes from the Japanese word “tofu”, but it is widely enjoyed in many countries for its extremely nutritious composition.

What Is Tofu?

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is created by squeezing curdled soy milk into a solid block. Some tofu is hard, while others is silky smooth. It can be cut into various shapes and cooked in a variety of ways.

Tofu has been prepared in Japan for over 2,000 years. It's recently become popular in other regions.

Tofu Nutrition

One 3.5-ounce (100-gram) slice of tofu has:

Calories: 144

Protein: 17 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Fat: 9 grams

Calcium: 53% of the Daily Value (DV)

Manganese: 51% of the DV

Copper: 42% of the DV

Selenium: 32% of the DV

Vitamin A: 18% of the DV

Phosphorus: 15% of the DV

Iron: 15% of the DV

Magnesium: 14% of the DV

Zinc: 14% of the DV

Benefits Of Tofu

The health benefits of tofu include its ability to help lower cholesterol levels, prevent anemia and manage weight, among others.

1. Maintains Cardiovascular Health

Regular consumption of soy products like tofu may lower the levels of cholesterol and saturated fats in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Due to its low sodium content, it is also good for people with high blood pressure.

2. Lowers Cholesterol Level

Consuming tofu reduces the cholesterol level in the body. Additionally, using tofu as an alternative to the animal protein can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body. As compared to meats such as beef, tofu has lower levels of saturated fatty acids and higher levels of unsaturated fatty acids. It is also a good source of lecithin and linoleic acid, which helps regulate the metabolism, along with the dispersion and elimination of cholesterol deposits in the body.

3. Manages Weight

Intake of tofu also aids in managing weight effectively. A study suggests that soy-based low-calorie diets have a beneficial effect on reduction of weight and blood lipids.

4. Eases Menopause Symptoms

The organic compounds in tofu, namely isoflavones, are instrumental in helping manage the symptoms of menopause in women. Isoflavones are plant-based compounds that mimic the estrogen hormone in the body. Tofu can help stabilize the estrogen levels during menopause and also provide relief from hot flashes.

5. Anti-Cancer Properties

The isoflavones in tofu are well known to be beneficial in reducing cancer risks. Research on soy intake and endometrial cancer suggests that a higher consumption of products such as tofu may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer in post-menopausal women. Tofu has also been associated with a reduction in breast, lung, and prostate cancer.

6. Prevents Osteoporosis

It is a good source of calcium, which is the key ingredient in bone formation. It is not easy to get this mineral in the right quantity. This is why the intake of tofu is highly recommended since it has high levels of this element. Lack of calcium in the body could lead to osteoporosis, especially in old age. Consuming tofu slows down the entire process by keeping the bones strong.

7. Diabetes

Several studies show that the consumption of soy protein lowers blood sugar and insulin levels considerably, thus reducing the risk of diabetes.

8. Treats Kidney Diseases

The minerals present in tofu make it a great addition to your renal diet. It is very important to include foods that are rich in protein, phosphorus, and sodium in any treatment plan for chronic kidney diseases. Tofu, being rich in these nutrients, is a wonderful food for your kidney health.

9. Prevents Anemia

Anemia develops when there is a severe iron deficiency in the body, which causes a drop in the number of healthy red blood cells. Tofu, being an excellent source of iron, can help prevent anemia.  A study conducted in China showed that tofu helped lower the risk of anemia among adults.

10. Liver Damage

Tofu curdled with various coagulants helps prevent liver damage caused due to oxidative stress.

11. Brain Health

Tofu is also known to improve memory and cognitive function for women above 65-years-old. The lecithin content present in tofu helps the body produce the phospholipids phosphatidic acid (PA) and phosphatidylserine (PS), which aid in the functioning of neurons.

12. Prevents Hair loss

People also use tofu to prevent hair loss issues as it provides keratin, a protein essential for hair growth. So, dump those expensive hair treatments and add tofu to your diet.

13. Rich in Protein

Tofu, other soy products, and vegetables are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. They also provide the required amino acids, which are beneficial for optimal health.

14. Treats Gout

Research conducted to study the effects of tofu suggests that it is a preferable source of protein, especially for gout patients with uric acid clearance more than the lower normal limit. However, they are advised to avoid its excess consumption.

Warnings and Risks of Tofu

If you take MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) for mood disorders or Parkinson's disease, avoid tofu. Tyramine, an amino acid found in tofu, aids in blood pressure regulation. MAOIs inhibit the enzyme that breaks down tyramine. If you combine the two, your blood pressure could skyrocket.

Tofu's plant-based soy is harmless, but before using soy supplements, consult your doctor. Their plant oestrogen levels are substantially higher, which could cause difficulties.