Whether you’re making a switch to becoming a vegetarian or you’re looking for food alternatives in your diet, there are so many things to consider.
Tofu is one of those foods that is possibly most misunderstood. Most people think of it as just some tasteless stuff with a strange texture. But there is so much to tofu that really make it a nutritional wonder.
Let’s start with some basics though.
What Exactly Is Tofu?
Tofu is made from soybeans grounded into soy milk that is then curdled where the proteins in the tofu can become coagulated. The curds are then pressed into solid blocks. In the U.S., tofu isn’t fermented in the process, whereas in other countries it is.
As you explore tofu a bit, you’ll discover that there are different kinds of texture: soft, firm, and extra-firm. The kind of tofu you may want to buy is largely dependent on what kind of meals you’ll be making out of it.
As someone who may be changing their diet or trying to eat healthier, you’re probably paying more attention to what you’re eating. Everything that you’re putting in your body matters, and you want to be sure that you’re getting as many nutrients and “good stuff” from the foods that you are eating.
The good news is that tofu has a lot of positives to it. Here are some of the reasons why tofu may be the nutritional food  you’ve been looking for:
Half a cup of tofu will provide you with 10 grams of protein. If you are looking into eating tofu as a way to get a source of protein in your diet, it certainly offers a fair amount.
It provides you with plenty of calcium, or 44% of your daily intake. It can be a challenge to get the right amount of calcium in your diet, so the fact that tofu offers a lot is ideal when you want to get plenty of nutritional value out of one food.
If you’re looking to get all your vitamins, why not turn to tofu? It’s jam-packed with vitamin K, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin b-6, niacin, choline, folate, selenium, manganese, and phosphorus.
It will give you 11% DV of iron and 7% of zinc. Iron and zinc are super important for your overall health, and tofu offers a decent level of both of these nutrients.
One food, and so many nutrients? No wonder tofu is considered to be a superfood for many “health freaks.”
So, now you know how many nutrients you’ll be getting from tofu, but what are the benefits of adding it to your diet, other than it being a healthy food? Tofu is certainly not the best-tasting food around, so you want to make sure that you’re going to reap benefits from eating it, right? Here are some ways it can be good for you:
It may help in reducing the risk of diabetes . People who eat a lot of high-cholesterol, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods are more apt to get diabetes than those who don’t. Because it’s a very clean, healthy source of protein, it may be the ideal food to eat to prevent diabetes, as well as for diabetics who want to avoid spikes in their sugar levels.
Again, too much cholesterol is never a good thing for those who want to be healthy, especially when it comes to your heart. Tofu may lower the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood, which in turn may help your cardiovascular health.
Another way that it may help your heart’s health is that it has peptides-glycinin that are anti-inflammatory agents, which could help you to keep your blood pressure levels stable.
It’s claimed to be helpful in keeping weight gain at bay.If you’re hoping to lose weight and have started eating tofu as a way to do just that, you could be making a great decision.
Some of your favorite meats or eggs are high in calories and fat, and switching them for tofu as a source of protein means that you’ll be eating fewer calories.
Also, tofu is very high in protein and very low in calories, making it the perfect protein alternatives for those who are hoping to lose weight.
One of the other nutrients that is included in tofu that we didn’t mention above is selenium. This mineral may be helpful in aiding your body’s antioxidant-processing system .
Genistein is yet another phytonutrient in soy, which is the base of tofu and is known to be helpful in suppressing the growth of tumors.
In fact, it’s rumored that tofu may help keep women and men free from prostate and breast cancer .
Tofu is said to be good for your skin and has anti-aging benefits. It could help your skin retain its elasticity, which is always important for keeping your skin from sagging and wrinkling. In fact, you could even use tofu as a paste for your face to prevent or get rid of wrinkles.
Reduce Menopause Symptoms
When a woman goes through menopause, they need a lot of calcium to stay healthy and as symptom-free as possible. Tofu is full of calcium, as well as flavonoids and isoflavonoids, which may be important for helping to keep menopause symptoms reduced.
It’s a well-known fact that protein is good for hair growth, and while meat can help to provide you with the keratin you need for hair growth, soy products may be highly beneficial for helping your hair to grow.
Are There Any Risks?
Unfortunately, there are a few risks to take into consideration when choosing to add tofu to your diet. While many of the risks are simply claims that suggest that tofu may cause certain issues, it’s still important to take them into consideration.
Take a look:
This one is certainly a risk to pay attention to if you are someone who has a soy allergy. If you’ve never paid attention to soy in your foods before, start out eating tofu slowly. You may have an allergy that you never even knew about.
Soy allergies are actually one of the most common allergies in the country, so you may want to incorporate tofu into your diet cautiously. Some people who have allergies to soy may have potentially fatal reactions to tofu.
While it isn’t entirely clear how tofu affects your thyroid health, there have been claims that tofu can have an impact . If in doubt and you already have thyroid issues, it may be best to seek protein alternatives elsewhere.
Male Hormone Imbalance
Because soy is supposed to be good for estrogen activity, many think that it could be bad for men who want to maintain their “manliness.”Because most tofu is fermented, the amount of estrogen inducing properties are minimal, which means feminization in men through the consumption of tofu is quite the myth.
Of course, if you’re a man with a high intake of soy through different foods, you may want to consider cutting back on the soy that you consume on a daily basis. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.
Tips For Preparing Tofu
Granted, tofu isn’t the easiest food to prepare. It has a rather bland flavor, so it’s not the tastiest meal to eat. Fortunately, this lack of flavor also makes it easy for you to prepare it in almost any way that you would like. The following ideas are a few ways that you can easily incorporate tofu into your meals:
This is a great way for you to flavor tofu as you wish and add the spice and flavor that you love while also getting your vegetable intake as well. The salt in the soy sauce will help to provide the tofu with a flavor, along with your favorite stir-fry spices.
Baked tofu can be a fun snack that is full of protein and easy to eat while also low in calories. Simply chop the tofu into small cubes, pour sunflower oil and your favorite spice and some salt and enjoy eating tofu for a mid-day snack, if you don’t want to eat in a meal.
Add To A Salad
While it’s best to steam the tofu, in order to be sure that the tofu is free from bacteria, you can also eat it raw. Whether you steam it or don’t, adding tofu to a fresh salad can be a great alternative to eating a tuna salad or one with cheese. It’s better for you than cheese yet can blend well with your favorite salad dressing.
Make Some Tacos
If you love your tacos but have recently made some changes in your diet, you may be looking for new alternatives. Guess what? Tofu tacos are a thing, and they’re so good. Frying tofu with garlic, onions, and your favorite chili powder and salt may be the next best thing to your favorite meat tacos. Add all the extras like guacamole and pico de gallo, and you have yourself great tofu tacos. Who said eating tofu was boring?
Dips and Sauces
Simply blend the tofu in your food processor with basil and lemon juice, or whatever type of flavor you like your dip to be and voila, you’ll have a delicious and healthy dip for your next party.
Your guests may not even know that they are eating a healthy dip—as long as no one has soy allergies, it’s a great alternative to store-bought processed dips.
There are so many ways to prepare tofu that we don’t have enough space even to begin to scratch the surface. This versatile food that is good for you is a great idea for any dieters or healthy eaters fridge.
Should You Eat Tofu?
While there are certainly some factors to consider before you make it a staple in your diet, you should definitely see if it’s the right option for you. Full of nutrients and protein, it’s one of the foods that offer a lot of good things in one solid package.
While there may be a few risks, the benefits far outweigh the bad, so your only rule of thumb when choosing to eat tofu is to eat it in moderation. From minimizing hot flashes in women with menopause to helping you get the vitamins and minerals you need, there is so much good to tofu, that you may be wondering why you haven’t made it a part of your daily meals yet. Also, if you need some pre-workout supplements to help boost your protein intake, but you want to avoid animal products, then we have a list of them to try; just click here