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Tofu is also known as bean curd, and is created by pressing coagulated soy milk into flat white blocks. 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. Discover its health benefits below.
On the vitamin side of nutrition, tofu has significant levels of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folate. It also contains smaller amounts of pantothenic acid and niacin. This combination of vitamins, in conjunction with the essential minerals found in tofu, make it one of the healthiest choices for your diet!
As mentioned above, one of the best things about tofu is its impact on prevention of weight gain and those who want to build muscles. There are only 70 calories found in 100 grams of tofu, while the calories from fat are 35 (50%). There are 4 grams of fat in 100 grams of tofu, but only 1 gram is saturated fat.
Tofu has been turned to as a healthy food option for a number of reasons, including its ability to increase the blood circulation in the body, thanks to its iron and copper content. This prevents symptoms of anemia and keeps the organs running smoothly due to proper oxygenation.
The low ‘bad’ cholesterol content and moderate ‘good’ cholesterol content mean that heart health is protected and the accumulation of plaque on the walls and arteries is eliminated, thereby reducing the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Tofu stimulates a reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol, further protecting the heart from a variety of cardiovascular conditions.
Calcium, along with other minerals like copper, zinc, selenium, and manganese are all-important components in the creation of bone matter, so tofu helps to protect against osteoporosis and arthritis in various forms.
Selenium is very important for the health and balance of the thyroid gland, which controls hundreds of processes in the body and ensures a high-functioning metabolism.
The health benefits of losing weight, which tofu helps with due to low sodium, calories, and fat, include higher energy levels, reduction in heart disease, increased cognition, and a lowered chance of developing chronic diseases.
The organic compounds in tofu, namely isoflavones, are instrumental in helping manage the symptoms of menopause in women, and they have also been associated with a reduction in breast and prostate cancer.
Fermented soy foods like tofu, two key storage proteins glycinin and conglycinin are broken down by molds, yeasts, and bacteria into peptide fragments that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and blood pressure-lowering properties. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of soy peptides found in fermented soy food like tofu can help protect the blood vessels from oxidative and inflammatory damage.
Soy foods lessen insulin resistance by increasing the synthesis of insulin receptors. However, this increased formation of insulin receptors only appears to occur in the presence of other dietary circumstances, like a moderate amount of polyunsaturated fat intake. High levels of total soy intake (approximately 200 grams per day) have also been associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Genistein (an isoflavone phytonutrient in soy) can increase activity of a tumor suppressor protein called p53. When p53 becomes more active, it can help trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells, and it also help trigger cell cycle arrest (helping stop ongoing cancer cell activity). Genistein in tofu has also been shown to block the activity of protein kinases in a way that can help slow tumor formation, especially in the case of breast and prostate cancer.
The unique peptides in soy that have been associated with obesity prevention and treatment. Since fermented soy foods like tofu have increased concentrations of bioactive peptides (versus non-fermented soy foods), it is a premier form of soy with respect to obesity management.
Besides being the ideal food source for many vegetarians and vegans, it also packs an enormous amount of health benefits into those thin white blocks.
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