All About Tofu

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Tofu is a solid, soft and whitish product obtained by the coagulation of so-called soy milk.   Hence, one that shares the same properties and benefits with a greater concentration of nutrients.

Tofu Properties and Health Benefits

Among the nutritional properties of tofu should be highlighted its high content of high-quality proteins. In general, vegetable proteins are less utilized by the body than those of animal origin, but soy protein is the exception. The great advantage of tofu against proteins of animal origin is the high digestibility of the first, it being appropriate tofu for people suffering from the digestive tract, especially for those suffering from gastritis.

One of the benefits of tofu is its high calcium content, being the main source of this mineral for people who cannot or do not want to consume milk. It, therefore, helps growth and effectively prevents osteoporosis. In addition, it is natural calcium, not added, so it decreases the risk of kidney stones with a high consumption.

The lipids contained in tofu are unsaturated and contribute to lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and with them the risk of atherosclerosis, myocardial infarctions, and angina pectoris.

Another of the nutritional benefits of tofu is its contribution in iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Iron prevents and treats iron deficiency anemia, with the advantage of being a digestive iron and easy assimilation. Phosphorus helps the proper functioning of memory. And potassium reduces blood pressure and fluid retention or edema.

The caloric intake of tofu is low, lower than that of the leanest cheeses. Hence, it is an adequate food in people subjected to thinning regimes, because of its high contribution in nutrients and the influence of soy making it difficult to process the calories consumed excess body fat.

There are different types of tofu depending on the degree of maturation, as a general rule the more solid the water content and the greater its contribution in the other nutrients.

Tofu is one of the star foods among healthy food fanatics. The BBC’s Good Food, a nutritionist for BBC News, delves into this ingredient.


What is tofu?

Tofu is produced by soaking the soy milk or soy, as it is called the liquid that results from soaking the grains, grinding and filtering them. They are then pressed and cooled, in a manner similar to that used to produce milk cheese.

Tofu is one of the basic ingredients of Thai and Chinese cuisine. Like many soy products, it originated in China. Legend says it was discovered about 2,000 years ago by a cook who accidentally “ruined” the soy milk when he threw some seaweed.

He arrived in Japan in the 8th century, where he was first called Okabe. Its modern name began to be used only in 1400.

In the 1960s, interest in healthy food brought tofu to the West. Since then, numerous research has shown the many benefits of soy and tofu.


What are its nutritional advantages?

100 grams of tofu contains:

– 70 calories

– 8.2 grams of protein

– 3.5 grams of fat

– 1.5 grams of carbohydrate

– 0.9 grams of fiber


What does science say about tofu?

It is thought that soy protein (from which tofu is derived) helps to reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Tofu contains phytoestrogens called isoflavonoids, which have a structure similar to that of the female hormone estrogen and mimic the function of it in the body. Thus, they bind to estrogen receptor sites in human cells, including those in the breasts, which potentially reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Thanks to the phytoestrogen content in soy, many women include tofu in their diet when they enter menopause, which affects the natural production of estrogen. Ingesting soy products can help relieve symptoms such as hot flashes.

Genetics and environmental factors play an important role in the reaction our bodies have to certain foods, so it is not yet possible to say how beneficial a diet rich in phytoestrogens is.


Tips on buying and saving

Tofu can be purchased in bulk or in individual refrigerated packages. They also sell it in sealed containers that do not need refrigeration until they open.

Once opened, everyone has to wash them, cover them in water and keep them in a container in the refrigerator. To last it fresh for up to a week, you have to change the water often.

If you leave it in the original package, you can freeze it for up to five months.

As it has a neutral flavor and different consistencies, it mixes well with almost all flavors and types of foods.

Extra firm tofu is best for baking, roasting or sautéing; the soft is good for sauces, desserts or drinks.

Try cutting it into slices, brown and brown, or cut into small pieces and fry with garlic until golden.


The risks

Soy and all its derivatives contain large amounts of oxalate, so those who have problems with renal oxalate stones should avoid eating them.

Women who have or have had estrogen-sensitive breast tumors should restrict their soy consumption to no more than four servings per week.

Tofu or bean curd, as it is also known, is a 100% vegetable food and a great source of protein. This is one of the reasons why it is considered an ideal food for vegetarians, vegans or anyone who does not consume food of animal origin.

Sometimes people who have eliminated meat from their diet have insufficient protein intake, especially if they engage in sports activities that require a greater protein intake because of increased muscle work.


Benefits of tofu

Tofu is a food of great nutritional value and it is not surprising that the Japanese have given it a star in their food.

Being a vegetable food lacks cholesterol, something very important if you have high cholesterol levels so the doctor has recommended that you may eat tofu. Do not forget that elevated cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction or ICSI (cerebral infarction).

Another important factor is that no chemicals, preservatives or coloring agents are used in the production process. It is a natural process and therefore the result is a natural product.

Another great advantage of tofu is its low calories. Just about 110 calories per 100g of food. Ideal for any diet, especially if you want to lose weight.

As for vegetable fats, most are polyunsaturated, similar to those found in vegetable oils. This type of fats protects our heart and arteries and gives us antioxidants that fight the feared free radicals.

Tofu being made from soy is very rich in isoflavones, substances that belong to the group of polyphenols (antioxidants) and that several studies have shown that they help to combat the negative effects of menopause.


Buy tofu

At present, it is very easy to find tofu in any supermarket because of the great demand it has. However, depending on each country it may be more complicated to find it. Still, stores that sell dietary or organic products often offer these types of products and should not be a problem getting it.


Recipes with tofu

You can find an infinity of recipes with tofu as the main ingredient. In fact, I have published some in previous days that you can consult. If you look for in Google, you will find several simple ideas that you can put into practice and sure you will not regret it since it is not only a healthy food but its taste is incredible!

Tofu is a 100% vegetable protein made from soybeans. This food is very fashionable due to its high content of calcium and its great contribution of proteins. Tofu is basically curdled soy milk and looks similar to fresh cheese.

This food was imported from the East, especially from Japan and China, and can be used as the main ingredient in a dish or as a companion.

As it does not have much flavor by itself, you can cook it with any type of food to make it tastier. In NC Health they suggest to cut it for salads or stir fry of vegetables; Slice it and griddle it with a little soy sauce or even use it on skewers.

The increase in demand for this product has resulted in an increase in its varieties. In supermarkets we can find, in addition to natural tofu, smoked tofu, spiced tofu, tofu with olives … There are also processed foods made from tofu and vegetables, such as tofu sausages and hamburgers, which offer a different form of power to enjoy this food. Thanks to this wide fan, you can taste the tofu more regularly without tiring of it.

The more solid the tofu, the lower its content in water and the greater its contribution in other nutrients. That is why, depending on the degree of maturation, there are different types of tofu.

Being a vegetable protein, it has been associated with a decreased risk of diseases such as diabetes (cardiovascular disease), some cancers, and osteoporosis.

It contains fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which make the benefits of tofu directly related to health, longevity, quality of life and reduced risk of mortality.

Tofu contains significant amounts of calcium (300 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams of tofu). As it is natural calcium, it decreases the risk of kidney stones. It also contains vitamins of groups B and E, and minerals such as iron (prevents and treats iron deficiency anemia, with the advantage of being a digestive iron and easy assimilation), phosphorus (helps the proper functioning of memory) and potassium (Reduces hypertension, fluid retention or edema).

It is rich in proteins. Its content is similar to food of animal origin and higher than other legumes, which makes it the ideal substitute to meet the requirements of protein in people who consume few amounts of food of animal origin. The vegetable proteins of the soybean have a high biological value and, therefore, are very usable by our organism.

It is of greater digestibility in comparison with the proteins of animal origin, the reason, why it is ideal for those people, diseased of the digestive apparatus.

Tofu is low in fat and has a low-calorie intake (lower than that of leaner cheeses). In addition, it has no cholesterol and is rich in linoleic acid, which helps to eliminate the body’s cholesterol deposits, and its saturated fat content is generally very low.

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