It seems that no one is unfamiliar with tofu.
However, whether eating tofu can support people’s health is still a problem under dispute.
While some agree that tofu contains numerous health benefits, others think that it should be avoided.
This article will provide nutrition facts and benefits of tofu to help you have enough information about this food.
Generally, condensed soy milk is main ingredient to make tofu.
Tofu production is quite similar to the process of making cheese.
First appearing in China, tofu becomes a popular part of Asian diet nowadays.
In fact, there are many foods which are modified from tofu in the US.
According to scientific studies, these products are safe for human health (1).
When focusing on list of tofu’s ingredients, it is easy to identify that tofu is high in protein.
Also, it contains all important amino acids which are beneficial for overall health.
Averagely, a serving of tofu has 70 calories, making it a nutrient-dense food.
Similar to other plant foods, tofu is an excellent source of antinutrients.
They are trypsin inhibitors, phtates and lectins.
Trypsin inhibitors are responsible for blocking trypsin which is needed for proper digestive function.
Furthermore, lectins can lead to nausea and bloating when they are not cooked properly.
However, people can reduce these disadvantaged by cooking or soaking soybeans.
To specify, by sprouting soybean before tofu production, the amount of phytates and trypsin will be reduced by 56% and 81% respectively.
On the other hand, this action may raise protein content by 13% (2).
It does not mention to the fact that tofu has abundant source of isoflavones.
In reality, isoflavones belong to natural plant compounds.
Its duty is to seek for and kick off activities of estrogen receptors in the body.
Genistein and daidzein are 2 examples of isoflavones in tofu.
Also, a tofu serving is found to have 20.2-24.7 mg of isoflavones (3).
Bottom line: Tofu consists of some antinutrients, however, we can degrade them by some techniques. Moreover, tofu is abundant source of essential substances which may contribute to various health benefits.
Health Benefits of Tofu
Following are top 5 ways which benefits of tofu shine and have positive changes in people’s health.
To improve heart health is one of the most typical benefits of tofu.
According to some research, daily consumption of legumes including soy may reduce danger of heart diseases (4).
Also, isoflavones in soy may lower inflammatory levels in blood vessel and boost their elasticity (5).
In a 12-week study, isoflavone supplementation can keep blood flow in patients of heart stroke in check by 68% (6).
A different study showed that taking soy protein daily will improve blood fat condition and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 10% (7).
Furthermore, isoflavone intake may protect heart health effectively.
To specify, it can improve body mass index,waist circumference, HDL cholesterol, etc (8).
What’s more, tofy is packed with saponin – substance can strengthen heart health (9).
Bottom line: Soy foods including tofu may heart condition thanks to its loading with isoflavones.
Another field which benefits of tofu can affect is cancer prevention.
In fact, scientists have done research on the connection between tofu intake and breast, prostate and digestive cancers.
This effect is attributed to the help of isoflavones.
Also, women who get used to eating soy products since their childhood dealt with 24% lower risk of growing breast cancer (14).
Some people criticize tofu for fear of its ability to cause breast cancer.
However, a study during 2 years failed to prove this argument (15).
In terms of digestive cancer, a study supported tofu ability to reduce stomach cancer in men by 61% (16).
Interestingly, tofu may lead to 59-percent reduction in stomach cancer in women (17).
Bottom line: Soy may leave protective impacts on breast, stomach and prostate cancers.
When it comes to benefits of tofu, people usually mention its ability to reduce the danger of diabetes.
Once again, isoflavones prove their dominant role in tofu.
Specifically, these compounds can control blood sugar levels effectively (20).
In a study in post-menopausal women, isoflavone consumption could lower blood sugar levels by 25%.
Also, it could lead to 23-percent reduction in insulin levels (21).
For diabetic patients, soy protein could reduce fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance by 8,1% and 6,5% respectively (22).
Unfortunately, these findings are not the same all the time.
Bottom line: Tofu can keep blood sugar control in check, making it good for the condition of diabetes. However, further studies should be done for harder confirmation.
4. Bone Health
To improve bone health is another benefits of tofu.
According to scientific data, 80mg of soy isoflavones daily could reduce bone loss effectively.
5. Brain Function
For older people, memory loss and poor-functioned brain are common dreads.
Interestingly, soy isoflavones can improve memory and brain function remarkably (27).
There is an argument about whether soy isoflavones can help neutralize hot flashes or not.
It is highly certain that everyone desires for an attractive beauty.
Luckily, tofu may help you in this field.
Specifically, tofu may improve skin condition and support weight loss effectively.
In a study, soy isoflavones could reduce the appearance of wrinkles and make it more glowing.
Moreover, isoflavone consumption can be also beneficial for weight loss process (30).
Bottom line: The high content of isoflavone in tofu makes it good for your beauty.
Take Home Message
In addition to above benefits of tofu, this simple food can also bring about many other effects.
In general, tofu is safe to consume.
However, there are many cases in which people should take notice with tofu consumption.
Particularly, people believe that oxalates in tofu may result in gallbladder stones.
Also, the goitrogen content in tofu may be harmful for thyroid function.
Commonly, tofu is available in bulk or individual package.
Also, it can be canned, jarred, dehydrated.
Before cooking tofu, people should remember to rinse it gently and carefully.
Tofu leftover should be kept in fridge with water.
By this way, people can make tofu fresh for a week.
In case you want to keep tofu for a longer period, let’s make it frozen.
You can also make tofu by yourself at home with simple ingredient including soybeans, lemon and water.
Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.