In a world where eating meat is neither the healthiest nor the most sustainable option right now, tofu is a nutritious and flavorful alternative for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Made from pressed soybean curd, it usually starts out as a small white block that looks like cheese.
If you don’t like the taste of tofu on its own, there are many recipes that make it taste just like meat. In fact, it is a staple food eaten every day in Asia. It’s an incredibly versatile form of protein that can help you live longer, which is why you should include it in your diet as soon as possible. Here are all the fascinating ways tofu can help you be healthier.
1. Antioxidant power
Tofu is essentially a superfood – meaning it contains several antioxidant phytochemicals that are highly anti-inflammatory. This is perfect for anyone with chronic pain, arthritis or other inflammatory issues.
2. It‘is a complete source of protein
It is difficult for vegetarians to get enough of the protein that meat is naturally high in. Fortunately, tofu is a complete source of protein, which means its amino acid profile is balanced. It also has a good amount of magnesium, iron, copper and other important minerals that your body craves.
3. May relieve menopausal symptoms
The isoflavones in tofu mimic estrogen in the body, which can ease some perimenopausal symptoms like irritability and hot flashes. However, it may not be beneficial for women with a history of breast cancer.
4. May help manage blood sugar and heart health
According to some studies, tofu can help reduce fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance—which may even promote better cholesterol levels while lowering “bad” cholesterol. The isoflavones in tofu are a compound that helps clear clogged arteries. Additionally, plant estrogen helps your endothelium function better. Your endothelium is the tissue that lines your blood vessels and the inside of your heart.
5. It can fight osteoporosis
We often lose bone mass as we age—especially after women go through menopause. But tofu is rich in vitamin D and calcium, which are essential for maintaining bone health and density. The plant estrogens in tofu also help promote healthier bone mass
6. It can boost immunity
Looking to boost your immune system? Fry in the evening and add some tofu! Due to the high levels of zinc in soybeans, tofu can boost your immunity. This mineral regulates the cells in our body and kills germs before they have a chance to make us sick. Since zinc comes mostly from meat intake, it’s a great option for vegetarians and vegans who don’t take zinc supplements.
7. It is not so‘does not contain saturated fat
meat is certainly filling, but often contains high levels of saturated fat. This can lead to heart disease down the line. Tofu, on the other hand, contains no saturated fat and is therefore a healthier choice for the heart. Unlike meat, it’s also very filling, which can help prevent accidental overeating and weight gain.
8. High fiber content
Fiber is one of the most important things you can eat – it keeps your bowels healthy and also keeps your bowel movements regular. Few people know, but fiber can also help reduce the risk of strokes while regulating blood sugar. It can also relieve IBS symptoms and reduce your chances of getting hemorrhoids. Lucky for you, tofu is high in fiber.
9. It can improve anemia
Due to the levels of non-heme iron found in soy, tofu is a great choice for people with anemia and those looking for a solution to their iron deficiency. For those who don’t get their iron from meat, this news could be life-saving.
10. May help skin repair
This is one of those unexpected health benefits of tofu. Every day, UV rays and bacteria damage our skin, but eating tofu can help reduce this damage. Based on certain studies, soybeans can increase collagen protection and reduce inflammation, which helps protect the skin from UV. Still, you should double up on some sunscreen just to be sure.
Remember…moderation is key
Tofu can be a healthy nutritional supplement for many lifestyles, but it can provide excess nutrients as well as excess estrogen in the body. If you choose to eat it every day, try not to exceed four ounces per day. People with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer should limit their intake as the photochemicals in tofu can mimic human estrogen – if you’re not sure it’s right for you, talk to your doctor first.