Home Wellness Know the health benefits of tofu

Know the health benefits of tofu

From enhancing skin and hair, maintaining healthy weight to lowering the risk of stomach cancer and diabetes, there are several benefits of tofu. Rumour has it that a Chinese cook discovered tofu more than 2,000 years ago by accidentally mixing a batch of fresh soy milk with nigari.

September 26, 2021: A study observed that higher intakes of tofu were linked to a 61% lower risk of stomach cancer in men. There are various benefits of tofu on human body.

What is tofu?

Tofu, or bean curd, is a popular food derived from soya.

Manufactured by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a solid block and then cooling it – in much the same way that traditional dairy cheese is made by curdling and solidifying milk. The liquid (whey) is discarded, and the curds are pressed to form a cohesive bond. Tofu forms a staple ingredient in Thai and Chinese cookery, it can be cooked in different ways to change its texture from smooth and soft to crisp and crunchy.

Rumour has it that a Chinese cook discovered tofu more than 2,000 years ago by accidentally mixing a batch of fresh soy milk with nigari.

History of tofu

Joining the family of several other soya foods, tofu originated in China. It was discovered about 2000 years ago by a Chinese cook who accidentally curdled soy milk when he added nigari seaweed. Introduced into Japan in the eighth century, tofu was originally called ‘okabe’. Its modern name did not come into use until 1400.

 By the 1960s, interest in healthy eating brought tofu to Western nations. Since that time, countless research has demonstrated the many benefits that soya and tofu can provide.

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Benefits of tofu:

It’s a universal fact that the diet that contains a variety of plant-based foods appears to contribute to overall health and well-being, and lower risk of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Let’s take a look at the benefits of tofu:

Tofu can enhance the skin and hair, boost energy, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Additionally, research has linked tofu, with its high levels of isoflavones, to a lower risk of several age- and lifestyle-related diseases.

Benefits of tofu: Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

Soy isoflavines have been found to help reduce levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, although it does not seem to increase HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.

Studies have indicated that daily consumption of soy may decrease markers for cardiovascular disease risk, including weight, body mass index (BMI), and total cholesterol. The FDA has set 25 g a day of soy protein as the minimum intake needed to impact cholesterol levels.

Consuming tofu as an alternative to animal protein can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol. This, in turn, decreases the risk of atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

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Breast and prostate cancer

Miracle working power in one of Tofu’s ingredients. Several clinical and experimental investigations have suggested that genistein, the predominant isoflavone in soy, has antioxidant properties that may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

There have been many doubts in the past, regarding the safety of consuming soy after a breast cancer diagnosis. This is because isoflavones have a chemical structure similar to that of estrogen, and high levels of estrogen can increase the risk of breast cancer.

However, consuming moderate amounts, or less than two servings a day, of whole soy foods, does not appear to affect tumor growth or the risk of developing breast cancer.

Instead, there is growing evidence that regular soy intake may decrease breast cancer recurrence. However, the evidence is not yet strong enough to recommend soy to all breast cancer survivors.

Researchers call for more studies to confirm how genistein works, how it could be used therapeutically, and its bioavailability, or how well the body can absorb it.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes ropes in the adverse disease of kidney which causes the body to excrete an excessive amount of protein in the urine.

Evidence from one study has indicated that those who consumed only soy protein in their diet excreted less protein than those who only consumed animal protein.

The researchers propose that this could benefit patients with type 2 diabetes.

Kidney function

How can tofu magically improver the function in Kidneys? Protein, and particularly soy protein, may enhance renal function, and it could have benefits for people who are undergoing dialysis or kidney transplantation.

One meta analysis of nine trials showed a positive effect of soy on some biomarkers of those with chronic kidney disease.

This may be due to trusted source its protein content, but also because of its impact on lipid levels in the blood.

Osteoporosis

Popular belief says Soy isoflavones may help reduce bone loss and increase bone mineral density, especially after menopause. They have also been reported to reduce some other symptoms of menopause.

Symptoms of menopause

Some researchTrusted Source has suggested that consuming soy products may help relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, because of the phytoestrogens they contain.

While symptoms may differ between women, hot flashes appear to be far less common in Asian countries, where people consume more soy.

Conflicting results have been produced, but there is evidence that consuming soy products that are rich in genistein may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

However, more studies are needed Trusted Source to establish exactly what happens and why.

Liver damage

One study in rats has suggested that any type of tofu that has been curdled with various coagulants may help prevent liver damage caused by free radicals.

Age-related brain diseases

Population studies have indicated that, in regions where people consume more soy, there is a lower incidence of age-related mental disorders.

However, results have been mixed.

One research group found that treatment with soy isoflavones was linked to better performance in nonverbal memory, verbal fluency and other functions.

When the same group carried out a further small study, involving 65 people over the age of 60 years with Alzheimer’s, they did not findTrusted Source that soy isoflavines offered any cognitive benefits.

However, findings published in 2017 suggested that soy products may help people with Alzheimer’s due to their lecithin content, which helps the body produce the phospholipids phosphatidic acid (PA) and phosphatidylserine (PS). PA and PS play an important role in the functioning of neurones.

What about Tofu’s nutrition quotient?

A single block of hard tofu, weighing 122 grams (g) containsTrusted Source:

177 calories

5.36 g of carbohydrate

12.19 g of fat

15.57 g of protein

421 mg of calcium

65 of magnesium

3.35 mg of iron

282 mg of phosphorus

178 mg of potassium

2 mg of zinc

27 micrograms (mcg) of folate, DFE

It also provides small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, choline, manganese, and selenium.

Soy is the prime component of tofu. It is a complete source of dietary protein, which means it provides all of the essential amino acids needed in the diet. Soybeans are also high in healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. The isoflavones in soy foods have been linked to a range of health benefits, but also some risks. The calcium and magnesium in soy may help strengthen bones, lessen symptoms of PMS, regulate blood sugar, and prevent migraine headaches.

By Arpita Patro


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