Updated: Jun 18
There’s lots of discussion about whether or not we should be including tofu in our diet. Many sources tout the benefits of tofu, but are they trustworthy?
Let’s find out.
First, what on earth is tofu?
Tofu is a high-protein, plant-based food made of condensed soy milk and pressed into solid white blocks. This product originated in China and has been popularized throughout Southeast Asia. It is processed similarly to cheese. You can certainly buy tofu in bulk or individualized packages. Tofu can provide you with an abundance of essential nutrients to meet your recommendation daily requirements.
Here’s some nutrition information, in comparison to ground beef:
Tofu is a versatile food product that can replace certain food items, often meat. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you can use this food item in place of meat as a protein source. Pressing tofu prior to cooking helps eliminate excess moisture and allows it to best absorb flavors from marinades and sauces. See here for a great guide on how to press tofu.
Currently, there are various misconceptions concerning soy products.
For instance, the debate about its impact on testosterone in men.
According to Today’s Dietitian, research has shown male rats that consume a substantial amount of soy products (tofu) will suppress their ability to produce offspring. Luckily, humans would have to consume about 3 quarts of soy products per day to have the same effect. It’s also important to understand that humans metabolize soy isoflavones differently than rodents.
Another concern you may have is that all soy products are genetically modified organisms (GMO). This is also a myth.
You can buy soy products either GMO-free (organic) or GMO certified. Farmers use GMO’s to improve herbicide tolerance and decrease susceptibility for pests. The USDA requires various regulations on the use of genetically modified food products to lessen your health risks from certain pests.
There have been studies linked to tofu reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Consuming a high amount of plant-based products, including tofu, can also lower cholesterol levels.
Here’s a heart-healthy recipe option.
5 oz. spaghetti
1 carrot, shredded
1 cucumber, cut into ¼ inch pieces
4 oz. tofu, cut into cubes
¼ cup chopped roasted cashews
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoons lime juice