Saturday, 7 April 2018

Is Tofu Really That Good for Us?

Tofu has had a bad rap because it is made from soy.  If it really isn’t good for us, then why do the Japanese, who eat lots of tofu, have the highest life expectancy in the world?


Back in the 90′s, soy foods became popular as a health food. Studies showed that people in Asia who ate lots of soy had lower rates of heart disease, obesity and breast cancer. Soy became the miracle food.
Studies discovered that soy has estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones, which could harm female fertility, stimulate cancer cell growth and are destructive for thyroid function. Then there were studies indicating that soy could cure high cholesterol and reduce menopause symptoms. So you can see how confusing all this is when it comes to eating tofu, or other soy products. 
We know that breast cancer is one of the most lethal diseases, and dietary factors may play a significant role in its development. A study in Science Direct found that Caucasian women have the highest occurrence of breast cancer; Asian women have the lowest. There are studies suggesting that an increase in soy consumption could decrease breast cancer.
Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds. Tofu is a good source of protein, is gluten-free, contains no cholesterol and is low in calories. 


1. Helps Lower Cancer Risk

When eaten as part of a healthy diet, soy can help combat many forms of cancer.
  • Lowers Breast Cancer RiskAn analysis of 35 studies found that soy lowers breast cancer risk in Asian women. Soy was found to be beneficial for women with some types of aggressive breast cancer, according to a Tufts University study.
  • Prostate Cancer
  • It was also found that soy can help prostate cancer survivors recover quicker than those who didn’t consume soy products.
  • Protects against Digestive CancersSoy was found in studies to protect against gastrointestinal cancers in certain cases.

2. Helps with Women’s Fertility

When eaten as part of a healthy diet, soy was shown to help with fertility.

3. Symptom Relief for Menopause and Hot Flashes

Soy contains phytoestrogens known as isoflavones, which are similar in structure to the female hormone estrogen. These isoflavones may help relieve symptoms due to low estrogen, which occur during menopause. Soy helps some women with hot flashes, a study from the North American Menopause Society found.

4. Good for Kidney Function

The protein of soy was found to be beneficial for those undergoing dialysis or kidney transplantation. An analysis of nine trials showed a positive effect of those with chronic kidney disease.

5. Lowers Bad Cholesterol

It was found that soy isoflavones significantly reduced LDL cholesterol but did not change HDL, according to studies at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition, Tokyo, Japan.

6. Good for the Heart

Adding soy to the diet may decrease heart disease risk, according to studies.

7. Improves Bone Health

Soy has been found to improve bone health, especially among Asian women. Soy isoflavones help increase bone mineral density, especially after menopause.


Those with soy allergies or sensitivities should avoid tofu. Aside from that, tofu is a healthy addition to your diet—in moderation, of course. You have to consume over 100mg of soy isoflavones, which is equivalent to 6 oz uncooked tempeh or 16 cups soy milk daily, to be at risk of reduced ovarian function.


Those with an underactive thyroid need to watch how much soy they consume as it can interfere with thyroid medication—but only in excess, according to Nutrients review. It is best to wait at least 4 hours after consuming soy to take thyroid medicine says the Mayo Clinic.
However, 14 studies found that soy foods didn’t affect thyroid function in people with healthy thyroids.


One block of hard tofu, weighing 122 grams (1/3 pound) has only 177 calories, 15.57 g of protein, 421 mg of calcium, 65 of magnesium and much more. For more information, go to Tofu Nutrition


It’s best to buy organic tofu so it won’t be made with genetically modified soy.
When you are choosing tofu, note that it comes in soft to firm to extra-firm textures. The soft tofu is smooth and good for desserts, salad dressings and sauces. For stir-frying, baking and grilling firm and extra-firm tofu is best.


Tofu should be refrigerated in the sealed package it comes in; once the package is opened, rinse it well and keep it in a container covered with water in the refrigerator. Change the water daily to keep the tofu fresh for up to one week.
It can be frozen in its original packaging; it will keep up to five months. The texture and color will change, creating a spongy and yellowish tofu but will absorb flavorings just as well.

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