Tofu is a great food item for a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. The soft, cheese-like food is derived from soybeans. It is also known as soya curd. The food is made from curdled soya milk with a coagulant. The food has been a staple food in Asia for more than 2,000 years. However, it has gained wide popularity across the globe especially as a substitute for meat. The food has a bland taste, which allows it to easily absorb other food flavors. This easy to digest food has a host of nutritional benefits.
The following is based on a half cup serving or 4 ounces of raw, firm tofu.
- Calories – 95
- Protein –10 grams
- Carbohydrates – 3 grams
- Fat – 5 grams. Low fat tofu contains 1.5 grams
- Saturated fat - 0.1 grams
- Cholesterol - 0
- Calcium – 230 mg
- Iron – 4 mg
- Magnesium – 40 mg
- Phosphorous – 140 mg
- Potassium – 160 mg
- Sodium – 7 mg
- Fiber – 0.5 grams
Types of Tofu
The food is available in soft, firm and silken forms. The soft form is ideal in recipes where the product needs to be blended. Silken soya curd is creamy, which makes it ideal in blended dishes. Firm tofu has a thick consistency. It works as a suitable substitute for meat in various recipes. It can be cubed, pickled, barbecued, baked or stir-fried. It has the highest content of calcium, protein and fats.
- Strong muscles – the high quality, easily digestible proteins enables the body to develop strong, healthy muscles. It also supports the development of healthy membranes, tissues and cells.
- Bones and teeth - the rich calcium content in soya curd supports healthy bones and teeth.
- Energy levels – minerals such as iron and selenium help the body to maintain high energy levels.
- Osteoporosis – calcium rich foods help to prevent osteoporosis, a disease that is characterized by gradual loss in bone density. This increases the risk of bone fractures. The food is also rich in isoflavones which helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Cardiovascular - it has been established that tofu can help you manage healthy cholesterol levels. This is because it reduces the levels of bad cholesterol, but helps to maintain good cholesterol levels. This reduces the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.
- Menopausal health – isoflavones help balance hormonal levels in women in the pre and post-menopausal phases. This helps to reduce the discomforts associated with menopause. The high isoflavone content in soya curd can help to minimize menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and irritability.
- Cancer – isoflavones have been found helpful in the management of certain cancers. They help to prevent and lower the rate of breast, prostrate and colon cancer.
Storage of Tofu
In the stores, you’ll find tofu in water-filled packs or aseptic packages. The food should be kept cold. Hence, it is important to retain the food in water until ready for use. If you drain and change the water daily, the food can last a week. It can be frozen for up to 3 months although the texture will change. It will require more effort to chew.