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Everything You Need to Know About Tofu

If you’ve been looking for a lean protein, and an alternative to meat, then tofu is exactly what you've been looking for.

Tofu is derived from soy protein, and reportedly originated in China—according to reports, it was discovered quite by accident by a cook, around 2,000 years ago. However, the reason you are only just hearing about tofu is that it only really appeared in the Western world in the ‘60s.

Tofu is often considered to be a great food for those who are concerned with healthy eating, as it's a lean-plant based protein with far fewer calories than that found in meat-based protein. In addition to protein, tofu is also a source of iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. As for what it looks like? It is essentially soymilk that has been thickened to create curds, which are then packaged as white blocks. And tofu has a pretty neutral taste, which lends itself well to a number of different dishes, including curries and stir-fries. You can get creative with tofu because of its versatility, and either marinate it or grill it—but always read the instructions on the packaging about how to prepare and store tofu, often it should be rinsed, covered in water, and kept in the refrigerator.

However, there is also a bit of a debate surrounding tofu, and just how good it is for you. Here's what you should know: while some argue that you should definitely add it to your diet, others suggest that you should stay away from tofu because it’s made from soy, and soy is, according to some, is not healthy. Draxe reports that multiple studies have linked soy to digestive troubles, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, and more.

It’s important to address these health concerns, and according to CookingChannelTV, much of these concerns are due to the presence of isoflavones, which are believed to increase the risk of breast cancer. However, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has found that consuming moderate amounts of soy products does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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