Tofu: What It Is, Benefits And Its risks

Tofu is a type of curd made from soybeans and a popular meat substitute. Here you can find out the advantages and disadvantages of this soy product and how you can best prepare it. Tofu has become indispensable, especially in vegetarian and vegan diets. Not only can it be combined with various dishes, but it is also very healthy.

What Is Tofu

Tofu, also known as bean curd or soy curd, originally comes from Asia. There it is now one of the staple foods. It is now consumed all over the world. We like to use it as a meat substitute or for more variety in dishes. It is made up of the words “To” (= bean) and “Fu” (= curdle). For production, white soybeans are processed into soy milk. The flocculation (or coagulation) of proteins and denaturation results in a kind of quark, which is then drained. The soy quark is then pressed into blocks. The process is very similar to making cheese from cow’s milk. There are different types of tofu. The most popular varieties include the following:

  • Plain tofu
  • Silken tofu
  • Smoked tofu

The taste of unprocessed tofu is very neutral. Therefore, depending on the dish, you can create a spicy flavor with a suitable marinade. Smoked tofu already has a slightly smoky taste. Nevertheless, the spicy note can be refined here by marinating. Tofu is usually fried, baked, fried, or grilled with different spices. You can also enjoy silken tofu raw, for example. It is very soft and falls apart very quickly. The soy product tastes excellent on the grill, burgers, sausages, or skewer. There are almost no limits to the possibilities when it comes to preparation.

Tofu Is So Healthy

The bean quark is not only a genuine all-rounder in dishes but also convincing with its nutritional value. We introduce you to its beneficial properties.

Vegetable Protein

Part of our daily diet should consist of protein. For example, protein is needed to support muscle building. The bean quark is perfect as a vegetable protein source. If you hardly eat any fish, meat, or other animal products, you should ensure that you get plant-based protein sources. With about 15 grams of high-quality protein per 100 grams of tofu, people with a vegetarian or vegan diet, in particular, can cover a third of their daily protein requirements. Like tofu, tempeh is a soy product you can use as a meat substitute.

Low In Calories And Filling

Tofu contains around 124 calories per 100 grams. So that you have a comparison: the energy content of 100 grams of farmhouse bread is 221 calories, and mozzarella even has a range of 300 calories per 100 grams. In addition, tofu is good for the figure, with only 1.9 grams of carbohydrates and 4.8 grams of fat. Therefore, it is well suited for losing weight or a diet.

No Cholesterol

Compared to many animal products, the popular soy does not contain cholesterol. Therefore, the consumption of soy quark is particularly worthwhile for people who have to watch their cholesterol levels.

Contains Important Vitamins

B vitamins, in particular, are essential for your nervous system, heart, metabolism, and brain. Most of the time, there are too few of these vitamins in plant foods for the body to supply adequately. Tofu contains many B vitamins. Here you will find vitamins B1, B2, B3, and also vitamin E.

Sufficient Iron

Iron is mainly found in animal foods. You can use tofu to ensure that people on a vegetarian or vegan diet also get enough iron. Ensure you’re getting enough iron-rich products to help prevent anemia because iron is essential for blood formation. Tofu contains about 5.4 milligrams of iron per 100 grams.

Lots Of Minerals

In addition to iron, tofu contains many other valuable minerals. These include potassium, calcium, folate, and zinc, among others. The intake of these substances is essential for a healthy body. They are involved in various functions in the body. In addition, tofu is rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

Gluten And Lactose-Free

Unprocessed tofu is naturally gluten-free. However, during production, traces of gluten may be included. This is usually also stated on the packaging. The smoked version is different. This often includes soy sauce, which is sometimes made from gluten-containing wheat. The bean quark is lactose-free since no dairy products are processed during production.

Risks Of Tofu

I am wondering if tofu is for everyone. Not necessarily. We’ll tell you the disadvantages of eating soy products.

Influence On The Hormonal Balance

Soybeans naturally contain so-called isoflavones. This is a group of plant substances that belong to the phytohormones. Since these are similar to the human sex hormone estrogen, they are also called phytoestrogens. If you eat a lot of soy, it can affect your hormonal balance. The results of studies on isoflavones are conflicting. On the one hand, phytoestrogens can promote the growth of cancer cells. In other cases, the risk of cancer is reduced. However, this is also due to the diet. Some people consume more soy products than others because of their race. Therefore, people with cancer should consult with their doctors about whether they are allowed to eat more significant amounts. Parents should ensure that they avoid soy products as much as possible with babies and small children. Otherwise, there is a risk that the phytoestrogens can harm the hormone balance of the children.

Impairment Of The Thyroid

If you have problems with your thyroid, you should also avoid excessive consumption of soy products. Due to the isoflavones just mentioned, thyroid function may be impaired. People with an underactive thyroid gland should therefore avoid tofu.

Beware Of Taste And Allergies

If you are allergic to soy, you should, of course, not consume soy products. Caution is also required with taste. Depending on the product, the products may contain too many purines. If you are allergic to birch, you should also avoid tofu, as there is a risk of a cross-allergy to soy protein.

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