Tofu which is also commonly known as bean curd is a universal and affordable source of plant protein, making it essential to be included in vegetarian diets.
It is formed from curdled soy milk that has been squeezed into a bar, drained, and cooled.
Especially when compared to the majority of protein from animal sources, Tofu has very little saturated fat and no cholesterol.
When consumed alone, tofu has a higher likelihood of promoting weight loss than weight gain.
It’s quite low in calories but high in protein, which is a successful mixture when it comes to maintaining and controlling weight.
However, if you eat more than the recommended serving proportions or serve it with rich, high calories side dishes, you will most definitely end up gaining weight.
Tofu’s nutrition facts
Tofu is approximately 89 calories, 5 gms of fat, 10 gms of protein, 1 gm of fiber, 2 gms of carbohydrates, and less than 1 gm of sugar are present in a serving of tofu that is half a cup in size, according to the USDA.
Additionally, it contains more than 250 mgs of calcium, which satisfies 25% of the adult daily calcium recommendation of 1,000 milligrams.
Tofu, whether silky or smooth, has equal nutritional benefits.
Incorporating Tofu Into Your Diet
Soy is a complete protein, unlike many vegetarian protein sources, such as nuts and beans.
It consists of all the amino acids in sufficient ratios that your body cannot produce on its own — just like eggs, meat, dairy, poultry and fish.
When consumed post-workout, soy, in the form of tofu, can support muscle growth and repair.
Tofu absorbs seasonings, spices and sweeteners. But it is almost tasteless.
It can be used to pump up the level of creaminess and protein content of a smoothie made with fresh fruits and almond milk.
Serve it on a whole grain bun after marinating it in your preferred meat sauce, or broil cubes seasoned with fresh ginger, soy sauce, and scallions to toss into a salad.
Tofu’s health advantages
Let’s take a look at its top 4 health advantages
1. Helps in maintaining heart health
Consuming tofu frequently has been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
According to studies, it ensures a decrease in total cholesterol as well as low density lipoprotein (LDL), which is frequently known as bad cholesterol.
It is believed that consistent intake of legumes, like soy, lowers the risk of heart disease as it is a rich source of fiber and phytochemicals.
2. Source of protective antioxidants
Tofu, which is a soy product, contains earthly compounds known as isoflavones.
Isoflavones are strong antioxidants and might help minimize the destruction commonly known as oxidative stress which is done by molecules called free-radical.
This type of stress contributes to the development and aging of several chronic diseases.
In addition to providing other working plant substances like saponins, soya beans are particularly high in isoflavones.
3. Origin of whole plant protein
The nine mandatory amino acids we require for repair, growth and bodily processes like immunity are all found in soy, including tofu..
Since soy protein is easily absorbed by our bodies, it has a high level of digestibility and, according to some studies, it may even be on par with animal protein.
4. Blood sugar management
In one study, post-menopausal women who took 100 mg of isoflavones daily saw a 15% and 23% decrease in fasting insulin level and blood sugar.
Healthy Ways to Eat Tofu
One can always keep his body very healthy by having plain tofu, although it has a very minute flavor on its own.
When you prepare it, use fresh herbs or marinades so it can be more delicious when ready without adding excess fat or calories.
Tofu cubes can be baked or roasted for a crispier texture. It can be served with healthy sides like fruits, recently plucked vegetables, or brown rice.
If you eat meat more than veggies, substituting tofu for some of your weekly meals will reduce the number of calories you consume every seven days.
Despite having a promising nutritional profile, tofu is not necessarily beneficial in all situations.
For instance, tofu, if fried, can have hundreds of extra calories and large amounts of oil-derived fat grams.
It is more likely to cause weight gain when it is served dripping in a creamy or cheese sauce, like filled-fat coconut milk curry, because the dish contains more calories.
However, a single type of food rarely causes you to gain weight because body fat is usually caused by excess calorie consumption rather than a particular food.
The Cooking Style Matters!
Tofu can be blended into a fruit smoothie or stir-fried with a little oil and a good amount of recently harvested vegetables.
On the seasoning side, use it rather than mayo to lessen the dressing of a salad. Every dish is a great addition to a diet plan that places a focus on weight control.
Not all tofu preparation methods are suitable for diets.
However, deep fried tofu, which is frequently used in vegetarian or asian recipes, raises the amount of calories and fat in a 3.5 ounce serving to 271 and 20 grams of fat, respectively—3 grams of which are saturated fat.
Tofu used in desserts like cheesecake will lessen the number of fat and calories in the original recipes.
But keep in mind that desserts may still consist of additives like chocolate, sweets and fats that if consumed in excess, can make you gain weight.
A lot of renowned doctors and experts state that tofu is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids for human cellular function.
This does not, however, imply that tofu can never cause weight gain or that eating too much of it is beneficial.