With the growing awareness about the negative effects of obesity and weight gain and the increasing interest in staying fit, this white soft cheese like product has come in to the limelight. But in reality it has a long history and originated in China almost 2000 years ago. Tofu or bean curd is a soft cheese like product made from coagulation of soy milk that is pressed resulting soft white blocks. Being rich in proteins, minerals and calcium it acts a great substitute of meat and is ideal for the vegans. It is rich in health benefiting minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and selenium.
10 Best Health Benefits of Tofu:
The health benefits of tofu are innumerable. It not only helps in preventing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure but also prevents certain cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In addition, it also helps in weight loss and provides youthful looking skin and gorgeous, thick hair.
Improves Heart Health:
Heart attack and cardiovascular diseases has emerged as one of the largest cause of death in developed countries and it is all because of our unhealthy food habit that is based mostly on processed foods. Regular consumption of tofu however helps in reducing the risk of stroke and other cardiac diseases because it helps in reducing the level of harmful cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL level in the blood. In addition, it also helps in raising the level of HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Maintains Blood Pressure:
The bioactive peptides-glycinin and conglycinin present in fermented tofu acts as natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, thereby reducing inflammation and damage of blood vessels and also helps in lowering high blood pressure and keeping it under control. Add tofu to your regular diet and protect your heart from the harmful effects of inflammation.
Helps in Cancer Prevention:
In recent times, cancer has turned out as one of the largest causes of death throughout the world. Tofu is a rich source of flavonoids and isoflavonoids that helps in preventing cancerous cell growth. Genistein increases the activity of cancer preventive proteins that hinders the growth and multiplication of cancerous cells and checks the growth of tumors, especially in case of breast and prostate cancer.
Fights Obesity and Helps Weight Loss:
With extremely low cholesterol and fat content, tofu is an amazing food that helps in weight loss and prevention of obesity in an effective manner. The peptins present in fermented tofu prevents the blending and deposition of certain fatty acids in the cells there by helping in burning fat and controlling obesity. Add this amazing health food in to your regular diet if you are looking to shed some extra pounds.
Prevents Type 2 Diabetes:
The low fat and low calorie content of tofu makes it a perfect food choice for diabetics. Soy foods have been found to reduce insulin resistance of blood and intake of at least 200 grams of tofu per day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes significantly. Moreover, the high levels of proteins and nutrients in tofu also assists in lowering and controlling blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Slows Down Skin Aging:
Tofu is not great for health only it is amazing for your skin as well. The proteins present in tofu helps in improving the elasticity of skin and toning facial muscles, making your skin youthful and supple. It nourishes the skin, helps in stopping premature aging and appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and crow’s feet. So flaunt beautiful and younger looking skin with just a regular serving of tofu.
Prevents Menopause Related Disorders:
Menopause is a tumultuous time for women and during the pre-menopausal stage women experience imbalance of the hormone estrogen that causes several reactions like mood swings, sleeping disorders, headaches, hot flashes and dizziness. But the flavonoids and isoflavonoids present in tofu helps in restoring proper estrogen levels in the body thereby relieving the various symptoms associated with menopause. The high calcium content in tofu also helps in preventing osteoporosis and bone erosion that is more common in women after menopause.
Prevents Rheumatoid Arthritis and Improves Bone Health:
Being rich in health benefiting nutrients like calcium and magnesium, tofu helps in improving bone strength. The soy protein present in tofu helps in building up bones in children while preventing erosion of bone in adults. The isoflavonoids present in tofu can also help in preventing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis in middle aged women and elderly people. Include tofu in the regular diet of children and elderly people for healthy and stronger bones.
Improves Immune System:
Immune system is our body’s natural protection mechanism against foreign bodies and diseases and it is very important to maintain proper functioning of the immune system in order to ensure a healthy body. Although various external factors influence the functioning of this system, but nutrition plays a key role in this respect. Tofu is a complete health food that is rich in proteins, nutrients, minerals and antioxidants that helps in improving the functioning of the immune system.
Prevents Hair Loss:
Human hair is composed chiefly of protein and protein is required to maintain hair health, volume, quality and luster. Tofu being an amazing source of protein and minerals like selenium helps in preventing hair fall and promotes hair growth. Include tofu to your daily diet to have lively and lustrous tresses.
5 Delicious Tofu Recipes:
Now that you know the incredible health benefits of tofu let us look in to a few easy and healthy tofu recipes that you can prepare in a jiffy.
This is a delicious and healthy breakfast food that tastes amazing over crispy toasts. It tastes as good as eggs along with the goodness of tofu- an ideal breakfast option for vegans.
- Extra firm tofu- 1 Cup (Drained, dried and crumbled)
- Onions- 1 Chopped
- Red Bell Peppers- 1/2 Chopped
- Tomatoes- 1 Chopped
- Spinach- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped
- Salt- To taste
- Black Pepper Powder- 1 Tea Spoon
- Turmeric-1/2 Tea Spoon
- Olive Oil- 2 Table Spoon
Direction: Heat 1 table spoon oil in a pan, add onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and spinach, fry of 2-3 minutes and keep aside. Heat another table spoon of oil, add the crumbled tofu, sauté for 2 minutes, and add turmeric, fired vegetables, salt and black pepper, mix for 5 minutes and serve with toast.
Tofu and Vegetable Curry:
Enjoy the wholesome goodness of vegetables and tofu with this amazingly tasty main course side dish that tastes best with white or brown rice.
- Extra firm tofu- 2 Cups, drained, dried and cut in to small cubes
- Carrots- 1 Cup Cut in to small cubes
- Green Peas- 1/4th Cup
- Red Bell Pepper- 1/2 Cup diced
- Tomatoes-1 Chopped
- Onions-1 Sliced
- Ginger- 1 Table Spoon Grated
- Vegetable Broth-2 Cups
- Coconut Milk-1 Cup
- Chillies-2 Chopped
- Salt-To taste
- Turmeric- 2 Tea Spoon
- Refined Cooking Oil- 2 Table Spoon
Direction: Heat 1 table spoon oil in a pan and fry the tofu till golden brown, remove and keep aside. Heat another table spoon of oil add all the vegetables and chilies and fry for 5 minutes, add turmeric and salt, now add the grated ginger, vegetable broth and coconut milk, let it boil for 5 minutes and remove from flame. Serve with steaming rice.
Baked Lemon Tofu:
This is one yummy and healthy appetizer that your guests and kids are going to love, made with very less oil.
- Extra Firm Tofu- Four 1/2 Inch Slices drained and dried
- Lemon Juice- 4 Table Spoon
- Vinegar- 1 Table Spoon
- Soy Sauce- 1 Table Spoon
- Salt- A pinch
- Black Pepper- 1 Tea Spoon
- Olive Oil-1 Table Spoon
Direction: Mix lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and black pepper in a bowl, dip all the slices in the mix and place on a baking tray, and pour the remaining mixture over the slices. Marinate for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with soy sauce.
Enjoy the fun and savory taste of salsa and cheese wrapped in tortillas along with the goodness of tofu.
- Flour Tortillas- 2 Heated
- Extra firm Tofu- 1 Cup Drained, Dried and crumbled
- Red Chili Powder- 1 Tea Spoon
- Black Pepper-1 Tea Spoon
- Salt- To taste
- Spinach- 1/4th Cup Chopped
- Tomatoes- 1 Chopped
- Corn- 1/2 Cup
- Grated Cheese- 1/2 Cup
- Salsa- 4 Table Spoon
- Olive Oil- 1 Table Spoon
Direction: Heat the oil in a pan, add the tofu, red chili powder and salt and fry for 5 minutes, now add the tomatoes, corn and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from flame and place the mixture on two tortillas, add salsa from top, sprinkle black pepper powder and grated cheese, wrap the tortillas, bake for 20 minutes.
Blueberry, banana and Tofu Smoothie:
No meal is complete without the dessert course. With this healthy tofu and fruits smoothie there is no need to feel any guilt while enjoying the delicious taste.
- Silken Tofu- 1 Cup
- Milk- 1 Cup
- Blueberries and Raspberries- 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen
- Ripe Banana- 1
Direction: Mix all the ingredients in a blender, pour in glasses, freeze of 30 minutes and enjoy after a meal or as a snack.
How to Select and Store Tofu?
Tofu comes in different textures and packaging and it is important to know which one you are really looking for and which tofu will suit you best along with the method of storing it. Here are a few simple tips that will help you in selecting the right tofu and storing it in a proper way so as to retain its freshness.
- Tofu comes in three different textures-soft, firm and extra-firm. While soft tofus are best for desserts and salad dressings, firm tofu are ideal for stir frying, grilling and baking.
- Tofu is available in packets and sealed containers and it is best to refrigerate it.
- Once the package or seal is broken tofu should be washed thoroughly and stored immersed in water in a container.
- Regular changing of the water can keep it fresh for up to one week.
- If you are looking for low fat tofu it is best to go for the soft or silken ones.
- Go for “nigari” tofu if you are looking for a tofu with high magnesium content.
- Go for a product that specifically mentions “calcium-precipitated” if you a looking for a tofu rich in calcium.
- The fermented variety of tofu is richest in health benefiting nutrients and proteins.
Hope these delicious tofu recipes will help you solve the problem of making healthy yet tasty snacks for your kids as well as guests. Try out these easy recipes and don’t forget to share your special tofu recipes with us.