In an era in which leading a healthy life is becoming increasingly important, what are known as ‘superfoods’ play a fundamental role. They are, in essence, foods that have high levels of nutrients related to good health and the prevention of many kinds of diseases, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. In any case, we should not entrust our food solely to them, but rather they should serve as support.
One of these superfoods is none other than tofu, a vegan food of Asian origin that is a good alternative to meat of animal origin (we have all heard, to a greater or lesser extent, about the tofu burgers, to mention an example). Dr. Qi Sun, associate professor of nutrition at the T.H. Chan of Harvard, in Boston, says it is “a very nutritious food”.
Source of protein and vitamins
Tofu, a symbol of Asian cuisine, is a 100% vegetable solid paste made from the coagulation of calcium or magnesium salts within cooked soy milk. Its main element, in addition to water, is soy milk, to which various coagulants are added. Also known as soybean or bean curd, it can be found in varieties classified according to their water content.
Thus, the ‘silkier’ tofu is not pressed, being as thick as a custard, while the firmer varieties closely resemble soft cheese. In China, where it may have emerged around the year 200 BC, it comes in other shapes and flavors, such as sliced and smoked. Although the seasonings used can vary, “they all fall in the umbrella of tofu,” says Dr. Sun.
On a purely nutritional level, half a cup of tofu provides 21.8 grams of protein, 181 calories and 11 grams of fat, most of which is polyunsaturated. As for protein, as we said, it is a good alternative to animal meat. According to the American Heart Association, tofu, with its vegetable proteins, offers great benefits for heart health.
In addition to all this, tofu also has the essential amino acids that our body requires and is rich in minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron and manganese. Along with other soy-based foods, it is a good primary source of isoflavones, chemicals associated with various health benefits.
Two studies speak in favor of its consumption
According to a study conducted by the Sun itself, involving more than 210,000 healthcare workers in the United States, those who ate at least one serving of tofu a week had an 18% lower risk of heart disease . Another study, published in 2021 in the European Journal of Nutrition, revealed that those who had no history of cardiovascular disease and ate soy four or more days a week had a lower risk of dying from a heart attack, than those who did not consume it or did so infrequently.
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