7 reasons why tofu is the best source of vegan protein

7 reasons why tofu is the best source of vegan protein

Tofu is a popular Japanese food made from curdled soy milk, which is then pressed into a solid block.

It can be firm or soft in texture and can be cut into different shapes and cooked in different ways. Soy is naturally gluten-free and low in calories, making it ideal for weight loss.

it does not have cholesterol and is a rich source of nonheme iron and calcium. Soy contains several compounds known as isoflavones, which have different properties.

It is one of the best sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Nutritional information on tofu

A block of hard tofu (approximately 100 grams) contains approximately the following nutrients:

  • 171 calories
  • 5.34g carbohydrates
  • 10g fat
  • 13g protein
  • 418mg calcium
  • 63 of magnesium
  • 3mg iron
  • 279 mg of phosphorus
  • 173mg potassium
  • 2mg of zinc
  • 25 micrograms of folate

It also contains very small amounts of thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), vitamin B-6, choline, manganese, and selenium. Tofu also contains healthy polyunsaturated fats, including Omega 3 Alpha-linolenic acid.

health benefits of tofu

Research has linked the isoflavones present in tofu with a lower risk of several lifestyle-related diseases. Seven benefits of tofu listed below:

1) Heart health

Isoflavone compounds are known to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. A high level of LDL is associated with liver and heart disease.

Some studies have indicated that daily consumption of soy products may decrease biomarkers of cardiovascular risk. The FDA recommends 25 grams a day of soy protein for bad cholesterol levels. Soy might also lower the risk of atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

2) May Prevent Certain Types of Cancer

A compound known as genistein can prevent the growth of cancer cells. This compound has antioxidant properties.

However, it is not recommended to take large amounts of soy due to its phytoestrogen content. Genistein is being studied for its therapeutic properties. One to two servings per day may help people with cancer.

3) Help control diabetes

Diabetes is generally associated with the excretion of excess protein by the kidneys. Some studies have indicated that consumption of soy products such as tofu can help the kidneys retain protein in the body.

Tofu does not cause an insulin spike, so it could be beneficial in reversing insulin resistance and diabetes.

4) Promotes Bone Health

The isoflavones present in soy products can prevent bone loss and increase bone mineral density. That could lead to a decreased risk of osteoporosis. The calcium present in soy can also play a key role in maintaining bone density.

5) Reduce Mental Decline

Isoflavones could be beneficial for the brain.  (Image via Unsplash/Robina Weermeijer)
Isoflavones could be beneficial for the brain. (Image via Unsplash/Robina Weermeijer)

Soy isoflavones in tofu are linked to better memory function, verbal fluency, and other parameters of cognitive abilities.

Soybeans also contain lecithins, which help the body produce phospholipids, namely phosphatidic acid (PA) and phosphatidylserine (PS). These two phospholipid molecules help in the maintenance of neurons and help in their functions.

6) May Help With Menopausal Symptoms

Tofu contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds similar to estrogen hormones in structure.

These compounds may help relieve symptoms of menopause, during which estrogen levels fluctuate in women. Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Soy has been seen to help reduce the frequency of hot flashes.

7) Reduce depression

Soy could be beneficial in depression.  (Image via Unsplash/Nik Shuliahin)
Soy could be beneficial in depression. (Image via Unsplash/Nik Shuliahin)

Studies have indicated that soy products can improve mood and help reduce the severity of depression.

Research has been done on pregnant women suffering from depression. This aspect is being studied to discover the potential of antidepressant properties.

Put off

Several properties of isoflavones, the compound present in soybeans, are beneficial to human health. However, it should be noted that phytoestrogen compounds can have side effects that affect fertility and reproductive health.

Soy products in small amounts may be beneficial, but excessive consumption is not recommended. People with medical conditions such as thyroid problems should consult a doctor about consuming soy products.

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