When I started the vegan diet I knew nothing about this food called tofu and I did not know anything about what benefits it could give me.
Now the question many people usually ask when deciding to eat this vegan food is the following ” is tofu healthy?”
Tofu is soy and it has high amount of protein to help vegans increase the protein content ,however are there any other potential risks in consuming tofu?
There has been a lot of debates and talks about this amongst my group of vegan friends.
We will find this out in this article as I will be unloading everything about tofu for you.
What is Tofu
So is tofu healthy in its entirety?
To answer this question I will need to first talk about what tofu is and how it came about.
Tofu is basically food that is made by the solidification of soy milk, much like the process of making cheese from milk.
According to HealthLine tofu was discovered by accident when a Chinese cook was cooking 2000 years ago.
The good side of tofu
Tofu has all the good benefits due to it being a plant based food. The following are benefits you will derive from eating tofu.
- High Protein and full nutrients
What I have always loved about tofu is that not only does it have high amount of protein which our bodies need as vegans but it is one of the most nutrient-dense vegan foods you can have.
With an average protein content of 8 grams you can surely be able to go workout after having a meal of tofu.
As I have said over and over again on my website that if you are a vegan you need to make sure you are on the look out for making sure you get enough vitamins in your body. So having tofu can help put your mind at ease on many of your meals.
The key is obviously not to over do it at all.
The nutrients you derive from tofu are as follows:
That is quite a lot hey.
- Reduction of heart disease
Again as I have been saying on my posts that the reason of me becoming a vegan was to cure my heart related condition.
Ever since I became vegan I believe soy has taken away my chest pains for good.
Tofu, being soy has been said to reduce heart related conditions. Although the studies for this have been very few the studies that have been done do give a great link between soy and reduced heart disease just like the study published at the US National Library of Medicine Institute of Health.
The other research also backed this up that a compound found in tofu called saponins is linked to the reducing of bad cholesterol levels in the body.
- Can help reduce Diabetes
Tofu was also linked to the reduction of insulin sensitivity and reducing fats in the blood vessels which reduced heart disease as per the study done by the same Health Institution.
- Reduction of cancer
On my previous post I did talk about the linkage of cancer reduction with soy or plant based foods when I compared a vegan and a meat eater.
There I highlighted why meat eaters are more at risk of cancer compared to vegans.
- Weight loss
Tofu, as a plant based food, is without a doubt the best food for helping you lose weight. In fact, I would recommend it in your diet if you are looking to lose weight on a vegan diet since it will also help give you protein unlike other vegan foods.
- Bone health
The soy isoflavones in soy can with improving bone health and that is the other reason it can be used as food for increasing calcium in your body.
The bad side of tofu
As much as this plant based food is deemed to have all the positive health benefits but there are also some negatives you need to keep in mind.
The main problem with tofu is that it is an unfermented soy which leaves it with many risk factors.
- Breast cancer
Tofu is said to have a compound called phytoestrogen which is said to block the normal production of estrogen for women which affects their breast cells.
The more a woman uses tofu, the more their risk is elevated.
I would just warm women who have a history of cancer or any cancer related illness to ensure that they try to avoid tofu and focus on other foods.
This is also confirmed by a study I read a week ago published at web MD
- Kidney and liver damage
Since most tofu is genetically Modified it has been linked with easily killing the healthy bacteria in your gut system which in turn effects your main organs like your kidneys and livers.
Tofu is linked to cognitive problems like dementia. This was as per a study done in Asia which linked the consumption of tofu for two serving per week and more with the increase of brain aging.
Tofu has many antinutrients like oxalates which is linked to causing kidney stones and phytates which blocks nutrients absorption.
- Lacks other vitamins
Tofu lacks many vitamins when compared to meat which makes it an incomplete food.
Tofu is lacks vitamin B12 and vitamin D for instance.
Ways to prepare it
Learning how to prepare tofu can make a huge difference in whether it is healthy or not and also whether it gives you the nutrition you need.
It is better to go with pickled tofu as it is the healthiest due to fermentation processes.
The other thing you can do is to prepare tofu with no other unprocessed vegan foods (like vegan sausages) as these will act as a catalyst to cause tofu produce more negative effects which I have mentioned above.
In my case I only eat tofu once a week as a maximum consumption.
Below is a video of expect doctors talking about tofu
Take home message
Most people do not know that whether tofu is healthy or not as a vegan food because tofu is the widely eaten food amongsts vegans.
What makes this the case is because of the high protein since most vegans are always worried that they will not have enough protein in their diet.
So to answer this question: “is tofu healthy?” I would say tofu is very healthy but if you eat it too much for example 4-5 times a week due to the other negative risks which could erupt like break cancer.
I hope this article was helpful in answering your question about tofu. If you have questions or any comments then you can comment below and I would be more than happy to help you out or engage you.