The vegan superfood that can give you a healthier lifestyle
Tofu is full of nutrients that our body needs, very useful for vegetarians and vegans that may miss out on vitamins due to a meat-free diet.
Making sure you are leading a healthy life has always been important, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at data in the US. Record obesity levels where more than 2 in 5 adults are obese, and 1 in 5 minors, are a major health and social issue. How can this be tackled?
This is where ‘superfoods’ come in. These are 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.
One of these superfoods is tofu, a vegan food of Chinese 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”.
A source of protein and vitamins
Tofu is a 100% vegetable solid paste made from the coagulation of calcium and magnesium salts within cooked soy milk. Also known as soybean or bean curd, tofu can be found in varieties classified according to their water content.
The ‘silkier’ tofu is not pressed, being as thick as a custard, while the firmer varieties closely resemble soft cheese. 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; these qualities make it a perfect replacement for 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 major study, people who ate at least one serving of tofu a week had an 18% lower risk of heart disease. The study itself was huge, involving more than 210,000 healthcare workers in the United States. 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.