Since I traveled back home from out west this April tofu has been a staple in my diet. As I try to eat a more vegan / plant based diet, tofu has been a good source of protein for me. When I had started converting my diet to a vegan diet, I was afraid of soy products (that is how I got introduced to Almond Milk).
The old tale is “Soy increases your estrogen levels” But professionals and non-professional who are smarter than me help ease my worries and explained the interworking of soy and estrogen, and soon after tofu has become a staple in my fridge and in my day-to-day diet.
The nice thing about tofu that a lot of people don’t understand is you can easily manipulate the taste profile and taste to just about whatever you want it to taste and feel like. It absorbs spices very well. Tofu can be baked, grilled, fried, pan seared, boiled, grilled, and any other way you can think of, you probably can prepare it that way.
Another nice thing wirh preparing meals you don’t have to marinate tofu as long as you normally have to marinate animal meats such as chicken and fish. The absorption rate is much faster in my experiences preparing tofu.
Nutrients – tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamin B1, iron calcium selenium, and contains nine of 20 essential amino acids (1)
Lower Risk of Cancer – there had been some studies done showing that eating soy based products have reduced the risk of cancer. One study shows women who regularly had soy in their diet regularly (once a week) in their adolescence and adulthood showed a 24% lower risk of breast cancer vs those who didn’t.
Two reviews show men having higher amounts of soy especially from tofu had a 32-51% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. If you think about it by having tofu you are reducing your risk by half! While those men who are afraid of try tofu because it is not manly could have a 50% higher risk of getting prostate cancer because of their ego!
Diabetes Shield – Another benefit of tofu (soy) is it can reduce your blood sugar levels and insulin levels. In one study post menopausal women who had 100mg of soy isoflavones per day lowered the blood sugar by 23% and insulin by 15%
Other benefits of tofu and consuming soy based proteins are bone health, brain function, reducing hot flashes, reducing wrinkles, and my favorite (after reducing the chance of prostate cancer) weight loss.
Soy + Estrogen
As I alluded to earlier the myth that soy produces estrogen and increases your estrogen level. While yes technically it can increase your estrogen level, but it is not bad thing. Let’s get technically on how soy works in the body.
Soy contains a phytoestrogen (an estrogen occurring naturally in legumes, considered beneficial in some diets) which produce isoflavones, and these mimic the hormone estrogen. However these isoflavones are weaker than the ones your body naturally produces. So if you body produces enough estrogen these isoflavones from soy will not increase your levels of estrogen. But if you body doesn’t produce enough estrogen naturally these isoflavones will increase your levels to what your body needs. So guys you are not going to get man boobs from having tofu! (2)
The tofu I typical purchase is House Foods. I get the firm, organic red packing one, because that is what Costco sells. I prefer extra firm but you cant beat the price. The macros are for a 85 gram serving size 70 calories 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein (my serving size is 70-75 grams).
I would also suggest getting organic tofu vs non. I’m not a big organic person, I’m more look for natural products. But when it comes to the process and growing conditions of tofu, I prefer mine to be organic. Maybe one day I will write a post on how tofu is made!
What ways are you going to try to add tofu to your diet? Or if you’ve been using it, how? Have more questions on Tofu? Please contact me or start a discussion below, I’m sure others are thinking the same as you, but are waiting on YOU to start the discussion.