Tofu is a soy product that is a staple in many Malaysian cuisines and has plenty of health benefits. Read on to find out more.
The tofu is very nutritious and versatile.
Tofu is made of the soya bean plant (scientific name: Glycine max), a legume that is mainly grown for its beans. Many studies have shown that soya bean and its products — henceforth known as soy — are nutritious and therefore have many health benefits too.
Soy contains a large amount of protein, B vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc.
Among the products derived from soy are tofu (bean curds), tofu skin, soy sauce, soybean oil and soybean paste.
Food products derived from soy such as tempeh (traditional fermented soya bean cake) and textured vegetable protein are important sources of food for vegans and vegetarians.
Although soy contains an abundant amount of fibre, it is removed once the products are processed into food products such as tofu and soya bean drinks.
The tempeh is an important source of protein for vegans.
There’s a lot of calcium in the bean, too. This is good news for vegans as well as lactose intolerant individuals as they have to avoid dairy products. A glass of soymilk will have at least 60 mg of calcium and ½ cup of tofu can contain up to 400 mg of calcium!
Soy is high in fat compared to other legumes. However, the fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated — are good ones.
Now, let’s take a look at important health benefits of tofu and other soy products:
#1: Kills cancer cells — Studies have shown that consumption of soy can decrease the incidence of certain cancers. It has so much of good stuff that it can only be good for you.
#2: Excellent source of nutrition — As outlined above, soy products are wholesome and healthy in moderate amounts. The fact that tofu is plant-based and free of non-saturated fat makes it even better.
#3: Boost heart health — The good fats in soya bean can lower cholesterol and promote good heart health.
#4: Improve bone health — The calcium and minerals present in the legume can help with various processes in the body including strengthening the bones.
#5: Relieve menopausal symptoms — Isoflavones in soya beans are helpful in reducing menopausal symptoms associated with decrease in estrogen such as hot flashes and mood swings because they bind to estrogen receptor cells. This means that they help lessen the impact of estrogen decrease in women.
Ask your doctor if you have questions or concerns regarding soy.
There are some studies on the drawbacks of soy. Isoflavones, while helpful in moderate amounts for menopausal women, are related to the spread of breast cancer in some women. Soy can also interfere with thyroid medication in patients suffering from thyroid ailments.
The verdict? Tofu is a great and healthy food for everyone if taken in moderation. If you have any specific question about your personal consumption, you can always ask your doctor about it.
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