There are many health benefits of tofu for women, but besides it has side effects too. Read this article to know all about tofu for women.
What is tofu?
Tofu is a plant protein made from soybeans. Soybeans are soaked in water to soften them and then blended with water and boiled to make soymilk. The soymilk is strained and then curdled using Epsom salt or lemon juice. The resulting solids are strained and pressed to make tofu. Tofu is bland in taste but absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it is cooked with. It is a good source of plant protein and minerals, is low in saturated fat and high in healthy unsaturated fats.
It is used mainly in East Asian cuisine and is also added to some dishes as a substitute for meat. Tofu can be termed firm, extra firm, soft or silken depending on the water content.
122g of tofu contains
- Calories – 177
- Fat 12.19g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Carbohydrates 5.36g
- Protein 15.57g
- Calcium 421mg
- Minerals like selenium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
- Vitamin B and healthy polyunsaturated fats.
Health Benefits of Tofu for Women
1. Helpful for Menopause
Women are vulnerable to a host of health problems after menopause. Tofu offers some protective and preventive health benefits for aging women in the postmenopausal stage.
2. Prevents Diseases
Tofu is gluten-free, low in fat and calories, high in plant protein, and also has phytoestrogens, which protect against some cancers, heart diseases, and osteoporosis. Calcium and magnesium strengthen bones and prevent migraine headaches. It aids weight loss and prevents obesity, which is a precursor to many chronic diseases.
3. Maintains Body Health
Isoflavones in tofu help increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. It also helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure, and lowers atherosclerosis risk.
4. Maintains Organ’s Health
Tofu has an Isoflavone named genistein, which has antioxidant properties and thereby inhibits cancer cells’ growth. It also helps prevent liver damage caused by free radicals. Protein in tofu has also been linked to better kidney function in people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. It may help improve cognitive function and lower the risk of age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
5. Skin Health
It helps boost blood sugar control, reduces wrinkles, and improves skin elasticity, and keeps women looking young.
6. Other Benefits
Also, it helps relieve symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes. It is heart-protective, improves body mass index, lowers waist circumference and fasting insulin levels; consuming tofu once a week can cause a 48-56% lower risk of breast cancer and 59% lower risk of stomach cancer.
How to Use and Recipes
It is advisable to take only 25g of tofu in a day to reap its benefits. Firm tofu is available in health stores and supermarkets in the form of solid blocks. keep in mind that before using the tofu, rinse it well with lukewarm water.
You can stir-fry or grill firm tofu and add to curries and sauces. You can use soft tofu in soups and also in casseroles. Use silken tofu in desserts or blend into smoothies for kids.
Tofu Stir Fry
Cut a 400g block of firm tofu into cubes. Use a small amount of oil to shallow fry the cubes in a skillet till all the sides turn golden. Now, remove the tofu and set it aside.
Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and fry 1/2 cup of chopped carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli, red onion, and a 1-inch piece of chopped ginger. Fry the vegetables till they become crunchy. Now in a bowl, mix 3/4 cup of vegetable stock, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/8tsp of chili flakes, 2tbsp of coconut sugar, and 2 tsp of cornstarch. Add it to the stir-fried vegetables along with the fried tofu. Cook for a minute or two till the sauce thickens. Add salt and a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds. You can serve it as a side dish or add boiled noodles or rice to the pan while cooking the tofu stir fry.
Side Effects and Precautions
- Isoflavones in tofu have a chemical structure similar to estrogen. High levels of estrogen can increase the risk of breast cancer. Therefore, women should consume it in moderation.
- Always buy organic tofu and avoid genetically modified plant products.
- In animal studies, isoflavones reduced fertility, negatively affect embryonic development of fetuses, led to early puberty and also irregular menstrual cycles.
- Tofu has anti-nutrients that can interfere with protein digestion and mineral absorption in your body. However, cooking, soaking, sprouting, and fermenting tofu can reduce anti-nutrient content.
- People with thyroid problems should avoid consuming tofu in excess.