Proponents of tofu for heart health point to the low incidence of heart disease in populations that consume tofu regularly, such as in Asia. The soy protein and isoflavones in tofu are considered a powerful cholesterol fighter - studies show that regular tofu consumption can lead to up to a 30% drop in overall cholesterol. Tofu is believed to lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, strong indicators of heart disease. One serving of tofu also contains 15% of the daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids, a heart-healthy substance normally found in fish. These fatty acids not only improve cholesterol but are also believed to aid in helping blood to clot properly.
The isoflavones in tofu act as a form of estrogen in the body, and have been shown to be beneficial to women in both peri-menopause and menopause. In peri-menopause, some believe that the plant estrogen in tofu can help the body regulate the dramatic fluctuations of the hormone during this time. When estrogen levels are low in menopause, isoflavones can help maintain hormone levels and fend off estrogen loss. The body's supply of estrogen affects many potential health conditions, including osteoporosis, breast cancer and gynecological cancers, so regulating this hormone is of vital importance to women.
The same isoflavones that protect women in menopause can be beneficial in fending off prostate cancer in men. Studies have shown that isoflavones can help slow prostate cancer growth and protect against enlargement of the prostate glands.
How can you use Tofu daily?
Read some simple uses below:
- Start with something quick and easy, a stir-fry for example. Select your favorite vegetables and a firm tofu. If you are comfortable making stir-frys, go for it.
- Now, think tofu for dessert. The creamy, soft texture of silken tofu is ideal for desserts, and can even be used as a substitute for dairy products in mousses, puddings, and cream pies.
- Make a delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast or a nutritious snack by blending soft tofu with your favorite fruits (and cane sugar or honey to taste) in a blender or food processor.
- Marinated baked tofu can be served in salads or in sandwiches. Use olive oil as the basis for the marinade and add the seasonings of your choice. Some of our favorites include tamari, garlic and ginger.
- Scramble soft tofu together with your favorite vegetables and turmeric to give it a yellow "egg-like" coloring. This delicious dish can be served as is or can be used as the basis for "tofu rancheros" by being wrapped in a tortilla and served with black beans and salsa.