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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Beans and Legumes >>  Tofu


Tofu is often known as the cheese of Asia which is high in proteins and comparatively low in fats and has a physical appearance of that of a block of farmer’s cheese. Tofu is made from the yoghurt of soybean milk and has a light cream color.
  1. Tofu is a very good source of soy protein. In many studies soy protein have been shown to decrease the risk of getting heart disease by lowering total cholesterol by 30%, LDL cholesterol by 35-40% (and produce larger LDL molecules which are less harmful) and raise HDL cholesterol significantly. Soy proteins are also responsible for increasing the nitric oxide levels in the blood which helps improve dilation of blood vessels and decreases oxidative stress by scavenging the free radicals.
    Moreover the tofu is also related to lower the blood cholesterol and maintain blood sugar levels in the body by preventing high sugar spikes. Besides diabetes is more often associated with high blood pressure and heart diseases, soy proteins is also been proved beneficial in these conditions.
  2. Tofu has good fats or omega 3 fatty acids that help lower cholesterol, reduce platelets stickiness, decrease platelet aggregation, prevent heart arrhythmias, improve HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol which is the most common cause for clogged arteries.
  3. Isoflavones present in tempeh act as weak plant estrogens and bind to estrogen receptors in the body. This binding may help post-menopausal women to relieve the uncomfortable menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. Soy proteins may also help maintain the heart and bone health along with decreasing the risk of breast cancer in them. Moreover tofu is also a good source of calcium which is believed to reduce bone loss caused in rheumatoid arthritis.
  4. Tofu is also a good source of selenium a trace mineral that functions as an antioxidant and works synergistically with glutathione peroxidase and vitamin E to scavenge the free radicals and decrease the oxidative stress in the body. Besides being a good source of protein tofu is also rich in minerals like iron, copper, and manganese. Just 4 ounces of tofu provides 33% of the daily value for iron, 11% of the daily value for copper, 34.5% of the daily value for manganese and 18.3% daily value for proteins with just 86 calories and negligible saturated fat.
  5. Tofu is included under the foods that contain oxalates and also contain goitrogens that tend to interfere with thyroid gland functioning. Many people can also get allergic reaction to tofu, thus tofu recipes should be consumed wisely in such conditions.
Submitted on January 16, 2014