What do you think of when you hear the word tofu? If you’re thinking about those strange white bricks of mystery substance, you aren’t alone. I remember when I first tried tofu years ago. I didn’t realize that you can add it to smoothies or use it in vegetable dishes. I actually (cringes) forked a bite from the package right into my mouth!
Needless to say it tasted awful and I didn’t try it again until years later when I went vegan. Tofu is basically soybean milk that has been condensed into curds then pressed into a block. You might say that it’s made kind of like cheese. Even if the thought of consuming tofu doesn’t have you jumping for joy, it’s worth it to take a look at the amazing health benefits. Eating tofu can really help your body, especially when you use it occasionally in place of meat products.
Tofu Is A Great Protein Replacement
A half-cup serving, about 4 ounces, of tofu contains a little more than 10 grams of protein and about 95 calories. It also has all eight of the essential amino acids that the body can’t produce on its own. While 4 ounces of ground beef has about 25 grams of protein, it also packs on more than 300 calories which include a bunch of saturated fat and cholesterol. If you’re watching your calories or portion sizes to lose weight, you can look at it another way. 100 calories worth of tofu has 11 grams of protein, while 100 calories worth of ground beef has just under 9 grams. This makes tofu a good substitute when you’re trying to lose a little weight.
Tofu Might Help With Weight Loss
Tofu is low in fat and cholesterol. Did you know that a half of a cup of tofu has only 5 grams of fat?
You can’t say that about beef. In fact, beef has 15 grams of fat. That’s like half of the recommended daily allowance in just one serving! You can forget about eating that cupcake later if you’re going to choose the beef option.
Additionally, tofu has no cholesterol. Meats, regular dairy products, and even fish all have some cholesterol. Yes, even fish can be deceptive in that way. So if you want to lose a few pounds, it could help to replace some of your fatty meat meals with tofu. If you don’t want to give up your whole meat sources yet, try getting rid of those processed ones, you know, hot dogs and lunch meat, and eat some tofu instead.
Eating Tofu May Help With Menopause And Pre-Menopause Symptoms
Oh no, the dreaded “M” word. While losing your monthly period can be a blessing in so many ways, menopause comes with its bad points as well. Hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings. Yeah, mood swings probably should have been listed first. And in all caps. And in bold. You get the point.
Tofu contains special plant phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. They can act kind of like estrogen in the body, but they are a lot weaker. Unless you cram tons of tofu down your face on a regular basis, you shouldn’t have to worry about overdoing it. These compounds and the nutritional content in tofu can help to reduce the scary symptoms that you probably worry about when menopause comes rolling around.
Tofu Might Help To Prevent Bone Loss
Like many dairy products, tofu is a great source of calcium. This makes tofu a total win-win!
It also contains magnesium, which is important for bone health, too. People, especially women, seem to be concerned about loss of bone mass during the aging process. The isoflavones in tofu can work with the minerals to keep bones healthy and strong. This is especially beneficial if you’re going through or have gone through menopause and could use a little boost to keep your bones from deteriorating.
Tofu Can Help To Reduce The Signs Of Aging
One of the isoflavones found in tofu, called daidzein, has been shown to activate a protein that might help to increase life span. Another isoflavone, called genistein, can boost the production of collagen.
You know, collagen? That mystical protein that helps makes up the structure of skin? Yeah, that one.
The one that helps to keep skin so firm and elastic. The one that seems to slink away somewhere over the years. The one that many manufacturers say can be brought back with their $200 bottle of anti-wrinkle cream. Well, tofu is a lot cheaper and helps your skin from the inside where it counts. You don’t have to necessarily throw out that cream if you already spent a fortune on it, you just may not need to buy it in the first place.
So next time you’re grocery shopping, take another look at tofu. There are so many delicious (really!) ways to add it into your diet. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tofu recipes soon, so stayed tuned.
Until next time!