Why Tofu Is Good For You – Health Benefits & Nutritional Facts

Why Tofu Is Good For You – Health Benefits & Nutritional Facts
Main Name: Tofu
Biological Name: Glycine max
Names in Other Languages: Queso de soja (Spanish), Tahu (Tamil), Mullaatha (Malayalam)
If you have ever been to an Asian market, you must have commonly seen the white colored, rectangular blocks on display. Do not assume these blocks to be your favorite cottage cheese or paneer. In fact, they are actually the highly nutritious tofu, a highly celebrated alternative to meat in several dishes. This delicious food is prepared from soy milk curds by pressing them into soft white blocks. Due to its high nutritious nature and great versatility, it is a staple in cuisines of many Asian countries. Tofu is extensively used in various forms, ranging from salads to entrées to desserts to protein shakes. Found in three textures, namely, firm, extra firm and silken; tofu is finally working its way into mainstream diets after being enjoyed as an exclusive vegetarian staple. In the recent times, it has gained widespread popularity due to its nutritional and health benefits. Cut into thick chunks and sautéed, grilled or baked; tofu makes a great protein food, with some wonderful health benefits. Considered as one of the most versatile, flavored and nutritious foods around, tofu exceeds the nutritional value of most meat dishes. Check out the amazing health benefits of tofu that not only delights your taste buds, but also keeps you fit and healthy.For people who are looking for an alternative to animal protein should start consuming tofu. Tofu is high in protein and meets the daily requirement of the body protein without adding many calories and saturated fats. Tofu also contains essential omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish food and is very effective in maintaining blood cholesterol levels. Tofu is very rich in calcium and prevents conditions like bone weakness, loss, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Recent studies have proven that tofu is also very effective in preventing breast and prostrate cancer. It also contains hordes of other health benefits that one should know. Read more to know its other nutritional facts and benefits.
Legend has it that tofu originated in China about 2000 years ago. The precise details of its origins are still uncertain but according to historians, its discovery took place accidentally. It is believed that a Chinese cook added the seaweed nigari to a pot of soybean milk, curdling it, and thus, unintentionally creating tofu. Tofu and the technique of its production was first introduced in Korea and then in Japan in the 8th century. In Japan, it was originally known as “okabe” and was served as a traditional dish. Tofu gained widespread popularity throughout Japan in the 17th century and gradually spread to other parts of East Asia, mainly due to the spread of Buddhism as it formed an important source of protein in the vegetarian diet of East Asian Buddhists. In the West, tofu became popular with the increasing interest of people looking for healthier foods. It received widespread attention during the 1960s, and since then, tofu has been soaring in popularity.


Health Benefits of Tofu

  1. Regular consumption of tofu reduces incidences of heart diseases due to the presence of powerful cholesterol fighters, soy protein and isoflavones. Studies have proved that regular tofu consumption is helpful in reducing overall cholesterol. Tofu can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels which are strong indicators of heart diseases.
  2. Tofu is a good source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, a heart-healthy substance normally found in fish. These omega-3 fatty acids are not only effective in maintaining the cholesterol level but also aid in proper blood clotting.
  3. Tofu contains isoflavones which act as a form of estrogen in the body, and is extremely beneficial to women who’ve reached menopause. During menopause, when estrogen levels are low, isoflavones help in maintaining hormone levels and fend off estrogen loss. Tofu is also effective in preventing osteoporosis, breast cancer and gynecological cancers in women.
  4. The isoflavones present in tofu are significant for preventing prostate cancer. Studies indicate that isoflavones are essential for slowing down prostate cancer growth and provide protection against the enlargement of prostate gland.
  5. Tofu is very rich in protein and can meet a major part of daily protein requirement of the body. It contains essential minerals, like iron and anti-oxidants, like manganese, copper and selenium. These minerals contribute to maintaining the energy levels and prevent myriad cancers by protecting the DNA.
  6. Tofu has considerable amounts of calcium present which is beneficial in providing protection against bone weakness, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  7. While being low in saturated fats and sodium tofu provides the necessary amount of protein, thereby being a good replacement to food from animals.
  8. With sufficient amount of protein present, tofu provides a sense of satiety, reducing the need of eating often. Besides, its low calorie content greatly helps in weight loss.
Tofu Nutrition FactsAmount: 1 cup
Weight: 252 g


Nutrients Amount
Basic Components  
Proteins 20 g
Water 212.9 g
Ash 1.8 g
Total Calories 192
Calories From Carbohydrates 19
Calories From Fats 101
Calories From Proteins 71
Total Carbohydrates 4.7 g
Dietary Fiber 756 g
Fats & Fatty Acids  
Total Fat 12 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 804 mg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 6 g
Vitamin A 214 IU
Vitamin C 252 mcg
Thiamin 204 mcg
Riboflavin 131 mcg
Niacin 491 mcg
Vitamin B6 118 mcg
Folate 38 mcg
Pantothenic Acid 171 mcg
Calcium 882 mg
Iron 14 mg
Magnesium 76 mg
Phosphorus 244 mg
Potassium 305 mg
Sodium 18 mg
Zinc 2 mg
Copper 486 mcg
Manganese 1.5 mg
Selenium 22 mcg


How many calories in tofu (per 100 gm)
Tofu has about 101 calories per 100 gm of weight.
How to Buy Tofu
  • Tofu is available in various forms, you can either buy it refrigerated in individual packages or in bulk, or non-refrigerated in aseptically sealed containers.
  • While buying packaged tofu, remember to check the expiration dates to estimate the shelf life of the tofu.
  • Tofu varies in texture from soft to firm to extra-firm; hence, always buy according to the desire of the recipe. Soft tofu has a smoother texture and is best for salad dressings, sauces and desserts, while firm and extra-firm tofu are best for baking, stir-frying, and grilling.
  • If you are selecting tofu based on the fat content, firmer tofu is usually the highest in fat, while the softest tofu, also known as silky or silken, contains the lowest amount of fat.
  • While selecting tofu based on its calcium content, always look for products that specifically say “calcium-precipitated” on the label or that include calcium sulfate in their ingredient list.
Tofu Storage Tips
  • Aseptically packaged tofu doesn’t require refrigeration until opened, but all other forms of tofu should be refrigerated in their container.
  • Once the package is open, all types of tofu should be rinsed well, and stored in a container covered with water in the refrigerator. Change the water daily in order to keep the tofu fresh for a week.
  • Tofu, if frozen in its original packaging, can be kept for five months. However, it will slightly change its texture and color, generally making it more spongy and absorbent, and more yellowish in color. These physical changes can be very suitable in certain recipe preparations.