The Benefits of Tofu

September 11, 2009

The star of yesterday’s recipe, Tofu Stir Fry, was none other than tofu. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, tofu is a versatile source of protein that takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it in, which makes it stand out in the protein world. But what is tofu and what are some of it’s benefits?

Tofu is made from the curds of soybean milk and is a great source of protein, which is wonderful for those who maintain a vegetarian diet. It is also a good source of iron, calcium (especially if it is enriched with calcium), and omega-3 fatty acids, which have cardiovascular benefits. Research has also shown that soy protein:

  • lowers total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also may increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
  • helps alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.
  • helps reduce bone less and decrease risk of osteoporosis.
  • is a good source of antioxidants selenium and copper.

There are various types of tofu ranging from silken to extra-firm tofu.  The more firm the tofu, the more calories and protein it has. Here is a general breakdown of nutrition stats for different types of tofu (per 3 oz serving):

  • Silken: 45 calories, 2.5 grams total fat, 4 grams protein
  • Soft: 60 calories, 3 grams total fat, 6 grams protein
  • Firm: 70 calories, 3 grams total fat, 7 grams protein
  • Extra-Firm: 80 calories, 4 grams total fat, 8 grams protein

As you can see there isn’t a big nutritional difference between the different forms of tofu, so you should feel free to use any kind you want without worrying about calories and fat.

What’s your favorite tofu dish?

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  1. At Green Mountain, we make a tofu lasagna that is really great. But I probably like tofu stir fries the best because they are so tasty and quick and easy, too. Look forward to trying your recipe!

    1. Hmm….I wonder if I could be of any help. Usually you can do just about anything with tofu, you just have to keep in mind that the texture will vary a lot from other proteins. What does the salad call for?

  2. My favorite ain’t a healthy one: tofu teriyaki at a Japanese restaurant for a cheat meal. It’s lightly deep fried, but it’s good.

    Many soy dishes taste great and I appreciate the health benefits of soy.

    Luckily for me, I happen to be a male fitness freak who doesn’t believe the NONSENSE that the estrogenic effects of soy intake will turn me into a woman in no time soon. Where did they come up with that one? And do people know how much soy intake it would take for that to occur?