New Research Shows Major Health Benefits of Tofu
It has long been discussed that eating too much meat can be bad for the human body, particularly in the cardiovascular region, and while meat eating might not be the best for your body it has certainly become an essential part of most human being’s diet due to the need for protein. Within the last decade there has been a spike in vegetarianism and veganism, and more and more Americans are turning to other sources to find their daily intake of protein.
This search for new protein sources might be more beneficial than simply saving the animals, it also has shown amazing health benefits in clinical trials and new studies.
The Characteristics of Tofu
Tofu is made of soybean curds and can be found in many different varieties, including fresh, silken, firm, and processed. In fact, tofu is made up almost entirely of soy which helps to make it into a complete daily protein source. Soy provides high levels of healthy fats like omega-3s and contains a multitude of amino-acids that are essential for a balanced human body. Medical News Today explains: “To make tofu, soymilk is first coagulated which leads to the separation of the curds from the whey. The resulting curds are then pressed and compacted into the gelatinous white blocks recognized as tofu.”
Tofu is big on the health food market due to its low caloric value and the fact that it produces almost half of your daily calcium requirement, a tenth of your magnesium requirement and lots of iron. It also is loaded with vitamin K, riboflavin, phosphorous, selenium, folate, vitamin b-6, manganese, and niacin, making it an excellent nutritious addition to any meal.
The Health Benefits
Plant based foods, like tofu have had a lot of positive results for weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and even balancing digestive problems. A recent study has shown that the high levels of isoflavones, tofu may also be an age fighter, reducing signs of premature aging similar to the way that the antioxidants in fruit do. Along with this prevention in aging, tofu has also shown promise in reducing mental and memory related issues as well. Catherine Newman of Oprah.com says: “Some studies show it can lower cholesterol and may even help prevent certain types of cancer, including breast and prostate.””
Other preventative reasons for eating tofu include avoiding liver damage as the many coagulants used to treat the soybean curd fights free radicals. The above mentioned isoflavones also help with osteoporosis, as they can help decrease bone loss and even boost the level of bone mineral density during changes in women, such as menopause.
Signs Of Positive Reactions
One of the studies performed using soybeans and tofu found that it could actually slow cancer growth by a marginal amount when used in testing with cancer cells. To determine what this interaction would cause, researchers from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville separated and isolated small links of amino acids held together by a bond, called a peptide. This individual short chain was then added to the cancer cell. Alexandra Duron of Women’s Health Magazine explains: “Soybean peptides slowed colon cancer cell growth by 73 percent, liver cancer cell growth by 70 percent, and lung cancer cell growth by 68 percent.”
Researchers suggest that the reason this process seems to be working is due to the peptides possibly blocking the exchange of gas and nutrients within the cancer cell so that it can’t continue growing. For this reason, doctors and researchers have gone so far as to say that eating more soy might help those who are currently battling cancer, or those who wish to prevent it.
Adding More Tofu To Your Diet
Tofu is described differently by those who eat it; some say that it has no flavor and carries the taste of the foods that it is cooked with, while others claim that it has a very distinctive flavor which is strong and difficult to get used to. For some, it’s more about the texture than the taste that makes the difference, which is lucky because there are four different types of tofu including extra firm, firm, soft and silken. Each of these forms of tofu gets softer and softer, so that they can be made for various dishes both savory and sweet. If you’re new to tofu and enjoy Asian food, a good way to begin adding more soy to your diet is by trying authentic Asian cuisine that incorporates tofu in among its ingredients. Miso soup which combines fermented soy called miso into a dashi broth that usually has chunks of tofu floating within it. Aagedashi tofu is a deep fried tofu dish that is often served with a dipping sauce, and mapo tofu is a very popular Szechuan Chinese dish which is spicy and often contains fermented black beans, spicy pork or beef and tofu.
For more traditionally American methods of adding a little tofu to your diet, try utilizing it in things where it might taste and feel more natural to you. Many vegans use firm tofu in salad similar to the way that somebody might dice cheese cubes into their salad. Tofu can also be tossed into a stir fry, stew, or even pasta cause, as the taste of the tofu tends to change as it absorbs flavors from the foods that it is cooked with. Trying something new when it comes to soy and tofu can benefit your body in a big way, and more studies have been popping up to prove this.
Other Ways To Get More Healthy Protein
Other ways that you can add more protein to your diet and retain some of the health benefits of tofu is by seeking out ingredients like quinoa and beans which are high in fiber and protein, and benefit your cardiovascular and digestive system. You can also include protein shakes or bars in your daily diet if you aren’t able to obtain enough protein naturally. Remember that proteins are the building blocks of your muscles and cells and without enough protein your body isn’t able to heal, grow, or supply itself with enough nutrients to carry on functioning properly.
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