Tofu—A Vegetarian’s Protein Wednesday February 12th, 2020

A common misconception about following a vegetarian or vegan diet is that these diets lack both adequate quantity and quality of protein- but now insert tofu into the picture! Tofu, which is made from soybeans, is a plant-based protein alternative that contains 8g protein/100g and contains all the essential amino acids we need to keep our body functioning. As recent trends have been geared towards more plant-based alternatives, tofu has been incorporated into many different dishes, appealing to a wide audience. From miso soup to tofu cheesecake, and even tofu steak, tofu has put a spotlight on itself for being easy and versatile to cook with. For instance, a Japanese cooking show focused on replacing the egg and meat that is found in common foods, with tofu! They taught the audience how to make tofu bread and minced-tofu pasta in 20 minutes, appealing to both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!

 

Tofu has been a popular food choice in both China and Japan, since its introduction almost a thousand years ago. Not only is tofu a good protein source, but it also contains a low amount of saturated fats and no cholesterol. Thus, Asian elderly suffering from high blood pressure has been recommended to consume tofu for their protein intake, along with the benefit that tofu is soft and easy to chew.

 

In North America though,  tofu has only been consumed since the 18th century. This begs the question- what other factors have attributed to tofu’s popularity and its global use as a food ingredient? Depending on the processing method, tofu may be rich in calcium, which can benefit the population consuming a dairy-free diet. More importantly, tofu contains an abundant amount of the phytochemical saponin that is found within soybeans.  Soy isoflavone is another potent ingredient that may have protective effects against certain breast and prostate cancers. 

 

Tofu comes in a large range of textures and flavors, from soft to extra firm, smoked to sriracha flavored, so it can be easy to incorporate the proper type of tofu to match your desired recipe. Tofu is a great option to add to those meatless Mondays, so give it a try in replacing some of your usual meat alternatives, while at the same time enjoying its health benefits!

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