Tofu: Nutrition facts and health benefits | Healthy Matters

Last updated on January 7, 2022.

What is Tofu? | Nutrition facts | Health benefits | Special precautions | Side effects | Allergies | Nutritionist’s tips |

What is Tofu?

Tofu originated from China. It is made of soybean milk condensed and coagulated into blocks of white solids; and by pressing out excessive liquid, tofu is formed. Tofu is an excellent source of isoflavone, protein and calcium, which promotes bone health and weight control. There are numerous types of tofu in the market, they vary in calories and textures, and are suitable for different cooking methods. The calories of tofu depend on their respective processing, moisture content and cooking method.

Varieties
Hard tofu
The most traditional type of tofu. Because more gypsum powder (coagulant) is added and stronger pressing force is applied, it retains less moisture and the texture is more dense and hard.

Soft tofu
Because the concentration of soybean milk is low and the pressing time is relatively short, it retains more moisture and the texture is more tender and smooth.


Frozen tofu
It is made by freezing soft tofu directly after it is produced until the moisture content is completely frozen. When it is taken out from the freezer, water will be lost along with melting, leaving behind holes of different sizes in the tofu like a sponge.

Origin
China.

Season
All year round.

Nutrition facts

According to the Centre for Food Safety and Food and Health Bureau, the nutrition facts per 100 g of edible portion of raw, regular tofu prepared with calcium sulfate (coagulant) are:

Calories
76 kcal (raw, regular tofu prepared with calcium sulfate)

Other varieties:
Tofu (Soy Bean Curd), Silken Or Soft, As Purchased(軟豆腐): 68 kcal
Braised tofu (紅燒豆腐): 94 kcal
“Deep-fried three treasures” (Eggplant, bell pepper and fried tofu stuffed with minced dace)(煎釀三寶): 110 kcal
Tofu, salted and fermented (fuyu)(腐乳): 116 kcal
Tofu (Soy Bean Curd), Firm, As Purchased(硬豆腐): 127 kcal
Rice with spicy tofu / Rice with “Ma-po” tofu (麻婆豆腐飯): 140 kcal
“Stinky tofu”(臭豆腐): 150 kcal
Rice with tofu and roasted pork (豆腐火腩飯): 170 kcal
Tofu (Soy Bean Curd), Smoked, As Purchased(燻豆腐): 180 kcal
Sushi, inari (fried tofu pockets)(腐皮壽司) 190 kcal
Tofu, fried(豆腐(炸)): 270 kcal

Macronutrients

Carbohydrates

Proteins

Fats

Dietary Fibre

Carbohydrates: 1.88 g

Sugars: NA

8.08 g

Total fat: 4.78 g

Saturated fat: 0.691 g

Trans fat: NA

Cholesterol: 0 g

0.3 g (1.2% of DV)

Micronutrients

Vitamins

Minerals

Vitamin C: 0.1 mg (0.1% of DV)

Calcium: 350 mg (43.75% of DV)

Copper: 0.193 mg (12.9% of DV)

Iron: 5.36 mg (35.7% of DV)

Magnesium: 30 mg (10% of DV)

Manganese: 0.605 mg (20.2% of DV)

Phosphorus: 97 mg (13.9% of DV)

Potassium: 121 mg (6.05% of DV)

Sodium: 7 mg (0.35% of DV)

Zinc: 0.80 mg (5.3% of DV)


Recommended daily intake
100-200 g of tofu per day.

Health benefits of tofu

Bone health
Soy isoflavones help slow down bone loss, especially in early menopause women. The high calcium properties of tofu also increase bone density.

Heart health
Soy isoflavones in tofu lower ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Studies showed that daily consumption of tofu and soy foods may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Weight control
Tofu and other soy foods contain soy isoflavones and soy protein. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2004, scientists revealed that eating high-protein soy foods can increase satiety and reduce hunger.

Furthermore, tofu and soy food can help weight control in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2018 showed that PCOS patients lose weight when they replace 30% of animal protein with the same amount of soy protein in their meals.

Menopause symptoms prevention
Women undergoing menopause often experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and even weight gain. According to the above-mentioned research report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, soy isoflavones can help women lose weight after menopause.

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Special precautions

Induce gout
Tofu contains purines, and patients with abnormal purine metabolism and high blood uric acid concentration may develop uric acid stones or gout attacks.

Accelerate the decline of kidney function
Excess intake of tofu will increase the metabolic burden of the kidneys and accelerate the decline of kidney function in patients with kidney disease or the elderly.

Side effects

Iodine deficiency
Soybean contains a substance called saponins, which helps prevent atherosclerosis, but promotes the excretion of iodine in the body. Long-term excessive consumption of tofu can cause iodine deficiency.

Arteriosclerosis
Tofu is rich in methionine, which is converted into cysteine ​​by enzymes after entering into the body. Cysteine ​​can damage the endothelial cells of human arterial walls, causing the deposition of cholesterol and triglycerides, which increases the risk of arteriosclerosis.

Allergies

There are no known allergies to the consumption of tofu.

How to eat it?

Cook with meat
Although tofu is rich in protein, it contains only plant protein. Consume tofu with meat  (animal protein) to obtain the whole spectrum of amino acids, which is required for building all essential proteins in the body.

Cook with egg yolk
Tofu is more nutritious when consumed with ingredients high in vitamin D, such as egg yolk. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium in the body. Consuming the two food ingredients at the same time can produce a synergistic effect: fulfil the vitamin requirement and promote absorption and utilization of calcium.

Cook with seaweed
Tofu contains saponins, which accelerates the metabolism and excretion of iodine in the human body; whereas seaweed has high iodine content. Consuming tofu with seaweed can balance the iodine level in the body.

Nutritionist’s tips

How to choose pre-packaged tofu?

When choosing pre-packaged tofu in the supermarket, check if the product fulfils the following criteria:

  1. Whether the soybeans used are non-genetically modified or organic soybeans
  2. Whether the tofu contains calcium
  3. Whether the tofu contains sufficient protein (i.e. 4 g per 100 g edible portion)
  4. Whether the tofu contains additives (i.e. no more than 3 kinds)
  5. Whether the tofu can be eaten raw

This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.