Tofu is an Asian food staple for centuries and it is possibly the most important soy food consumed in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Singapore. Today, you can already find this soy product in almost every supermarket all across America. With a lot of people trying to move into natural, plant-based diets, tofu has become more popular than ever. So why not join the tofu trend and learn about some interesting facts about it which were discussed in an articleat Today’s Dietitian.
- Tofu is as ancient as artifacts you see in a museum!
The first written record of tofu dates back 950 AD. One fascinating theory about how it was first produced is that a cook seasoned warmed soy milk with some sea salt. After forgetting it for a long time, the milk began to curdle which produced the curds we now know as tofu!
- Tofu stores used to be present in Asian temples.
Buddhist monks whose diets are mainly vegetarian are thought to be the ones to introduce tofu in Japan in 1100 AD. It is said that some tofu shops may have been located in temples and monasteries.
- Japanese people love their tofu!
It is said that most adults eat one or two servings of soy foods per day and tofu accounts for about one half of all the soy products that is consumed.
- Tofu became popular in America in the 1970s.
Tofu in America was introduced largely by Asian communities in the 19thcentury but it was not until the 1970’s when tofu began to really gain ground which is an effect of demand for natural and meat-free diets.
- All tofu are not created equal.
There are firm, medium-firm and extra-firm which is dependent on the density and water content.
- Tofu can be used for desserts.
Ever heard of tofu cheesecake? Yes, this is possible with lots of recipes available online. If you’re looking for an extra smooth tofu for your desserts, puddings, smoothies and sauces, opt for Japanese silken tofu. It is so delicate in texture and not pressed.
- There are special tofu varieties.
Tofu also comes in special variants like black tofu made from black instead of yellow soybeans. There are also sprouted tofu and pickled tofu for the more adventurous foodie.
- Tofu is a very versatile product.
It’s bland taste but porous texture makes it easy for it to absorb different flavors and can be used as a great meat substitute.
- Tofu is rich in protein.
Tofu is a great non-meat protein source with 4 g of protein in a 3 oz. of silken tofu up to 10 g in 3 oz. of extra firm tofu.
- Tofu can be a source of calcium.
Most tofu is made with calcium sulfate as coagulant which can make it a good source of calcium. Studies show that calcium absorption of tofu is comparable to that of cow’s milk.
- Tofu may have cancer-fighting benefits.
Tofu is rich in isoflavones, which are phytochemicals that may be protective against breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
- Tofu has also been linked to heart healthy benefits.
Tofu may help to improve cardiovascular functions, lower LDL Cholesterols and also lower risk of heart ailments. A study has shown that in more than 40,000 Japanese adults, women who eat soy foods more than 5 times in a week were 50% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared to women who only ate tofu twice a week.
However, in more recent times, tofu and other soy food products have come under fire, with the FDA reconsidering if it should revoke health claims by soy products.