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The Health Benefits of Tofu

This versatile food is high in plant protein as well as iron, calcium, zinc and other minerals. In addition to being very low in sodium and fat, tofu contains nearly no cholesterol [i]. Tofu is a product of soymilk being transformed into a solid. The soy content has raised some questions regarding tofu’s safety for cancer survivors [ii]. Currently, soy intake in moderation is recommended for an overall healthy diet [iii].


Tofu and Your Health

Tofu gets a bad rep when it comes to its relationship to cancer. Contrary to many misconceptions, tofu and other soy products can have effects that are beneficial for cancer survivors rather than risky. A recent literature review surrounding this concern found that not only can the harmfulness of soy consumption by cancer patients be questioned, but some studies show that soy products can actually have protective effects against cancer [iv]. A recent study among postmenopausal women found that isoflavone containing soy does not adversely affect the breast, thyroid or the uterus of these women. In addition, tofu and soy products have been shown to help lower LDL-cholesterol and circulating cholesterol levels [v].


Tofu For You

There are many ways to prepare this plant-protein rich food. Tofu can be purchased as soft, firm or extra firm as well as in many other variations. Tofu’s subtle flavor allows for it to be used in a variety of dishes both savory and sweet. Soft tofu is similar to silken tofu and is smooth and high in water content. It is best for smoothies, desserts, puddings and sauces. Medium tofu works well in soups due to its slightly denser properties. Firm tofu is the most pressed of the three and is best utilized in stir-fries and tofu scrambles [vi]. Blended into a smoothie, mixed in a stir-fry or added to a soup, tofu can be used to enhance a variety of meals adding an extra boost of protein and flavor!  

In the end, tofu is truly a versatile ingredient with many nutritional benefits and this month, we will be featuring Mutter Tofu as our recipe of the month!

[i] “9 Surprising Benefits of Tofu.” Organic Facts, Organic Facts, 14 May 2018, www.organicfacts.net/tofu.html.
[ii] “How Tofu Is Made.” What Is Food Science & Technology? – IFT.org, Institute of Food Technologists, 25 Feb. 2016, www.ift.org/newsroom/news-releases/2016/february/25/how-tofu-is-made.aspx.
[iii] “Komen Perspectives – Answering Questions About Soy and Breast Cancer (April 2015).” Susan G. Komen®, 28 Apr. 2015, ww5.komen.org/KomenPerspectives/Answeringquestionsaboutsoyandbreastcancer.html.
[iv] Karnosh, Ami. “Soy: Is It Safe for Cancer Survivors?” Fred Hutch Cure Starts Here, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, www.fredhutch.org/en/treatment/survivorship/survival-strategies/soy-safe-for-cancer-survivors.html.
[v] Messina, Mark. “Soy and Health Update: Evaluation of the Clinical and Epidemiologic Literature.” Nutrients 8.12 (2016): 754. PMC. Web. 23 May 2018.
[vi] Han, Emily. “Read This Guide Before You Buy Tofu at the Store Again.” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 16 May 2018, www.thekitchn.com/tofu-varieties-whats-the-difference-201345
Isabelle Colbert Corgel, RD, CDN

Isabelle is a registered dietitian with a Bachelor’s of Science in Global Public Health and Nutrition from New York University. Isabelle has been a part of the Savor Health team for 4 years beginning as an intern during her sophomore year at NYU and now works as a contributing writer. After her undergraduate degree, she completed her dietetic internship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital with a focus in medical nutrition therapy where she gained clinical experience in oncology. Following her dietetic internship, Isabelle completed a 6-month nutrition fellowship in Employee Health and Wellbeing at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Isabelle now helps to manage nutrition and health programs at a food bank in upstate New York. Isabelle is passionate about community nutrition and health as well as holistic wellness.

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