Tofu – what is it? What has the properties and nutritional values? How to eat tofu? What’s the taste? Where to buy tofu and what is the price? These are the most common questions about tofu, which is a type of curd, obtained from soy milk. Tofu is rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, as well as phytohormones, which reduce the risk of cancer, alleviate menopausal symptoms and regulate cholesterol levels, but despite comprehensive pro-health activities, tofu can cause side effects and not everyone can incorporate them into the diet.
What is tofu? Tofu, or dofu or doufu, is a kind of pressed curd that is obtained from soy milk How tofu is produced, tasted and tastes? Soy milk is subjected to a coagulation process using salt, lemon juice, magnesium chloride, chloride calcium and magnesium sulphide. Then a whey is formed and a white mass floating in it, which is filtered and pressed to create practically tasteless “blocks” of tofu.
The properties and nutritional value of tofu have long been appreciated in China, where it comes from, as well as in Japan and other countries of the Far East.” Tofu has a high content of soy protein, calcium and phosphorus, it also contains phytoestrogens (specifically isoflavones) that mimic the effect of natural sex hormones – estrogen, which may, among others, alleviate the symptoms of menopause, and prevent the development of certain cancers, such as breast cancer, but because of phytoestrogens, not everyone can incorporate tofu into the diet.
Tofu can prevent breast cancer
Tofu contains phytoestrogens, compounds similar in action to female sex hormones – estrogens.Thoyestrogens contained in tofu are isoflavones, such as genistein (50%), daidzein (40%) and glycitein (10%). Isoflavones have the ability to regulate many phenomena associated with the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. As demonstrated by studies on the anticancer potential of isoflavones contained in tofu and other soy products, the genistein has the decisive influence on the antitumoral properties of soy.
One of the main causes of breast cancer in women in Western countries is the increased amounts of estrogens, both natural and chemical, which, by binding to their receptor in cells, interfere with their normal and normal growth. in tofu and other soy products, there are about a thousand times less biologically active than natural female estrogens, therefore their presence in serum is not such a threat, because by taking up estrogen binding sites, they prevent the development of hormone-dependent cancers, including breast cancer.
Tofu reduces the risk of prostate cancer
Tofu can also protect against another hormone-dependent prostate cancer.” The association between rice and tofu consumption and a lower risk of developing prostate cancer was demonstrated by a study of 8,000 men living in Hawaii. Research conducted in California on 12,395 men showed that daily intake was at least one glass of soy milk leads in about 70% to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Tofu will lower cholesterol and pressure
In addition, the phytoestrogens contained in tofu can contribute to the improvement of blood parameters, including a decrease in the concentration of LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, and they also protect against osteoporosis, which women are particularly vulnerable to during menopause.
Tofu relieves the symptoms of menopause
The ovaries of women who are approaching menopause, reduce the production of hormones – first progesterone, then estrogen.The effect of this natural process are menstrual cycle disorders and symptoms such as excessive nervousness and mood swings, sweating, headaches, flushing, fatigue and weakness As mentioned before, the phytoestrogens contained in tofu bind to estrogen receptors, thereby regulating the functioning of the ovaries and enabling their normal functioning, even during menopause. Therefore, the inclusion of products rich in phytoestrogens, e.g. tofu, into the diet may significantly Improve well-being and reduce unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause It is good to know that pharmacies offer diet supplements containing soy isoflavones that supplement the diet with ingredients that relieve menopausal symptoms.
Tofu and fatty liver disease
According to researchers at the University of Illinois, consumption of tofu and other soy protein-rich products can significantly reduce the amount of fat that accumulates in the liver of obese people.” Researchers in rats noticed that taking soy protein reduces fat by as much as 20%. of obese individuals in the liver and has no noticeable effects in lean individuals, and researchers have also discovered that soy protein partially renews the key relay pathways for liver function.
Tofu can weaken memory, increase the risk of dementia?
Scientists at Loughborough University came to such conclusions, as reported in the Dementias and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.’ 4 Researchers analyzed the diet of over 700 Indonesians from the island of Java and concluded that high tofu intake (i.e. at least once per day) is associated with an inferior memory, in particular in people over 68. A recent study shows that phytoestrogens contained in soy products can increase the risk of dementia in older people in a large amount, Professor Eef Hogervorst, who led the study, recalls that there is a connection between estrogen therapy and dementia after the age of 65. Estrogens – and possibly phytoestrogens – stimulate cell growth, which may not be good for aging brains, or it may happen that estrogens increase the destruction of cells by free radicals – the expert adds.
Tofu and thyroid disease
Tofu and other soy-based products may have an adverse effect on thyroid function. In Japan, 37 adults were examined at different ages of non-thyroid disease who had never had an increased antithyroid antibody titre.5 20 of them received 30 g of soybeans every day through month, others – for 3 months During the follow-up period in all subjects the serum thyroid hormone level remained unchanged, although a significant increase in TSH concentration was observed, although its values were still within the limits adopted for the norm. people showed a goiter (thyroid enlargement) and symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism (constipation, drowsiness, weakness). These changes resolved within a month of discontinuation of soy.
Tofu lowers the sperm count?
Men who consume soy products every day – including tofu – produce less sperm than men who do not eat them at all – convince scientists from Harvard University in Boston in the magazine” Human Reproduction. “6 Researchers conducted research in a group of 99 men, who in 2000-2006 applied to the clinic dealing with the treatment of fertility problems, collected data on consumption of 15 different soy foods – like tofu, tempeh, soy chops, soy milk, soy milk and soya sauce others – in the last three months Researchers have taken into account the frequency of reaching for soy based foods, serving sizes and the fact that they contain different amounts of phytoestrogens, other factors that affect fertility – age and weight, and alcohol consumption , coffee and smoking cigarettes. It turned out that men, whose diet was the richest in soy, produced on averagemillions of sperm per milliliter of semen less than gentlemen who did not reach for soy.Specialists suspect that soy compounds with estrogen activity may interfere with other hormonal signals and inhibit sperm production in this way.This effect is stronger in men with overweight and obesity, because due to their higher body fat, their body produces additional estrogens – in studies, the relationship between soy consumption and lower sperm count was particularly evident in the case of overweight and obese men.