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Tofu is one of those foods that sparks debate. Some can’t rave enough about its versatility and health benefits. Others think it is a genetically-modified poison to be avoided at all costs. This may leave you wondering whether tofu should be a part of your diet or not.
This article takes a detailed look at tofu and its health effects, both good and bad.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a food made of condensed soy milk that is pressed into solid white blocks. It originated in China and the process is quite similar to how cheese is made.
Rumor has it that a Chinese cook discovered tofu more than 2,000 years ago by accidentally mixing a batch of fresh soy milk with nigari.
Nigari is what remains when salt is extracted from seawater. It is a mineral-rich coagulant used to help tofu solidify and keep its form.
This is what fresh tofu looks like:
Most of the world’s soybeans are currently grown in the U.S. and a very large proportion is genetically modified.
However, if you’re worried about it, simply opt for non-GMO, organic tofu brands.
Bottom Line: Tofu is made from condensed soy milk, in a process similar to how cheese is made. Whether made from GMO soybeans or not, tofu is generally considered safe for human consumption.
Tofu Contains Many Nutrients
One 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of tofu contains:
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Carbs: 2 grams.
- Fiber: 1 gram.
- Fat: 4 grams.
- Manganese: 31 percent of the RDI.
- Calcium: 20 percent of the RDI.
- Selenium: 14 percent of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 12 percent of the RDI.
- Copper: 11 percent of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 9 percent of the RDI.
- Iron: 9 percent of the RDI.
- Zinc: 6 percent of the RDI.
However, the micronutrient content of tofu can vary, depending on the coagulant used to make it. Nigari adds more magnesium, while precipitated calcium increases the calcium content.
Bottom Line: Tofu is low in calories, but high in protein and fat. It also contains many important vitamins and minerals.