If you’re looking for a near-perfect vegetarian protein source, look no further than tofu! Low in calories, rich in antioxidants, and loaded with amino acids, it’s nearly as good as it gets.
Why is it a “near-perfect” protein source? One simple fact: it’s not as rich in minerals and B vitamins as meat and poultry. Like all vegetarian options, it’s missing out on a few key nutrients that your body needs in order to function properly.
That being said, it’s still one of the best plant-based proteins around!
For every 100 grams of tofu, you get:
- Just 70 calories
- 8 grams of protein
- Just 2 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of fat (none of it saturated, all healthy!)
- 20% of your daily calcium needs
As you can see, tofu is definitely one of the leanest protein sources around. It gives you plenty of protein with very few carbs and all healthy fats.
But the benefits of tofu don’t stop there! Here are a few more reasons to add tofu to your diet:
- It’s loaded with antioxidants –– All soy products contain high amounts of antioxidants, but tofu contains more than most. You get lots of flavonoids, phenolic compounds, plant sterols, saponins, and peptides to protect your body from toxins and decay, making tofu a very healthy food to eat!
- It’s great for your heart –– While there are few studies that explain exactly how tofu specifically is good for your heart, all plant proteins have been proven beneficial. They provide the amino acids needed by the heart muscles, but with very few of the cholesterol-causing fats from red meat. Plus, tofu contains special nutrients that, when broken down, help to reduce inflammation and cholesterol buildup in the heart and circulatory system, and it can even help you get your blood pressure under control. The antioxidants in tofu will protect your cardiovascular system from oxidative stress, reducing your risk of heart disease drastically.
- It can fight cancer –– While soy products have been linked to an increase in certain types of cancer, they’re also effective at fighting many other types. Whole, non-GMO soy contains genistein, an isoflavone that can help your body to produce more of a certain protein that suppresses tumors. The production of this protein kills off cancer cells, reducing cancer spread and growth. Fermented soy products (like tofu) are rich in antioxidants that will help to reduce cancer cell activity throughout your body.
- It may help to prevent obesity –– There is not yet enough evidence to conclusively state that soy products can help to fight obesity, research does suggest that it can be beneficial. Soy products contain peptides that help to reduce the production of fatty acids. This will in turn reduce the amount of fat stored in fat cells, preventing obesity. However, further research is needed to prove this beyond a doubt.
- It can fight diabetes –– Soy products, and tofu in particular, have been linked (in animal studies) to an increase in insulin sensitivity. Tofu helps your body to produce more insulin receptors, which in turn helps it to pick up the signals transmitted by the insulin. By increasing insulin sensitivity, you reduce your risk of diabetes.
As you can see, tofu is a very healthy food that offers A LOT of health benefits. It may not be the tastiest protein around, but it’s definitely one to add to your diet if you want to benefit from the many antioxidants and the protein that it offers. Best of all, it’s low in calories, so you can eat it to your heart’s content!