Tofu is made from soybeans that are ground in water, heated, and coagulated with minerals like calcium or magnesium salt. The curds are then pressed into a block, which is then sold as tofu. You can buy several different types of tofu, from extra-soft silken tofu to extra-firm tofu.

The type you buy depends on how you’re using it. Silken tofu may be ideal for desserts (such as cheesecake), while extra-firm tofu may be cut into cubes and cooked in oil in a pan until crispy, or roasted in an oven. The benefit of cooking with tofu is that tofu is a very mild protein, and it takes on whatever flavors it’s paired with, making it a versatile ingredient and it’s good for your health.

You can find raw tofu in the refrigerated section at your grocery store. It’s also available pre-baked and seasoned. Here’s a look at the several different types available.

Types of Tofu:

  • Silken Tofu – This is the smoothest, softest tofu. It’s best when you need creaminess, as in desserts, smoothies, or dips. Silken tofu can be either firm or extra firm.
  • Firm Regular Tofu – Firm tofu is a bit of a misnomer — it’s still pretty soft. Firm tofu makes a great stand-in for scrambles, faux taco meat, and sandwiches (for instance, “egg salad” made with tofu).
  • Extra-firm Regular Tofu – This one is the easiest to cut into cubes, strips, or slices. It’s great when baked, thrown on salads, and for kebabs, stir-fries, and curries. You can also find this precubed in a package, making food prep easier.
  • Prepared Tofu – Use this type of tofu when you’re in a pinch and need to create a savory dish quickly. Choose the flavor that best suits your needs. You can find this prepackaged or in the deli/prepared foods section at the grocery store.

There’s no reason to fear this mineral-rich vegetarian protein source — tofu is good for you. Given that tofu is made from soybeans, it’s a rich source of powerful anticancer plant compounds called isoflavones and phenolic acids, heart-protecting saponins, and alpha-linolenic omega-3 fatty acid, as well as minerals like calcium. It’s also a good source of iron, which is particularly important for people following a vegetarian diet or vegan diet, or pregnant women who may be running low in this nutrient.

Benefits:

  1. Regular consumption of tofu helps reduce the risk of getting a stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, by reducing bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
  2. It prevents obesity and helps lose weight, as it is extremely low in cholesterol and fat content that good for your health.
  3. The low-fat and low-calorie content makes it an excellent food choice for diabetics. Intake of at least 200 grams of tofu per day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  4. The proteins present in tofu help improve the elasticity of skin, and tone facial muscles.
  5. Touted as a complete health food, tofu is rich in proteins, nutrients, minerals and antioxidants that help improve the functioning of the immune system

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