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Tofu: A Popular Food with High
Nutritional and Health Benefits
Mahendra Pal*, Mridula Devrani* and Yodit Ayele**
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a highly
admired food of plant origin with great
discovered by a Chinese cook about 2000
years ago. In Japan, tofu was introduced in
the 18th century. Presently, tofu has become a
popular food in many countries of the world,
including Americas, Australia, Cambodia,
China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea,
Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Tofu is
a versatile form of soybeans that is made
by curdling soymilk so that its proteins
become coagulated and then pressed into a
sliceable cake. There are regional variations
usage of tofu. Tofu is a natural, inexpensive,
and nourishing food, which is consumed by
people of developed as well as developing
nations. It is an excellent source of non-
animal protein in the diet of vegetarian.
and is suited for sauces, salad dressings,
used for baking, stir-frying, and grilling.
Tofu is commonly found in Asian cuisine,
particularly in East and Southeast Asia. The
incorporated into any recipe. In India, tofu
is used as a low-fat replacement for paneer.
Tofu can be frozen in its original packaging
alter its colour and texture, making it more
spongy and absorbent, and more yellowish in
colour. Currently, a range of tofu products are
available for purchase online.
Tofu is derived from soya protein. It can
include several steps like cleaning, soaking,
coagulation, and pressing. Coagulation of the
soymilk is the most important step in tofu
making process. Two types of coagulants
namely salts and acids are used commercially.
The texture of tofu can also be altered by
freezing, puréeing, and cooking. Fresh tofu
is prepared directly from the soy milk, and
processed tofu is made from fresh tofu. It can
be found in bulk or individual packages, both
of which are refrigerated. Now a days, tofu
is consumed throughout the world due its
in baked, smoked, roasted or fried form, and
is used in savory and sweet dishes. It serves
groups. Tofu is an outstanding substitute for
meat, and seafood. It is pertinent to mention
that tofu should be rinsed before consuming.
Once the container is opened, it should be
refrigerated to keep it preserved. In order
to keep tofu fresh, it is necessary to change
the water inside the container. The present
communication delineates the nutritional
food, which is widely consumed in many
countries of the world.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF TOFU
Tofu is a widely enjoyed food made from
soybeans, and is a good source of protein,
vitamins (A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins,
pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin
B-12 and folate), and minerals (calcium,
phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron,
zinc, manganese, selenium, and copper). In
addition, tofu is also rich in omega-3 fatty
acids that are needed for good health. Tofu
which are crucial to a healthy, and balanced
diets. It is mentioned that one block of hard
tofu, weighing 122 grams (g) contains 177
calories, 5.36 g of carbohydrate, 12.19 g of
fat,15.57 g of protein, 421 mg of calcium,
282 mg of phosphorus, 178 mg of potassium,
65 mg of magnesium, 3.35 mg of iron, 2
mg of zinc, and 27 micrograms (mcg) of
folate. It also provides small amounts of
choline, manganese, and selenium. It is
protein for man and woman is 56 grams
and 46 grams, respectively. We roughly
kg body weight/day. A single serving of tofu
by consuming tofu once. Tofu is one of the
INGREDIENTS & ADDITIVES
few superfoods that can be considered a
many meat substitutes, such as tofu sausages
and tofu burgers.
TYPES OF TOFU
Several types of tofu are available for various
• Fermented tofu: It is a briny, creamy
variety, which has been pickled. It is
served as a dip for fresh vegetables or
can be used to season rice or porridge.
• Silken tofu: It is also known as
Japanese-style tofu and is generally
used in desserts, smoothies, puddings,
and dips. It can also be used as an egg
substitute in baking. It is creamy and
soft in texture and has very high water
• Regular tofu: Regular tofu has a spongy
texture and can be sold as soft, medium,
its water content. The soft variety is
generally used for stir-fries and it can
used as a meat substitute.
• Smoked tofu: Smoked tofu has a
as an appetizer or added to a salad.
Traditionally, this variety was smoked
over tea leaves, but now it is done over
• Seasoned tofu: It is already pre-
HEALTH BENEFITS OF TOFU
Tofu represents an excellent source of many
nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals,
which are highly imperative for keeping
good health. The antioxidant and anti-
found in fermented soy food like tofu can help
to protect the blood vessels from oxidative
indicates that eating soy-based products
can prevent breast cancer, osteoporosis, and
cardiovascular disease. Menopausal women
can rely on tofu for production of oestrogen.
It also helps to bring down the incidence
immunity are susceptible to infections.
Therefore, tofu plays an important role
in building strong immune system that
provides a shield against some infections.
High blood cholesterol and hypertension are
the common health problems, which may
occur due to meat consumption. Tofu being
rich in good cholesterol and omega-3 fatty
acids, can remove all the harmful effects meat
tofu are summarized as follow.
1. It strengthens muscle and bone health.
2. It reduces bad cholesterol level (LDH)
and thus, prevents heart problems
3. It enhances body weight loss.
4. It prevents migraine headaches.
5. It regulates blood sugar and helps in
6. It prevents prostate cancer in men.
7. It Inhibits ageing process.
8. It eases menopause symptoms in
9. It helps to prevent osteoporosis.
10. It prevents kidney diseases.
11. It maintains cardiovascular health.
12. It prevents anemia.
13. It prevents liver damage.
13. It improves brain health.
14. It prevents hair loss.
14. It prevents endometrial cancer in post-
15. It reduces the risk of lung cancer.
16. It boosts immunity.
It is pertinent to mention that people who
are allergic to soy products must avoid
intake of tofu in their diet. Women who have
a family history of breast cancer and those
who are currently battling breast cancer
are advised not to eat tofu. An individual
having kidney and gallbladder stones should
not consume tofu. Persons who are born
with congenital hypothyroidism or those
suffering from hypothyroidism are advised
to avoid consumption of soy-bean and soy-
products including tofu. Sometimes, tofu
may cause gas, bloating, abdominal cramps,
diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache or
tofu should not be consumed, as it can cause
kidney stone, liver, and digestive problems.
As high intake of tofu might produce harmful
effects, therefore, it is highly imperative
that tofu should be consumed in moderate
amounts to avoid health problems.
Tofu, a plant originated food, is a very rich
source of protein, minerals and vitamins.
It can be considered as a good alternative
countries of the world including India.
Scientists have recognized several health
tofu should be avoided. It is recommended
that more comprehensive and systematic
studies should be undertaken to establish
various health problems in both sexes and in
different age groups.
The authors wish to thanks to Prof. Dr. R.K.
Narayan for going through the manuscript
and Anubha for assisting in computer work.
*Narayan Consultancy on Veterinary Public
Health and Microbiology,4 Aangan, Jagnath
Ganesh Dairy Road, Anand, Gujarat, India
** College of Agriculture and Natural
Resources, Bonga University, Ethiopia
Corresponding author: Prof. Dr.Mahendra
Pal: Email: palmahendra2@gmail
INGREDIENTS & ADDITIVES
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