The Cheese of Asia
What is Tofu?
Did you know that tofu was discovered over 2,000 years ago by the Chinese?
It is also knows as “The Cheese of Asia” because it physically resembles a block of farmers cheese but is a tasteless and odorless! This off-white or beige curd is produced from soybeans that have been crushed, skin removed, boiled, strained and pressed into a mold. Its neutral flavor makes it very versatile as it readily absorbs flavors of other foods. A great idea is to marinated it in your favorite homemade sauce (check out my RECIPES). Today, there are many different types of soy product from soy milk, to tempeh to finding it in a multitude of meatless packaged foods like tofu burgers, tofudogs, tofuballs and desserts!
Tofu should be part of your healthiest way of eating but it’s not for everyone!
First of all, let’s look at the effects of this food on sex!
This curd is a cooling food and “cools” or decreases thyroid function which regulates metabolism and sexual activity. Therefore, eating too much may decrease sexual stamina and desire. It is of no surprise that Oriental folk humor has it that monks eat it regularly to help them in maintaining celibacy. The traditional Japanese diet has considerable amount of seaweed which is thyroid stimulating and is consumed to balance a heavy thyroid-suppressing soybean diet.
A word of caution if you are still confused about whether you should be consuming soy-based products.
For those who have low levels of calcium or low/underactive thyroid, you will not want to consume very much if any soy-based products. A reason for this is that they are a concentrated source of oxalates and goitrogens. The former can inhibit calcium absorption and the later can make it more difficult for the thyroid gland to create hormones if you already have a thyroid issue.
Fermentation and sprouting of soy or eating soy with eggs or sunflowers helps to reduce it’s inhibiting effects on . You can also try taking small liquid doses of iodine does reduce these negative effects. I use 1-3 drops of Llugol’s in water a few times a week. If you are going to consume soy-based products, do so at no more than 2-3 servings per week. Always make sure you check with your healthcare practitioner as they may want you to limit goitrogen containing foods even further.
Studies have also shown that the isoflavones found in tofu or tempeh reduce thyroid hormone output by blocking the activity of an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase. This enzyme is responsible for adding iodine to the thyroid hormones.
Suffering from symptoms of menopause?
This bean helps to alleviate them due to the high phytoestrogens like isoflavones that I have previously mentioned. These balance estrogen levels by blocking out estrogen when levels rise to high. Perfect for reducing hot flashes!
Tofu also helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
A study in China found that men who ate the most tofu had a 42% reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. At over 9g of protein and only 89 calories for 4 oz, tofu is also a concentrated source of protein.
Do you lack energy?
Tofu contributes to energy production because it is a good source of iron and copper. Two minerals essential in red blood formation or hemoglobin, a molecule essential to energy production.
What type of tofu should I buy?
Ideally you want to look for organic and sprouted or fermented tofu and soy products.
Today, many soy-based products are processed with a number of chemical preservatives, flavor enhancers and stabilizers. Much of the soy that is grown is GMO if it’s not certified organic!
Tofu is rich in…
selenium, calcium, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients essential for heart health. It also contains phytoestrogens, specifically genistein and daidzein isoflavones which also have cardiovascular health benefits. Tofu is also good for promoting bone health because it is a good source of phosphorus, manganese and copper.
How do I cook with it?
An average serving size of tofu is 4oz and if your recipe calls for cubed or sliced tofu, then choose firm or extra firm. If you are making sauce, dip or desserts, then the softer type would be better. I use organic sprouted tofu or tempeh and use it as my protein source for my vegan dishes. I have included a delicious recipe for a Spinach mushroom lasagna that is nutritious, delicious and filling. It can be a one-dish meal or serve it with a garden salad. Look for it in my recipes!