Tofu is made from soybean curds. It is naturally gluten-free and low in calories. It contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of iron and calcium.
It is an important source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
It also contains isoflavones such as phytoestrogens. Isoflavones may have both estrogen-agonist or estrogen-antagonist properties. These may help protect against some cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis. However, overconsumption may also present some risks.
Tofu is made by coagulating soymilk to create curds. The curds are then pressed and compacted into the gelatinous white blocks recognized as tofu.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
Fast facts on tofu
Here are some key points about tofu. More detail is in the main article.
- Tofu is an important source of protein for many vegetarians and vegans.
- It may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
- It may offer relief for certain symptoms of menopause.
- One block of tofu contains 177 calories.
Tofu can be served instead of meat or incorporated into a variety of dishes.
A diet that contains a variety of plant-based foods appears to contribute to overall health and wellbeing, and a lower risk of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
It can enhance the skin and hair, boost energy, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Research has linked tofu, with its high levels of isoflavones, to a lower risk of several age- and lifestyle-related