Tofu, an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Plus, its pure protein!
Recently soy products have been undergoing a bit of scrutiny. Entire books are devoted to the benefits as well as the dangers of soy. I’m not going to get too technical here!
One benefit of soy is that it contains phytosterols, which block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Studies show that soy protein can lower total cholesterol levels by 30%! (The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods)
Another benefit of soy is that it contains isoflavones, which have been shown to exhibit anticancer properties. Two isoflavones in particular are diadzein and genistein, which act as phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are natural plant compounds that block estrogen receptor sites in the human body. They may protect against cancer, especially breast and prostate cancers. However, this is where it gets a little tricky. Women who have estrogen sensitive breast tumors should restrict their soy intake because genistein can stimulate the growth of estrogen receptor positive tumors. Phytoestrogens can also be used to balance estrogen levels in postmenopausal women and prevent against osteoporosis.
The problem I have with tofu lies in the fact that it is processed and I believe in promoting a diet made up of mostly pure, unprocessed foods. There are so many products being marketed as “health food” that contain highly processed soy. Read labels and limit these products as they are not as healthy as they claim to be! Instead, I like to recommend fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso since they contain health-promoting probiotics. However, I do occasionally prepare tofu as it is a great source of protein and calcium. It’s great in a pinch, I usually have a block of tofu handy for a last minute meal such as a tofu and veggie scramble. Please, always buy organic/non-GMO tofu!
Tofu takes on the flavor of anything you add to it. So, in this case…lemon! This little treat is lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup and is thickened with a bit of coconut oil. Tofu makes a great vegan substitution for a traditional pudding recipe. Try it out!
Lemon Pudding Parfait
(makes 3 parfaits)
14 ounces silken tofu
2 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
1 cup fresh raspberries
-If coconut oil is solid, lightly warm until it is liquified.
-In a food processor, blend together silken tofu, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla until a pudding consistency is formed.
-In a glass, layer pudding and fresh raspberries.
-Place in refrigerator and chill for 10 minutes before serving.
What’s your take on tofu?