Well known in the vegan world is tofu. As many know, tofu serves as a high-protein meat substitute, yet few people know what tofu really is.
Tofu is essentially pressed curds of soy milk mixed with a curdling agent. Unfortunately, this proves to be dangerous for your health. As the primary ingredient, soy, happens to be one of the most genetically modified foods in the world. Studies show that genetically modified foods are likely to kill off probiotics in your body. Good bacteria is essential for a healthy gut and absence of the bacteria can lead to hazardous health concerns affecting the vital organs. Much as any other food, tofu has a fair share of both pros and cons.
The Not so Good
First, soy is the most concentrated source of estrogen. Unfortunately, all of the estrogen is additive making it a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen is a plant derived chemical compound that is designed to structurally and functionally mimic estrogen. Consequently, consumption of phytoestrogens is dangerous for the human body as it causes great disruption to your system. Another precaution for tofu is that soy is also very rich in trypsin inhibitors. These have been linked to various digestive problems. On top of this, soy has been shown to have potential cancerous links. While there are a number of negative links, there are similar links in different foods we all eat every single day. It’s like any medication in the sense that there are many benefits, but there is also a lengthy list of potential side effects.
On the other hand, tofu has lots of rich vitamins and minerals including, iron, calcium, selenium, manganese, and phosphorus. Calcium is great for bone strength. It is common for vegans to have a deficiency in both iron and calcium and tofu can help to replenish this scarcity. For this reason, tofu gets two thumbs up! In addition, tofu is very high in protein, bringing in approximately 10g per serving. That’s 20% of the daily recommended value!
Ultimately, tofu is not something that needs to be avoided, simply pay attention to quality and quantity. Most importantly, look for organic, fermented tofu, as it is indicative that less genetic engineered was involved. Lastly, consider limiting your intake of tofu to three times per week.