Tofu has ancient origins, it seems indeed that it dates back to the second century B.C in China. It is very similar to a small, white colored bread and it results from the processing of soy beans, that are soaked in water and then pressed in order to extract the milk. The coagulation of this milk is obtained thanks to a natural marine compound, nigari, or magnesium chloride or calcium chloride, but other substances can also be used like calcium sulfate and acid substances such as vinegar or lemon juice and from this coagulation the tofu is obtained. Among all the non-dairy products, tofu is the richest in calcium, in addition to this it brings also mineral salts such as potassium, iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, vitamins of group B, it is a source of complete proteins and is a lactose free food. Moreover, tofu, together with other soy based products such as, for example, soy flour, edamame or miso, contains isoflavones, that are a class of polyphenols, the main are genistein, glycitein and daidzein, with a powerful antioxidant action able to block the stimulation of cancer cells by estrogens. Isoflavones are indeed very similar to these hormones produced by the body and are able to replace them but with a milder action (Foods that fight cancer, R. Beliveau, professor at the faculty of medicine of the University of Montreal, and D. Gingras, researcher at the Sainte-Justine Hospital). In addition to this, the isoflavones act against angiogenesis, namely they can block the feeding of cancer (Anti cancer, dr. David Servan Schreiber). Finally, several studies indicate that the soy products that contain isoflavones, such as tofu, have a protective effect on the cardiovascular health because they can improve the functioning of endothelium, that coats the internal surface of the blood vessels and heart (Beavers et al, Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular disease, 2012; or Chan et al, European heart journal, 2008), but they act also by lowering total cholesterol and the ratio total cholesterol – good cholesterol (Jankins et al, The American Journal of clinical nutrition, 2002). Tofu can be eaten raw, cut into cubes and added to salads, or cooked, in this case it takes the taste of the food with which it is cooked. It can be added to soups, to cooked vegetables, to prepare yummy sauce or also to make your sweets creamy or to fill salty cakes. Prefer organic non GMO tofu.
Proteins, vitamins and mineral salts such as calcium, source of isoflavones, that are powerful antioxidants with a protective role against particular types of cancers, action against cholesterol.