Tofu – intolerance and allergy


Tofu is obtained from soybeans in several manufacturing steps . The protein-rich product is a staple food in many Asian countries. In western countries, tofu is particularly popular with vegans and vegetarians as a meat substitute.

Here’s what you should know about tofu

Tofu is a food that is obtained from soybeans through various manufacturing steps. Therefore, tofu is also called bean curd or bean cheese . The origin of tofu can no longer be traced back with certainty. However, it can be assumed that the product comes from China.

It was made there as early as the 2nd century BC. Gradually, tofu spread to Korea and other Asian countries. In China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Thailand, tofu is now an important staple food. The food is also becoming increasingly popular in the western world. Due to its high protein and iron content , tofu is particularly popular with vegetarians and vegans in these countries. Here the tofu is used as a meat substitute. Tofu is made from white soybean batter. Production from dark dough is rather rare. For the production it is important that the protein components of the soy milk coagulate.

Substances such as citric acid, magnesium chloride and gypsum are used for this, which are skimmed off afterwards. After the proteins have coagulated, the quark-like product is drained and pressed into blocks. The manufacturing steps are similar to the production of cheese from milk. There are different types of tofu depending on the production method and the consistency of the end product. In addition to fresh tofu made from tofu blocks, silken tofu is particularly popular. This variety has the highest water content and is reminiscent of vanilla pudding in consistency .

There are also firm Asian tofu, firm western tofu with very low moisture, processed tofu, smoked tofu, pickled tofu and frozen tofu. Tofu is an important product for the food industry. It is not only used as a meat substitute by vegetarians and vegans, but is also an integral part of various foods in the form of soy protein.

importance to health

Tofu is nutritionally valuable, especially for vegans and vegetarians. Tofu contains a lot of iron. Since vegans and vegetarians consume little or no animal products, they have to obtain this trace element elsewhere.

Tofu is a healthy source of this. In addition, the soybean product contains high amounts of proteins . Vegetable proteins are easier for the body to digest than proteins from animal foods. Tofu provides the vital proteins in the form of all essential amino acids . Eating soy protein can also lower LDL cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease . Regular consumption of tofu can thus contribute to the prevention of such diseases. Tofu naturally contains no cholesterol , no lactose and no gluten. It is therefore particularly suitable for people who have to watch their cholesterol levels.

In addition, people who suffer from celiac disease, i.e. are not allowed to eat gluten, can eat tofu. It is also a suitable food for people who suffer from lactose intolerance. In addition to protein and iron, tofu provides many valuable vitamins , minerals and trace elements. Tofu is very valuable, especially in combination with products that provide a lot of vitamin C , such as cabbage and lemon . With the help of the vitamin, micronutrients such as iron can be better utilized by the body. In addition, tofu is a fairly low-fat product. This circumstance makes it suitable as a dietary food. A low-fat diet prevents diseases such as high blood pressure andarteriosclerosis .

Ingredients & nutritional values

100 grams of tofu have a calorific value of 76 kilocalories and are therefore quite low in calories. 100 grams consist of about 72 grams of water , 4.8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 1.9 grams of carbohydrates and 0.3 grams of fiber . Tofu contains vitamin A , beta-carotene , vitamin B1 , B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, vitamin E and folic acid .

In addition, the soy protein product provides the minerals calcium , chlorine, potassium , magnesium , sodium and phosphorus . Tofu also provides important trace elements such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, iodine and fluorine. The ingredients of tofu differ slightly depending on the variety. Types of tofu with a higher moisture content, such as silken tofu, provide less protein than firm types of tofu.

Intolerances & allergies

Intolerances and allergies are expressed by an oversensitive reaction of the human body to a specific allergen. Tofu is made from soy. This is one of the twelve main allergens. Intolerance to soy is characterized by different reactions.

Among other things, vomiting , diarrhea , a swollen mouth, breathing problems and skin rashes can occur. Depending on the severity of the allergy, the symptoms vary in severity. An intolerance to soy should be diagnosed by a doctor. If you have an allergy, you should avoid soy products. In addition to tofu, these include soy milk, soy yoghurt, tempeh, miso, natto, yuba, soy flour, edamame and meat substitutes.

In addition, it is often the case that people with a soy allergy also have an intolerance to soy lecithin. This substance is found in many products such as chocolate, margarine, biscuits, bread, baked goods and ready meals.

Shopping & kitchen tips

Tofu is available in the refrigerated section of supermarkets and health food stores. The product can also be purchased in Asian grocery stores. Tofu, like other protein-rich products, is rather perishable. However, seasoned, smoked and fresh tofu from the refrigerated section will keep for at least a year unopened.

For this purpose, it should be stored in the refrigerator. After opening, it can be kept for about two to three days. It should be kept tightly closed or wrapped in foil. Fresh tofu can also be placed in a container filled with water after opening the pack. If the water is changed daily, the soy product is still good for about a week. The degree of freshness of tofu can be determined relatively easily by means of a sensory smell test. Since tofu is odorless, tofu that has already acquired an unpleasant odor should no longer be eaten. Tofu can also be frozen. However, this is not absolutely recommended, as it crumbles very easily after defrosting and is of a very soft consistency.

Preparation tips

Tofu is naturally very tasteless. That is why it can also be used universally. Tofu can be made sweet or savory. It absorbs the flavor of strong foods such as garlic , soy sauce, curry and coconut milk well and complements many dishes. Tofu can be served as a cold side dish, fried, fried, boiled, or grilled.

Firm types of tofu are particularly suitable as a meat substitute in various dishes. It also fits well as a filling, is suitable for casseroles, stews and patties. Softer tofu varieties such as silken tofu are well suited for the preparation of desserts, sauces or soups. The texture of tofu can be changed by pureeing or cooking.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.