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24 Foods That Can Save Your Heart - #10 - Tofu

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February is Heart Month both in the US and Canada, and unfortunately, most of us know someone who has had heart disease or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. And in Canada, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor. Scary stats indeed and so it seems timely to look at some foods that can indeed help fight heart disease.

tells us about -


Make soy protein the main attraction more often at dinnertime by cooking with tofu instead of red meat. You gain all the heart-healthy minerals, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats of soy -- and you avoid a load of artery-clogging saturated fat.

Tip: Chop firm tofu, marinate, then grill or stir-fry, going easy on the oil. Add tofu to soups for protein with no added fat.

tells us that

Tofu or soybean curd is a food of Asian origin. Production of tofu involves soaking soybeans in water and creating soy milk, then curdling the milk using a substance such as calcium sulfate or lemon juice. The curds are separated from the whey and usually packaged in block form. Most tofu brands offer a range of soft and firm varieties, which differ mainly in the amount of water retained. Pressing tofu can remove additional water.

Unlike most plant-based foods, soy is considered a complete protein, possessing all the essential amino acids. Tofu is thus a good protein source, due both to the amount and nature of the protein it contains. The protein content is higher in firm types of tofu than in softer types. According to the Illinois Center for Soy Foods (ICSF), a 3-oz. piece of firm tofu has about 13 g of protein, compared with about 4 g in soft tofu. The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) puts the content of 4 to 5 oz. of tofu at 11 g.

Nearly half of the calories in tofu comes from fat. Yet according to Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension (RCRE), 3 oz. of firm tofu contains only 4 g of fat, and silken tofu contains half that. The ICSF puts the fat content of a 3-oz. serving in the range of 2 to 7 g. Both types of tofu are very low in saturated fat and do not contain cholesterol.

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, a type of plant-based hormone.The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute credits the isoflavones in tofu with health-promoting properties. According to Rutgers, phytoestrogens can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and some types of cancer. The isoflavone content in tofu is about 25 or 30 mg per 3-oz. serving, according to ICSF.

Calcium sulfate is one of the coagulating agents used in the creation of tofu. Tofu produced with this method is particularly high in calcium content, providing about 6 to 15 percent of the daily requirement depending on the type of tofu. The Vegetarian Resource Group lists tofu as a good source of calcium for vegetarians and vegans, and explains that there is more calcium in a few ounces of tofu than in a cup of regular milk.

The carbohydrate content of tofu does not vary as greatly with the type of tofu as do other nutrients. A 3-oz. portion of firm tofu contains about 2 to 4 g while soft, silken tofu has 2 to 2.5 g. According to ICSF, the fiber content of silken versions is minimal, while that of firm tofu is nearly half the total carbohydrate content. Sugar makes up about half the carbohydrate content, according to RCRE.


Tofu Quiche with Broccoli

Makes 6 servings

1 (9 inch) unbaked 9 inch pie crust
1 pound broccoli, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound firm tofu, drained
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
black pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake pie crust in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Place broccoli in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until golden. Stir in the cooked broccoli and heat through.
4. In a blender combine tofu, soy milk, mustard, salt, nutmeg, ground red pepper, black pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese; process until smooth. In a large bowl combine tofu mixture with broccoli mixture. Pour into pie crust.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until quiche is set. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Nutritional Info per serving:
Calories - 337
Total Fat - 20g
Saturated Fat - 4.2g
Cholesterol - 1mg
Sodium - 525mg
Potassium - 513 mg
Total Carbohydrates - 25.8g
Dietary Fibre - 5.4g
Sugars - 3.4g
Protein - 17.6g
Vit A - 14%
Vit C - 116%
Calcium - 74%
Iron - 39%
Thiamin - 32%
Niacin - 47%
Vit B6 - 17%
Magnesium - 26%
Folate - 56%

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