* Tofu is a soft, cheese-like food, made out of Soya milk that is curdled with a coagulant and usually used to blend with other food types, because it easily absorbs their flavor. Tofu is very popular in the Orient and is started to gain more and more ground in Western diets too.
* The history of Tofu starts in China, over 2000 years ago. The first evidence that the Chinese of those times used Tofu in their diets is a mural incised on a stone slab that shows a kitchen scene where both Tofu and Soya milk appear. This stone slab was proven to be from around 100 A.D. The oldest written reference about Tofu is known to also come from China, at about 1500 A.D., when poet Su Ping wrote a poem dedicated to Tofu, called “Ode to Tofu”.
* The Tofu started to spread amongst Asia with the appearance and development of Buddhism. In Japan, Kento priests who went to China to study Buddhism brought back Tofu recipes home (this happened at around 750 A.D.). It was eaten as part of a vegetarian diet for priests and was often used as an offering at an altar. Tofu gradually became more and more popular among the Japanese nobility and the samurai class, who needed healthy diets in their constant and rigorous training.
* In the Western world, tofu began to be popular in the late fifteen century. The first written reference about Tofu is in the 1603 Spanish dictionary “Vocabularion da lingoa de lapam”. By the time the colonization era was over, Tofu had spread all across the World being a well-known element from almost every culture’s diet.
Tofu Health Benefits
* It’s been proven that Tofu has a lot of proteins, almost as many as you would get from the same weight of chicken meat, without the cholesterol and saturated fats. Cholesterol and LDL levels can go down by 30% if you build a diet that constantly has Soya proteins within. This is a very important benefit for those that have cardiovascular problems or those that want to lower their triglyceride levels. Tofu also has all the essential amino acids found in animal proteins. Having a low ration of calories, it’s a very popular dish in weight loss diets and because of its high calcium value, it’s ideal for those who want to strengthen up their body.
* A very important, scientifically proven fact, is that Tofu reduces the chance of your body becoming cancerous. In addition, it also helps women have a softer, less uncomfortable menopause period. The chemical elements of Tofu act as weak estrogens, which help a woman’s body be more balanced during this uncomfortable period. Also, women experience accelerated bone loss during menopause, Tofu reducing this risk with its high calcium value.
* Additional health benefits of Tofu include its high iron value (providing almost 35% of the required daily value), manganese value (providing 36% of the required daily value) and copper value (11% of the standard daily value). These percentages are calculated for 4 ounces of Tofu.
* With Tofu being such a nutritious, protein-rich and delicious foot, it’s no wonder people from all over the world find it an increasingly necessary component of a diet. Being one of the most versatile foods, it can be served with all kinds of meals, ranging from salads and second courses, to desserts or appetizers.
Author: Robert Eaton
Article originally found on: CookbookWiki.com