Updated: Nov 5, 2020
What’s the deal with tofu? Is it good? Is it bad? Should I eat it? Does it cause man boobs?
Tofu, aka soy, contains isoflavones, a plant nutrient that resembles estrogen. Soy isoflavones have been nicknamed “phytoestrogens” because they come from a plant “phtyo” and mimic estrogen activity in the body.
Women benefit from soy because its phytoestrogens willingly bind to our estrogen receptors and prevent harmful estrogen metabolites from binding. Therefore, soy reduces the risk of estrogen-dominant cancers like breast cancer, ovarian, uterine cancer, or endometrial cancer in women.
Limited evidence shows soy reduces the risk of death by any cause in women with a breast cancer diagnosis of 12 months or more.
Since #menopause is characterized by a decrease in estrogen production, eating soy can be very beneficial for reducing symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
In men, there is no evidence that suggests moderate consumption of soy is linked to developing feminine features. A few case reports show men develop breasts after consuming ridiculously high levels of soy, but normal consumption (1-2 servings/day) proposes no problems.
In fact, soy actually DECREASES the risk of prostate cancer.
Soy is a magnificent plant-based, low-carbohydrate source of protein, calcium, and iron. BUT, only if its in its #wholefoods #nongmo form, not the mechanically processed soy that makes its way into the ingredients of almost every processed food.
The takeaway: soy is okay and may even protect against certain estrogen dominant cancers.
The only problem with tofu is that it tastes pretty bland! I put together this super easy fall-inspired pumpkin tofu recipe to add some texture and taste to this lovely plant-based healthy food!
Pumpkin seed crusted tofu
(serves: 2, prep time: 10 minutes, cook time: 40 minutes)
Tofu, firm (1 16 oz package)
Pumpkin seeds (½ cup)
Coconut oil (½ cup, melted)
Preheat the oven to 350℉.
Remove tofu from the package and drain out all the water.
Press tofu using a tofu press, or if you don’t have a tofu press like me, place tofu underneath a heavy cutting board or plate with some weight to it. Make sure you have a paper towel or dish towel handy to absorb the water that seeps out while pressing. Keep under press for about 10 minutes.
While tofu is pressing, put pumpkin seeds into a blender or food processor. Blend the seeds until they turn into a powder. This only takes a few seconds.
Remove the tofu from the press and cut into cubes. You should have approximately 28-30 cubes.
Dip tofu cubes into coconut oil one by one and roll in pumpkin seed powder until completely coated.
Place tofu cubes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350℉ for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Messina M. Soy and Health Update: Evaluation of the Clinical and Epidemiologic Literature. Nutrients. 2016;8(12):754. Published 2016 Nov 24. doi:10.3390/nu8120754
World Cancer Research Fund International Continuous Update Project Report: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Breast Cancer Survivors. 2014. [(accessed on 10 December 2014)]. Available online: www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Breast-Cancer-Survivors-2014-Report.pdf.