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Definition: tofu from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Pressed soybean curd derived from soymilk. It is a good source of protein and naturally low in fat.

Tofu comes in three varieties: smooth and firm, in small white blocks, used for stir-frying or steaming; as a junketlike solid used in making dips, salad dressings, or ice cream; and hard, fermented, and/or seasoned cakes, which may be sliced and eaten or used in cooking. The flavour is bland, but it combines readily with other ingredients; the fermented and seasoned tofu has the taste and texture of various cheeses.

Summary Article: Tofu
from The A-Z Guide to Food as Medicine

White gelatin-like curd formed when soybean protein is precipitated. Its firmness is determined by the amount of liquid it contains. Silken tofu contains a high amount of liquid, whereas firm tofu contains less liquid. Tofu is a rich source of soy protein and can be a good source of calcium, depending on whether the soybean is precipitated with a calcium compound, such as calcium chloride; it is not a source of vitamin B12 (unless it has been fortified with vitamin B12 which would be stated on the ingredients label). Tofu is used raw or cooked in Asian-inspired cooking as a meat substitute.

scientific findings

Research suggests that a daily intake of soy protein has a mild LDL-lowering effect,47 especially when soy protein is substituted for animal protein.48 A population study found Western-culture women who ate tofu once weekly, compared to women who did not, reduce their risk of premenopausal bilateral breast cancer.31

bioactive dose

Not known.


Presumed safe when consumed in normal dietary quantities by non-allergic individuals.

© 2016 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC

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