The Origins and Health Benefits of Tofu

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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Small Square Blocks of Tofu Sitting in Soy Sauce with Sesame Seeds on TopDid you know that tofu was discovered in China, by accident, when a cook added soy milk to Nigari seaweed and the soy milk then curdled? Legend has it that this discovery was made about 2,000 years ago. In the eighteenth century, okabe, as tofu was called until 1400, was introduced to Japan. Many years later in the 1960s, tofu gained interest throughout Western Nations.

Tofu is derived from soya. The technique used to make tofu is similar to that used to make traditional dairy cheese. Fresh soy milk is curdled and pressed into a solid block, then it is cooled. After the liquid, called whey, is discarded, the curds are pressed to form a tight bond.

Recently, I have tried some amazing foods made from Tofu; everything from crispy hot buffalo wings to vegan lasagna. It is really amazing how delicious the foods are and how similar the taste is to the meat product. Typically, these items can be found in your grocers vegetable department and the frozen food section.

Tofu is considered both a vegetable and a protein, even though it is derived from a plant,  soybeans, it is processed into a protein food. Tofu is also a great source of all nine amino acids. It is a plant source of iron and calcium as well as two minerals, manganese and phosphorus. Additionally tofu contains magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1.