Tofu is a processed food.
Any food that has been altered from its original (“whole”) form is “processed.”
Even peanut butter is processed, since it consists of grinding up peanuts (even with no other ingredients added).
There is nothing inherently bad about a food being processed. It’s only bad if the process somehow removes nutrition, or adds other ingredients that may be unhealthy.
How Tofu is Made (Processed)
There are 5 main steps to make tofu:
- Soybeans are soaked
- Soybeans are heated in water (boiling)
- Okara (soybean pulp) is separated from milk
- Curds are pressed into blocks (tofu!)
- The blocks are packaged with minerals like calcium (preservatives)
Here’s a short video if you prefer a visual walkthrough:
Making tofu really isn’t all that different from cooking beans.
Tofu may be processed, but only “minimally” compared to cooking beans, and no unhealthy ingredients are added.
Is Tofu Healthy?
Besides being convenient, tofu has a lot to offer.
On top of that, tofu also contains quite a bit of nutrition.
Here are the vitamins and minerals in 100 calories of firm tofu (about 1/2 block):
|Nutrient||% of RDA|
That’s a decent variety, and a significant amount of important nutrients like calcium and iron.
There’s nothing inherently unhealthy about tofu. Like most other minimally processed foods, it’s perfectly fine to eat in moderation.