Tofu in Pregnancy – Health Benefits and Harmful Effects
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Finding out that you are pregnant is one of the most cherished feelings in the world. You are both anxious and excited about this new phase of your life. Pregnancy brings in a whole bunch of dos and don’ts to your routine. Among the various questions arising about what you can and cannot eat, you may wonder if it’s safe to add tofu to your pregnancy diet. Here we will discuss everything you need to know about consuming tofu while you’re pregnant.
Is Eating Tofu Safe During Pregnancy?
Once you conceive, before munching on tofu, you will undoubtedly ask, “Can I eat tofu during pregnancy?” Well, yes, you can have tofu, although in limits. Tofu is rich in all the essential nutrients and can be consumed during pregnancy. It is high in iron, protein, and is a good source of unsaturated fats. Moreover, it is low in calories, helps in losing weight, and has antioxidants, which help prevent cancer.
Nutritional Value of Tofu
The ratio of nutritional ingredients in a 100g serving of Tofu are listed below:
|Nutrition||Amount per 100g of serving|
|Vitamin C||0.2 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg|
Health Benefits of Tofu During Pregnancy
The health benefits of tofu are as follows:
1. High in Protein
Tofu is packed with proteins, which help with the proper growth and development of the foetus.
2. Rich Source of Calcium
Calcium is an indispensable component for proper bone development in the body of the mother as well as the baby. It helps in the development of bone, teeth, nerves, and muscles in your growing baby.
3. Helps Blood Cell Production
Tofu is a rich source of iron and copper, which assist in the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Besides, it is an essential part of haemoglobin that helps in creating energy and releasing oxygen in your body. Iron also assists in strengthening your immune system.
4. Contains Antioxidants
The antioxidants in tofu are known to initiate the same kind of response in your body as the hypertensive medications do.
5. Contains Flavonoids & Isoflavonoids
Flavonoids and Isoflavonoids present in tofu are good antioxidants and are beneficial in preventing the onset of potential diseases. Consuming these before and during pregnancy can help protect your baby from diabetes and obesity in the future.
6. Prevents Cancer
Tofu contains the bio compound called genistein, which when consumed, lowers the risk of developing breast cancer.
7. Helps Reducing Weight
Tofu is low in calories and rich in vegetable protein and helps you feel full for a longer period, and reduces your frequent hunger pangs.
8. Reduces Risk of Heart Ailments
Tofu is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, helping you avoid potential blood clots, thus preventing arteries from getting clogged. Besides, it is a good source of polyunsaturated fats and helps reduce serum cholesterol levels in your body.
9. Assists Hair Growth
Keratin, which is an essential protein for hair growth, is present in a fair amount in tofu and helps you in growing and maintaining healthy hair.
Risks Associated With Eating Tofu During Pregnancy
It is advisable to eat all food items in moderate amounts to avoid possible repercussions caused by excessive consumption. Pregnancy is a time where you need to be extra cautious of what you consume. Hence, carefully consider the following risks associated with consumption of tofu, and limit your intake:
Effects of Phytic Acid
Phytic acid contained in soy inhibits the absorption of crucial minerals like calcium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc in your intestines. This effect is minimal in well-fermented foods, as it reduces the phytic acid content.
Anti-Nutrients Impair Protein Digestion
Soy holds large amounts of anti-nutrients, which may interfere with the digestive enzymes in the body. One such anti-nutrient is the protein-digesting enzyme inhibitor trypsin, which affects the digestion and absorption of proteins. Protein is an essential nutrient for pregnant women, and it is not recommended to have any interference in its absorption.
High in Aluminium
Tofu being a soy product may pose a risk of accumulating high levels of aluminium during the processing or washing of soybeans, which is done in aluminium tanks. Aluminium can lead to neurological problems in the foetal brain.
As long as it is consumed in limited quantities, tofu is a highly nutritious food to be had during pregnancy. However, excessive consumption of tofu can lead to severe conditions like protein indigestion, pancreatic disorder, diarrhoea, and constipation. You can consult a dietician to understand the impact of tofu on your body and add it to your pregnancy diet as per the dietician’s recommendation.