Tofu in Pregnancy – Health Benefits and Harmful Effects

Tofu

Finding out that you are pregnant is one of the most cherished feelings. You are both anxious and excited for the new phase in your life. Pregnancy brings in a whole bunch of dos and don’ts to your routine. Among the various questions arising about the intake of specific nutrients, tofu is one of them.



Is Eating Tofu Safe during Pregnancy?

Once you conceive, before munching on Tofu, you will certainly ask, “Can you 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

Tofu cubes

The ratio of nutritional ingredients in a 100g serving of Tofu are listed below:

Nutrition Amount per 100g of serving
Energy 480 kcal
Water 5.78 g
Protein 47.9 g
Total Lipid 30 g
Fibre 7.2 g
Carbohydrates 14 g
Calcium 364 mg
Iron 9.7 g
Magnesium 59 mg
Phosphorous 483 mg
Potassium 20 mg
Sodium 6 mg
Zinc 4.9 g
Copper 1.1 mg
Vitamin C 0.7 mg
Thiamin 0.49 mg
Riboflavin 0.31 mg
Niacin 1.1 mg
Pantothenic Acid 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6 0.28 mg
Folate 92 ug
Vitamin A 518 IU

 

Health Benefits of Tofu in 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 your 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 foetus.





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, these are essential parts of haemoglobin that help 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 does the hypertensive medications.




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 to protect your babies from diabetes and obesity in 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 reduce 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 good amount of tofu and thus helps you in growing and maintaining healthy hair.

Risks Associated with Eating Tofu While Pregnant

It is advisable to eat any food in moderate amounts to avoid possible repercussions caused by excess consumption. And pregnancy is a time, where you need to be extra cautious of what you consume. Hence, carefully consider the below-listed 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 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 processing/washing of soybeans 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, excess tofu can lead to serious conditions like protein indigestion, pancreatic disorder and diarrhoea, constipation.