Tofu doesn't really taste like anything, but it absorbs the flavors of the food it's cooked with, making it a versatile way to add key nutrients, such as protein and calcium, to your diet. It's available year round and can replace meat if you eat a vegetarian diet. While tofu doesn't contain a large amount of fiber, it does supply tiny doses that count toward your daily requirement of 20 to 35 grams.
A 1/2-cup serving of firm tofu supplies 1.1 grams of dietary fiber. A 1/2-cup serving of soft tofu provides just 0.25 grams of dietary fiber. Though you can't really rely on tofu to add significant amounts of fiber to your daily diet, adding a serving here and there can help you increase your intake slightly, and every little bit counts.
Fiber is a key nutrient, but the majority of Western diets don't contain enough of it. The nutrient might be most well-known for helping to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids by supporting a healthy digestive system, but it serves additional roles in your health, as well. Getting plenty of fiber in your diet can reduce your risk of diverticulitis, which is painful inflammation of your colon. Fiber might help you reach your weight loss goals by keeping you feeling full and satisfied so you don't eat more than you should. Eating enough fiber might also reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by helping to regulate your blood sugar levels, according to MayoClinic.com.
A 2011 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reports that for every 10 grams of fiber added to your diet, your risk of breast cancer is decreased by 7 percent. Fiber can lower your chance of developing colorectal adenomas, which are precancerous growths that can turn into cancer, according to a 2004 article published in the "International Journal of Cancer." Tofu might reduce your risk of heart disease, as well. A 2006 article published in "Circulation" notes that soy products, such as tofu, can cut your chances of cardiovascular disease because they contain beneficial fiber, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals that protect the health of your heart.
Firm tofu pairs well with vegetarian stir-fry recipes, and the vegetables add even more fiber to your meal. The tofu adds protein to the meal, as well, without significantly changing the taste. Marinate firm tofu and grill it for a low-fat and protein-rich meal that also supplies a small amount of fiber. Puree soft tofu into smoothies or creamy soup recipes. Use soft tofu in oatmeal and yogurt to boost the nutrition. Soft tofu increases the nutrition of dips, such as dill or artichoke, too.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Tofu, Soft, Prepared with Calcium Sulfate and Magnesium Chloride
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Tofu, Firm, Prepared with Calcium Sulfate and Magnesium Chloride
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It!
- International Journal of Cancer: Fat, Fiber, Fruits, Vegetables and Risk of Colorectal Adenomas
- Circulation: Soy Protein, Isoflavones, and Cardiovascular Health
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.