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Can you eat tofu while pregnant?

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Guidelines and limited diet restrictions during pregnancy are not easy to follow, especially when it comes to consuming tofu. Tofu is plant-based food that is also high in protein and acts as a vegan and vegetarian friendly substitute for meat. 

When it comes to overall health, the question arises whether soy-based foods are safe to eat while pregnant due to the increase in estrogen hormone levels.

Can you eat tofu while pregnant? Yes, you can eat tofu in moderation while pregnant. It is a low-fat, plant based protein source that contains many essential amino acids. 

However, some experts caution that eating too much tofu could be harmful to your health and the health of your unborn child. 

One or two servings of tofu per day is a healthy amount while you are pregnant. A serving is defined as half a cup of tofu or one cup of soy milk. 

Some experts advocate eating fermented soy products like tempeh and miso instead of soy milk and tofu.

Like other foods, tofu also needs to be consumed safely and in moderation to gain many nutritional health benefits from soy.

Including high iron, protein, and unsaturated fats, let’s learn more about the relationship between tofu and pregnancy. Answered below are frequently asked questions about eating tofu while pregnant along with safety and precautions to consider in your diet.

Is soy bad during pregnancy?

No, soy is not bad during pregnancy, In fact, eating a moderate amount of soy and soy products is healthy during pregnancy. 

As with many food items, consuming more than one or two servings per day can be harmful. Soy can be a great addition to a pregnancy diet, as it is a low fat source of much-needed protein.

Generally, tofu contains isoflavones, which impact hormone levels. Some experts warn that eating too much can impair health and potentially disrupt the growth of the embryo during pregnancy.

Getting enough protein while maintaining a vegetarian diet during pregnancy is especially difficult, so many women turn to soy to supplement both micro and macro nutritional levels. 

Soy offers folate, iron, calcium, zinc, and trace minerals in addition to high-quality protein, and tofu is a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Is it safe to eat soybean during pregnancy?

Yes it is safe to eat soybean during pregnancy. It may be unhealthy to eat more than one or two servings per day, therefore a moderate amount is a good addition to your diet during pregnancy. 

Tofu is a low calorie, protein-rich food, containing many vital nutrients that are important for a well balanced vegetarian diet. It is an excellent source of iron, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats. [1]

One to two servings of soy per day during pregnancy is healthy, but not more. Typically, one serving is a half cup of tofu or cup of soy milk.

Consume whole foods, not processed snacks, no matter which form of soy you pick. Most processed soy foods are labeled as healthy, but do not have the same health benefits as soy milk and tofu. 

Can soy cause miscarriage?

No, soy does not cause miscarriage. According to the research, soy has not been linked to miscarriages, but always consult your physician if you have concerns about your pregnancy. 

Natural soy consumed in moderation has not been linked to reproductive concerns, fertility or pregnancy loss. [2

In contrast, genetically modified soy has been linked to some health issues, including erectile dysfunction in men. [3]

If you are looking for a healthy way to consume soy products, be sure to only buy natural non-gmo soy, and eat no more than one to two servings per day.

Many soy products contain genetically engineered soy, often known as soy protein isolate, which is best to avoid.

Here are a few examples of genetically engineered soy products:

  • cereals 
  • mayonnaise
  • protein bars
  • veggie burgers
  • protein supplements

While it hasn’t been established that natural soy causes reproductive disorders, genetically engineered soy has been linked to:

  • hormonal changes
  • erectile dysfunction
  • infertility
  • endometriosis

GMOs, also known as genetically modified organisms should be avoided in all diets, no matter if it is soy-based or not. If you consume a lot of soy, take particular precautions to avoid genetically engineered varieties.

Can you eat tofu while pregnant?

Yes, you can consume moderate amounts of tofu as part of a healthy diet while pregnant. During pregnancy, one to two servings of tofu is fine. 

Here are the health benefits for eating tofu while pregnancy:

  • Protein-Dense: Tofu is high in protein, which aids in development and growth of the fetus.
  • Calcium-rich source: Calcium is an essential component for optimal bone formation in both the mother and baby’s bodies. It aids in the development of your baby’s teeth, bone, muscles and nerves.
  • Assists in the production of blood cells: Tofu is high in iron and copper, both of which aid in oxygen transportation throughout the body. Furthermore, it is an important component of hemoglobin that aids in the production of energy and release of oxygen in the body. Iron also helps to boost immune system strength to fight off infection.
  • Antioxidant rich: The antioxidants in tofu have been shown to be beneficial to overall health.
  • Flavonoids and isoflavonoids are present: It contain antioxidants called flavonoids and isoflavonoids that help to prevent diseases from developing. These can help protect your baby from diabetes and obesity in the future if consumed before and during pregnancy. [3]
  • Assists in weight loss: Low in calories and high in vegetable protein, tofu keeps you felling satisfied for longer and helps you avoid hunger cravings. [4]
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease: Tofu is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help you keep arteries clear and avoid blood clots. It’s also high in polyunsaturated fats that assist in lowering blood cholesterol levels in the body. [5]
  • It promotes hair growth: Contains a significant quantity of keratin, a necessary protein for hair growth that aids in the growth and maintenance of healthy hair. [6]

Dangers of eating tofu during pregnancy

To minimize the negative consequences of excessive intake, it is recommended that you eat all foods in moderation. Pregnancy and fetal development necessitates extra caution when it comes to what you eat.

As a result, carefully assess the hazards connected with tofu consumption and limit your intake:

  • Phytic acid: In your intestines, the phytic acid in soy limits the absorption of important minerals like copper, calcium, iron, manganese, and zinc. Because the fermentation process lowers phytic acid levels, this effect is modest in fermented soy products like miso and tempeh.
  • Protein digestion is affected by anti-nutrients: Soy contains a lot of anti-nutrients, which may interfere with digestive enzymes in the body. Trypsin is one such anti-nutrient that impairs protein absorption and digestion.
  • Aluminum is abundant: Because tofu is a soy product, it may accumulate significant levels of aluminum during the processing or washing in aluminum tanks. Aluminum can cause neurological issues in your baby’s developing brain, which is something to be aware of.
Can you eat tofu while pregnant?

Tofu During Pregnancy: Conclusion

Tofu is a highly nutritious source of plant-based protein to eat during pregnancy, as long as it is consumed without excess. It is recommended to only consume one or two servings of tofu or soy based foods per day, which represents a half cup of tofu or single cup of soy milk. 

When tofu is eaten in moderation during pregnancy, there are numerous health benefits to count on including rich in protein, calcium, assisting producing blood cells, antioxidant, flavonoids, weight loss, promote hair growth, and lowering risk of heart disease. 

On the other hand, excessive tofu consumption can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, pancreatitis, constipation, and protein indigestion due to physic acids, digestive enzymes, and abundance in aluminum.

If you are looking to regularly incorporate tofu into your diet while pregnant, talk to a nutritionist, dietician and physician about the effects of soy on your body. Get a professional opinion to make sure that eating tofu is right for you and the baby.

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