Tofu is a great substitute for regular cheese and an ingredient many people consume regularly. But can you eat tofu if you have a fatty liver disease? We’re going to go in depth with this in today’s article.
The short answer is: Yes, you can eat tofu if you have a fatty liver disease. Apart from the great, cheese-like taste, it has plenty of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and vitamin A.
All of these are healthy and needed by our body, but tofu also offers a low-fat, low calorie meal with plenty of protein and all the essential amino acids our body needs.
In other words, it’s a great replacement for cheese if you suffer from NAFLD.
Now, let’s get a bit more in depth with tofu and learn why it is good for fatty liver disease, how much should you have daily (and which types) and everything else you should know about this food.
Let’s start with the first things first, though.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a popular plant-based food that is made from soybeans, with a cheese-like texture and taste (although this can vary greatly).
It can be consumed as it is, out of the box, but it can also be used in plenty of dishes, from stir-fries to soups to smoothies. In other words, tofu is versatile and delicious… and nutritious (more on this later).
There are many different types of tofu available: firm, extra firm, silken, smoked and so on. It’s a good idea to try various types of tofu and decide which ones are your favorite – then focus on adding those to your diet.
Tofu and Fatty Liver Disease: Can You Eat It?
Yes, you can eat tofu with a fatty liver. In fact, tofu can be a healthy addition to a liver-friendly diet. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Tofu is low in fat: Since we already have too much fat in our body, it helps to consume low fat foods and avoid eating foods high in fat. This was my approach for reversing fatty liver, so it works!
- Tofu is high in protein: Protein is essential for repairing and building tissue, and it can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Tofu is rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants also play a key role in reducing inflammation and protecting the liver from damage. Tofu contains antioxidants which can help to support liver health.
- Tofu is a good source of calcium: While calcium is not directly related to NAFLD, a generally healthy body is what we’re aiming for and with calcium being so important for our bones, it’s good to know that Tofu has plenty of it.
- Tofu is a versatile ingredient: I know from personal experience how boring dieting can get. But tofu is versatile and it can be used in various ways and in various dishes, helping us avoid dieting fatigue and always feeling like we’re eating something new or different.
Now, even though tofu is low-fat, has relatively few calories and can be a healthy addition to a liver-friendly diet, it is important to keep in mind that moderation is key, as it is with any type of food you will consume to reverse your condition.
I personally only ate minimal amounts of tofu, to be honest – but only because it was not something that I was eating before and I have to admit I am not a huge fan of its texture.
But early on, it was great in helping me replace white cheese (or Feta cheese) which I used to consume A LOT of. Slowly, I switched to eating a bit of white cheese, but early on, tofu was welcome.
What I want to say is that I wouldn’t consider tofu a superfood. (You can check a list of liver-friendly superfoods here instead). So you don’t HAVE to eat it if you have been diagnosed with a fatty liver.
But you can have it, as it is considered safe and healthy. There has been some controversy regarding soy (the primary ingredient in tofu), but as long as you make smart choices (non-gmo and organic) and have it in moderation, things should be fine.
Tips for Eating Tofu with a Fatty Liver
If you decide to make it part of your diet, here are some of my tips for incorporating it nicely:
1. Choose organic tofu. Better pay a bit more for a healthier product.
2. Stick to firm or extra firm tofu. These are usually the lowest in fat and higher in protein, but also taste better (in my opinion – test them out and see what you like more)
3. Check the ingredients list: make sure there are no chemicals added, or artificial flavors or sugar. There shouldn’t be any, but better be safe than sorry.
4. Watch your portion size. While tofu is a healthy food, too much of it can be unhealthy.
Aim for a maximum of 1-2 servings of tofu per day (about 50-80 grams per serving), and make sure to mix it with other healthy options, like vegetables, lean meats, fruits, nuts and seeds and everything else you need for a varied, healthy diet.
5. Experiment with different recipes. If you are like me and you don’t really love it, try various recipes or ways to eat it until you find something enjoyable (and share your findings in the comments section below – I’m sure everybody would love to know).
Delicious Tofu Recipes for Liver Health
While there are surely many other recipes out there, here are some quick ones that I have tried and enjoyed. They are fast and easy to make, and also I would consider them liver-friendly.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add diced tofu, sliced vegetables such as bell peppers and broccoli, and a tablespoon of soy sauce.
Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is golden brown.
Crumble firm tofu into a pan and add diced vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, and baby spinach.
Season with salt, pepper, and turmeric, and stir-fry until the tofu is heated through and the vegetables are tender. At this point, add a whole egg and scramble until ready. Perfect for breakfast!
Tofu & Vegetable Soup
Heat vegetable broth in a pot and add diced tofu, chopped vegetables such as carrots and celery, and a tablespoon of miso paste.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is heated through.
In conclusion, tofu can be a healthy addition to a liver-friendly diet and you can consume it if you have a fatty liver disease.
It is low in fat, high in protein, and rich in antioxidants, as well as various minerals and vitamins.
Just make sure to eat tofu in moderation, and always check out the list of ingredients to make sure you’re not getting one with things you don’t want (like added sugar or other chemicals / preservatives).
And if you want to keep reading about healthy eating with fatty liver, you can check out my previous article sharing some coffee creamer alternatives for fatty liver.
I was diagnosed with a fatty liver back in 2014 and managed to reverse it by mid-2015. Since then, I’ve been studying it, continuously updating my knowledge with the latest scientific findings and practical approaches to give others the help they need to reverse their condition.
My approach to managing fatty liver is holistic, balancing scientifically-backed information with real-life, practical advice based on personal, direct experience.
I am also the admin of the Fatty Liver Support Group on Facebook and the Fatty Liver Subreddit.