Tofu can be great source of calcium. This is mainly because a calcium containing coagulant is often used in the production process. Although soya beans contain calcium, tofu made using a a calcium coagulant is higher in calcium.
Tofu is made by first soaking and crushing the soya beans into a pulp along with water. It’s cooked and the mixture is filtered into a soya milk. The soya milk is then coagulated with a coagulant such as calcium sulphate. This results in soy curls being formed, which are separated from the liquid and then pressed into blocks. This removes more of the moisture and leads to the formation of tofu.
Tofu is high in protein and can be an important source of protein for those on a plant predominant diet. This is described in my article on the 11 Of The Best Vegan Protein Sources.
How Much Calcium is in Tofu?
The amount of calcium in tofu depends on the coagulant used. I have seen brands of tofu made with calcium sulphate listed as containing around 350mg to 400mg of calcium per 100g. This type of tofu can be considered an excellent source of calcium, considering the recommended daily allowance for calcium in Ireland is 800mg per day.
Some brands of tofu are made using a mixture of coagulants such as calcium sulphate and magnesium chloride. Tofu made using these coagulants will be lower in calcium than tofu made using only a calcium coagulant. Tofu is also often made using nigari.
What is Tofu made with Nigari?
Nigari is essentially what is left over after salt was precipitated from seawater. It used to be a by-product when salt was extracted from seawater. It contains many minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, chloride,
Nigari is also commonly used as a coagulant to make tofu with the main coagulant being magnesium chloride. Tofu made with nigari is usually higher in magnesium but lower in calcium than tofu made with a calcium coagulant.
Calcium on a No Dairy Diet
Those consuming a diet without dairy such as a plant based diet, or an omnivorous diet that excludes dairy, are excluding a food source that is high in calcium. Dairy products are often marketed for their calcium content and are indeed a great source of calcium. That being said, many people around the world do not consume dairy, and there are plenty of other sources of calcium available in the diet.
Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium in the Diet
- Tofu – especially using a calcium coagulant
- Fish where you eat the bones such as sardines – since bones contain calcium
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fortified foods and drinks
Making Your Own Tofu
I have never tried to make my own tofu but it is on my list for things to attempt in the future. If it works out I will write a post about it. It doesn’t look overly complicated and there are plenty of versions online to try out. I noticed that sometimes lemon juice is used as a coagulant. I would be interested to compare hoew the flavour of a homemade tofu compares to a store bought version.