Koya-tofu(Dried Tofu) protects the muscles of elderly people and astronauts.

On May 21, Asahimatsu Foods and Tokushima University announced a joint research project titled “Protecting Muscles of Astronauts and the Elderly with Koya Tofu – New Functionalities of Freeze-dried Tofu” at the Hotel Metropolitan Nagano in Nagano City. The research presentation was organized by the National Frozen Tofu Industry Cooperative Federation, which includes Asahimatsu Foods. The federation is examining the health benefits of Koya Tofu, such as cholesterol reduction and the prevention/improvement of diabetes.

Professor Takeshi Futagawa from the Department of Medical Nutrition at Tokushima University began by explaining that the research started in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Asahimatsu Foods due to Koya Tofu’s ability to be stored for long periods in space. He noted that both animal and plant-based proteins are necessary for elderly individuals experiencing muscle loss and astronauts facing muscle degradation in space. The effectiveness of Koya Tofu was confirmed, and the findings were published in a paper in 2023. Human studies have indicated that the protein in Koya Tofu helps maintain muscle mass. In situations where muscle use is limited, such as bedridden conditions or space activities, Koya Tofu protein intake was shown to suppress the increase of genes responsible for muscle breakdown.

At the same event, a tasting session was held for recipes selected from a Koya Tofu recipe contest conducted last year. The contest received over 400 entries, and the winning recipes were well received by participants. Hisashi Murasawa, Managing Director and Head of the Research and Development Department at Asahimatsu Foods, stated, “Koya Tofu is rich in iron, calcium, and minerals. The protein in Koya Tofu may help maintain muscle mass.”

This research presentation marks an important step in demonstrating the new functionalities of Koya Tofu, with the potential to contribute to food self-sufficiency for long-term space residents in the future.

What is Koya t0fu?

Koya tofu, also known as freeze-dried tofu, is a type of tofu that has been dried through a freeze-drying process. This process gives it a unique texture and long shelf life, making it suitable for storage and use in various environments, including space. Koya tofu is rich in protein, iron, calcium, and other minerals, and it has been shown to have potential health benefits, such as helping to maintain muscle mass and improving metabolic functions like cholesterol reduction and diabetes prevention.

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