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Why Tempeh Is Incredibly Healthy And Nutritious

Why Tempeh Is Incredibly Healthy and Nutritious

Tempeh is a fermented soy product that’s a popular vegetarian meat replacement.

However, vegetarian or not, it can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

High in protein, probiotics and a wide array of vitamins and minerals, tempeh is a versatile ingredient that comes with a variety of health benefits.

This article will take a deeper look at the many advantages of tempeh.

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh in a Wooden Bowl With Two Forks

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans that have been fermented, or broken down by microorganisms.

Following fermentation, the soybeans are pressed into a compact cake that is commonly consumed as a vegetarian source of protein.

In addition to soybeans, tempeh may also be made from other bean varieties, wheat or a mixture of soybeans and wheat (1).

Tempeh has a dry and firm but chewy texture and a slightly nutty taste. It can be steamed, sautéed or baked and is often marinated to add more flavor.

Much like other meatless sources of protein, such as tofu and seitan, tempeh is a popular choice among vegans and vegetarians because it’s packed with nutrients.

Summary: Tempeh is typically made up of fermented soybeans and/or wheat. It can be prepared in a variety of different ways and is high in nutrients, making it a popular vegetarian source of protein.

Tempeh Is Rich in Many Nutrients

Tempeh boasts an impressive nutrient profile. It is high in protein, vitamins and minerals but low in sodium and carbs.

A 3-ounce (84-gram) serving of tempeh contains these nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 162
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 9 grams
  • Total fat: 9 grams
  • Sodium: 9 milligrams
  • Iron: 12% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 9% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 18% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 12% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 21% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 54% of the RDI

Because it is more compact than other soy products, tempeh provides more protein than some other vegetarian alternatives.

For example, 3 ounces (84 grams) of tofu contains 6 grams of protein, or about 40% of the protein in the same amount of tempeh (3).

Tempeh is also a good dairy-free source of calcium. One cup (166 grams) of tempeh contains about 2/3 of the calcium found in one cup of whole milk (2, 4).

Summary: Tempeh is a good source of protein, iron, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. It is also low in carbs and sodium.

It Contains Probiotics

Fermentation is a process that involves the breaking down of sugars by bacteria and yeast (5).

Through fermentation, the phytic acid found in soybeans is broken down, helping to improve digestion and absorption (6).

Additionally, fermented foods are a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria found in your gut that can help promote digestive health (7).

Compared to other tempeh varieties, soy-based tempeh is especially rich in probiotics.

A 2013 test-tube study found that soy tempeh was more effective than bean-based tempeh in stimulating the growth of Bifidobacterium, a beneficial strain of bacteria (8).

Studies have found that probiotics could alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, prevent diarrhea, reduce bloating and support regularity (9, 10, 11).

Some studies have even found that probiotics could increase weight loss.

One study supplemented 210 adults who had large amounts of belly fat with probiotics. Following the 12-week study, participants lost an average of 8.5% of their belly fat (12).

Probiotics have also been associated with improvements in immunity, mental health and even blood cholesterol levels (13, 14, 15).

Summary: Tempeh contains probiotics, which may help promote digestive health, increase weight loss and improve immune function, mental health and blood cholesterol levels.

It’s High in Protein to Keep You Full

Baked Tempeh

Tempeh is high in protein. One cup (166 grams) provides 31 grams of protein (2).

Some studies suggest that a protein-rich diet may stimulate thermogenesis, leading to an increase in metabolism and helping your body burn more calories…

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