Soybean is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It holds the key for better health and a stronger digestive system, mental health, and immune system.
Tempeh looks almost like fungus due to the fermentation process. But you should know that fermented products contribute for overall health and well-being. It aids your immune system and cardiovascular health the way other major superfoods do. Basically, tempeh is a healthy substitute to meat products which makes it irresistible to vegans and vegetarians. A single serving of tempeh offers a sufficient serving of protein and other nutrients in your diet including iron and calcium.
The plant-based protein diet, which is the major health benefit of tempeh, has muscle building, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. People are consuming tempeh on a daily basis because of its nutritive health benefits as well as its scrumptious flavor. It’s a good source of vitamin B2, magnesium, fiber, and manganese. (1)
1. Tempeh Is Rich In Dietary Fiber
A single serving of tempeh, as mentioned before, has more dietary fiber than your daily consumption. A regular dietary fiber intake has positive health benefits for both children and adults. It helps build the immune system and digestive system.
When you consume dietary fiber, with the help of tempeh, the detoxification process of the colon is activated. This helps reduce symptoms that may cause colon cancer. It also reduces risk of developing coronary heart disease which is a very common condition for patients with fiber deficiency.
That said, many people with a low fiber diet face digestive problems such as constipation, acid reflux, hemorrhoids, and ulcers. Tempeh helps clean out the digestive system with the help of dietary fiber. It helps regulate the digestive process in the small intestine while it helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as glucose and fats in the body. This has a direct effect on the glycemic index of a meal.
An increased diet of fiber can also aid patients with high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It supports healthy cardiovascular levels which reduces weight gain and promotes proper liver health. (2)
Key Takeaway: Dietary fiber, found in large amounts in tempeh supports regular bowel movements. People who eat fiber-rich diets have a lower ratio of constipation than people than people who eat a low-fiber diet. They also experience fewer hemorrhoids and diverticula in the colon.
2. Tempeh Is A Powerful Probiotic Food
Like all soy products, tempeh is an effective and nutritious probiotic food. Probiotic foods go above and beyond to support the body’s immune system. Probiotics can be characterized as microorganisms and yeasts. Contrary to popular beliefs, there are two types of bacteria and tempeh is the good kind.
With certain microorganisms in the body, it could lead to chronic illnesses, inflammatory diseases, and autoimmune disorders. That’s why you need a healthy diet of tempeh for its probiotic benefits. That said, probiotics help encourage normal thyroid function, bone health, and gut health.
One of the major health benefits of probiotic foods is supporting the digestive system against inflammation and ulcers. Other health benefits are defending against arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.
With the help of probiotics, your body breaks down nutrients such as sugar much easily. This increases the digestion process while keeping harmful toxins out of the body. Chronic irritation caused by symptoms such as indigestion, infection, ulcers, etc. are all part of a healthy metabolic and immune system. Without regular intake of healthy probiotics, it could lead to an abnormal immune response.
According to a study, tempeh plays a major role in enhancing intestinal health in rats. It has powerful PH-lowering benefits which restrict the proliferation of pathogens and lactic acid bacteria. (3,4)
Key Takeaway: Tempeh has immuno-modulatory and immune-stimulating properties for a healthy intestinal tract to and digestive system.
3. Tempeh Works As A Natural Remedy For Menopausal Relief
Tempeh is well known for its ability to reduce serious effects of menopause in women. Menopause is characterized by the bodily and hormonal changes a woman goes through. Women experiencing menopause can no longer menstruate. This also marks the end of the reproductive cycle.
Tempeh contains good amounts of isoflavones, which are a natural source of menopausal relief. After evaluation of human studies, it is considered that isoflavones have a positive effect on the lipids in the woman’s body. The main biological functions of lipids includes energy production and conservation and the proper signaling and regulation of cell membranes. (5)
Studies suggest that phytoestrogens, a form of isoflavones, enhance estrogen levels in the body. Phytoestrogens contains a powerful compound called genistein. This compound mimics the effects of estrogen in the body, therefore reducing serious symptoms of menopause such as hormonal imbalance, weight gain, and mood swings. (6)
Key Takeaway: Adding tempeh to your daily diet will give you a good intake of isoflavones such as phytoestrogens and genistein. It’s a nutritious probiotic food offers menopausal relief.
4. Tempeh Is A Rich Source Of Dietary Fats
Tempeh are excellent sources of dietary fats. Rest assured, the fats found in tempeh are essential to stabilize bodily functions such as metabolism, digestion, blood pressure, and many more.
According to one report, 100 g of tempeh contains 11 g of dietary fats along with omega-3 fatty acids which have positive cardiovascular benefits.
Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate blood pressure in young adults, a study suggests. Since it’s a part of essential fats our body needs to function, it helps lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This plays a major role in reducing risk of heart attack, stroke, and blocked arteries. (7)
Additionally, tempeh has cholesterol lowering effects and is shown to be extremely effective at treating inflammation associated with obesity and diabetes. People who do not consume dietary fats consume foods high in carbs instead. This could lead to severe symptoms such as weight gain, inflammation, and heart problems.
Dietary fats are a healthier substitute to carbs because it contains fatty acids such as omega-3 with protective properties. It boosts health health and lowers triglycerides while normalizing blood pressure. (8)
A daily intake of tempeh may lead to healthy aging. New studies have linked the intake of essential fats and proper brain function.
Key Takeaway: Consumption of more tempeh increases the body’s dietary fats intake. This helps control blood pressure and reduces the risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases. According to a new studies, controlled feeding of tempeh is necessary to maintain healthy level of fats in the body.
5. Tempeh Contains Good Amounts Of Vitamins For Regulating Normal Blood Flow
Vitamin B, present in tempeh, is also called riboflavin. It is an essential vitamin required for its powerful antioxidant capacity. Vitamin B maintains healthy blood cells, boosts energy levels, inhibits free radical damage and protects skin and eye health.
People who consume tempeh on a daily basis reported better physical and mental performance. The major factor contributing to overall health and well-being is normal blood flow. You might think it unimportant, but lots of nutrients are essential for stimulating a healthy blood flow in the body.
B vitamins, especially vitamin B2 and B12, perform different functions but are responsible for cellular growth and development and the controlling of enzymes and proteins in the blood. (9)
Low intake of vitamin B has a serious effect of food absorption in the blood. This increases oxidative stress, fatty acid oxidation, and cellular damage. It is important to keep in mind that eating only a single serving of tempeh provides all the vitamin intake you need for the day.
Key Takeaway: The two members of vitamin B complex present in tempeh like vitamin B2 or vitamin B12 are important in increasing the blood flow. A deficiency of vitamins in the body can produce serious consequences such as cellular damage and oxidative stress in the bloodstream.
6. Niacin Present In Tempeh Helps Alleviate Parkinson’s Disease
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is used to treat and prevent niacin deficiency. Availability of sufficient niacin in the body ensures good brain health. The medicinal use of niacin includes protection from certain neurological disorders.
Tempeh contains large amounts of niacin, which is a kind of vitamin. It’s necessary for proper cellular function in the brain. While it also reduces the risk of depression, fatigue, and anemia. All of which are severe symptoms to various neurological disorders.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by an abnormal central nervous system. It causes constant shaking, difficult in movement, and rigidity. In simple words, it is a result of nerves damage which leads to low dopamine levels in the body. People with Parkinson’s disease are found to have low levels of niacin in their body.
That being said, niacin helps in DNA repair and energy production. It restricts the loss of neurons which helps stimulate better immunological response in the body. Studies suggest that niacin is critical for the proliferation of healthy cells and as a therapeutic agent for reducing severe symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. (10)
Key Takeaway: A regular but balanced intake of tempeh can effectively lower risk of early-onset Parkinson’s disease especially for those who are at the risk of neurological damage due to low levels of vitamins and niacin in the body.
7. A Daily Tempeh Intake May Help Increase Bone Strength
Tempeh is a rich source of both calcium and vitamin K. It’s commonly known that these two nutrients help make up the solid foundation of the body. Human bones are prone to breaks, infections, and other damages. Increased intake of vitamin K and calcium helps lower risk of bone breaks as much as fractures.
Tempeh’s fermentation process increases the amount of vitamin K and other minerals. And because of this fermentation process, it is deemed nutritive for the development and maintenance of bones. Calcium, collectively with other critical vitamins and minerals, maintain bone mineral density and inhibit the risk of bone weakening. (11)
It reduces the risk of osteoporosis. While for osteoporotic patients, it works with calcium to increase bone strength and mobility. According to a study, people consuming a high-vitamin K diet are 65% unlikely to go through hip immobility, fractures, and other bone problems.
On the other hand, calcium encourages proper bone and ligament health. People with a calcium deficiency are more vulnerable to weaker bones, which is a growing agent of hip fractures, arthritis, and other bone-related issue. (12)
Key Takeaway: Calcium leads the strengthening of bones. For aging adults, vitamin K and calcium increases bone mineral density while strengthening the natural process of energy production.
8. Tempeh Can Help Treat Diabetes
Diabetes is an incurable disease which is characterized by increased blood glucose or blood sugar levels. Your blood glucose level rapidly increases due to consumption of unhealthy foods. Insulin, on the other hand, is a crucial hormone involved in the process of energy production. It also keeps blood sugar at an appropriate level. (13)
Being rich in protein, manganese and vitamin B3, tempeh is considered an excellent food for long-term diabetes control and prevention. Vitamin B3 is helpful for treating diabetes as it balances high blood sugar levels. In fact, vitamin B3, in the form of niacinamide, helps improve the efficiency of drug treatments that are used to control diabetes.
One study proves that a controlled intake of vitamin B3 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes can help control diabetic dyslipidemia and lipid levels in the body. (14)
Almost all diabetic patients can effectively control blood sugar levels with the help of fiber, proteins, and other nutrients present in tempeh. It also reduces the risk of high blood cholesterol which plays a role in the proliferation of high blood pressure. Hence, influencing factors that could cause heart diseases in diabetic patients. (15)
Key Takeaway: The nutrients found in tempeh are essential for reducing blood glucose and sugar levels in the bloodstream. It also plays a major role in regulating normal insulin resistance for the prevention of diabetes.
9. Tempeh Is A Powerful Source Of Protein
We need to consume lots of protein-rich meals daily to keep our metabolism running. It offers incredible muscle strength and keeps blood sugar levels strong. Protein is used in absorbed in every single cell of the body and is critical for constructing muscle groups, assisting neurological balance, and digestion.
According to one study, a high protein diet causes healthy weight loss for people struggling to shed some pounds. Protein contains an enzyme called phenylalanine which plays a major role in triggering appetite and food cravings. The absorption of protein in the body can make you feel full faster.
The study was conducted on protein-fed obese mice. The results showed that there was a decrease in food intake and low ghrelin levels. Furthermore, it also increased physical activity as protein is an important nutrient for building muscle and energy. (16)
It also plays a role in regulating healthy renal function. CKD or Chronic Kidney Disease is a common phenomenon characterized by increased abnormal removal of waste from the body. Studies suggest that a sufficient protein intake may help reduce effects of renal disease and renal failure in unhealthy patients. (17)
The important thing to remember is that high protein diets can also lead to severe problems such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer. So foods that are high in protein and saturated fats must be rejected completely. (18)
Key Takeaway: Tempeh contains good amounts of protein which helps regulate muscle tissues and improves enzyme absorption in body. Many studies have found that protein in tempeh has powerful anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and weight management properties. .
10. Tempeh Is Good For Treating Cancer
Cancer is characterized by rapidly growing cells that destroy healthy cells in the body. Every cell in the body follows a normal path of development, split and death. Cell death, or apoptosis, is caused when cancer cells and tumors proliferate in the body. (17)
The polyphenolic compounds, isoflavones, are useful agents for the inhibition of angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the process of the production of new blood vessels from existing vessels. This process contributes to the proliferation of new cancer cells and tumors. The isoflavones present in tempeh have anti-angiogenesis properties. (18)
Another study found that the higher consumption of isoflavones is linked with reduced mortality in women with breast cancer. The study claims that soy products, including tempeh, appear to be most active and effective in decreasing mortality rate in women.
The isoflavones inhibit the proliferation of tumors with low estrogen and progesterone receptors. Also, they have protective benefits against the severe side-effects of endocrine therapies used as a treatment of breast cancer. (19)
Key Takeaway: Many cancer survivors are wrongly suggested to avoid tempeh as it contains phytoestrogens, but the presence of isoflavones in the body can help resist cancer cell and tumor proliferation in most adults.
11. Phosphorus Present In Tempeh Helps In Restoration Of Bones And Cells
Phosphorus is an essential mineral used for the development and restoration of body cells and tissues. 85% is phosphorus is found in bones and teeth. Phosphorus, combined with calcium, offer cell strength and preservation. Phosphorus is also needed in the body for many biochemical processes including energy production.
Tempeh is rich in phosphorus, which are helpful for improving the body’s physiological response. It even protects the body from fragile bones, as does calcium.
Tempeh is needed to help reduce the risk of developing arthritic bones and hip fracture. But more importantly, it offers protection against chronic health conditions such as kidney failure, bone loss, and cardiovascular diseases. (20)
Key Takeaway: Phosphorus is an important part of our DNA. It is crucial the development and preservation of energy in the body. This positively affects other factors such as bone, heart, renal, and metabolic health. In addition, it is also involved in the activation of B vitamins in the bloodstream.
12. Tempeh Helps Reduce Risk Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Tempeh has powerful properties that may help alleviate chronic kidney disease. It is a condition characterized by irregular kidney function. Lots of factor cause chronic kidney disease including old age, genetic factors, and unhealthy diet. If left untreated, it gradually gets worse and can lead to kidney failure.
Soy foods like tempeh are beneficial for dialysis patients. It also offers positive health effects for patients who have undergone kidney transplant. The dietary fats and cholesterol-free nutrients found in tempeh boost cellular response while the proteins help increase metabolism. Being plant-based, tempeh offers incredible immunoprotective and disease-preventing properties than meat-based products. (21)
Another study found that tempeh have high amounts of phytate which is a powerful compound used for the inhibition of kidney stones. A small, but daily intake of soy products, such as tempeh, can reduce your chances of developing kidney stones, thus lowering risk of chronic kidney disease. (22)
Key Takeaway: Treatment for chronic kidney disease, kidney transplant recovery, and kidney stones can be achieved with a regular tempeh diet. Consuming foods high in protein, dietary fats, and cholesterol-free compounds can reduce kidney inflammation.
13. Tempeh Is Ideal For A Low Sodium Diet
Tempeh is a healthy source of sodium. If you didn’t already know, a sufficient sodium diet is considered to be good for the brain. For the brain to function properly, proper food absorption in the brain cells is essential. Sodium, acting as an electrolyte, is crucial for the proper functioning and preservation of cells in the brain. That said, a low sodium diet in the blood can cause neuron dysfunction and other factors such as headaches, fatigue, and seizures. Additionally, people with too little sodium in the blood can often go into a coma, experience unconsciousness, and fall victim to hypernatremia. Hypernatremia is a neurological condition that causes confusion, lethargy, mood swings, irritability, and restlessness. (23)
Another study links sodium to a healthy brain. Sodium is considered to be a neurotransmitter receptor in the brain. It helps lower risk of various types of diseases such as epilepsy. Sodium plays a part in how the brain transmits messages to different parts of the body and within the brain vessels itself. It also plays an important role in accessing different pain sensations in the body, that is neuropathic pain. (24)
Key Takeaway: A low sodium diet can lead to severe neurological disorders. If not major, then it helps reduce risk of developing symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, etc. in adults.
14. Potassium Content Of Tempeh Can Alleviate Chronic Inflammatory Diseases
Potassium is one of the seven vital macro minerals comprising of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, iron and zinc.
High potassium consumption is associated with reduced risk of death caused by stroke, high blood pressure, loss of muscle mass, and the formation of kidney stones. It helps reduce the dangerous effects of free radical damage and oxidative stress in the body. (25)
The study focused on over 2200 deaths by kidney disease and heart disease. The results showed that people with a high potassium intake has a lower mortality rate than those who didn’t consume much potassium at all. A sufficient potassium intake affects various factors such as body mass index, glucose levels, activeness, and hypertension.
Key Takeaway: Adequate intake of potassium on a daily basis is essential. Low potassium consumption has been linked with high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
15. Tempeh Contains Good Amounts of Fiber For Asthma Prevention
Dietary fiber, present in tempeh, has protective benefits for people who have respiratory problems. A new study found a direct link between dietary fiber and asthma.
The study shows that lung health is greatly affected by the way fibers and fatty acids enter the bloodstream. This influences immune response in the lungs, and as a result, a deficiency of fiber and fatty lead can lead to asthma.
The study was fairly conducted on mice divided into two groups. The first group was fed a low-fiber diet while the other a high-fiber diet. When the results were shown, it proved that fermented fiber, present in tempeh, strengthens the immune cells in the lungs to have a weaker allergic reaction. (26)
This study also proved that fiber plays an important role in reducing the level of inflammation associated with allergies and reactive respiratory responses.
Key Takeaway: Tempeh is rich in dietary fiber which plays a major role the proper regulation of immunological responses in the lungs.
5 Delicious Tempeh Recipes
Tempeh is a delicious addition to any weight loss program. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or a meat lover! Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh has a hearty texture and is a protein powerhouse. Because of its fermentation process, it is easy to digest and is important to keep the metabolism in check.
Consuming tempeh is to include a healthy soy product in your diet, however, it also is a way to boost consumption of fermented meals. Studies suggest that fermented soy products offer double the nutrients than other vegetables and fruits that are a part of your daily diet.
Tempeh has a dry, chewy consistency, is brownish in color. Plus, it is less processed than tofu. Even higher, tempeh has substantially more protein and fiber than tofu. If this sounds great to you, I’ve compiled some of the most mouth-watering tempeh recipes below.
1. Tempeh Butter Cheese Sandwich
A healthy and nutritious tempeh sandwich that will satisfy your appetite.
1 slice of tempeh
60 gms sauerkraut
1 slice of cheese
3 tsp of salad dressing
2 slices of bread
20 gms of butter
Heat a frying pan.
Spread butter over one side of both bread slices.
Place one buttered bread in the pan and top with tempeh, cheese and sauerkraut.
Now place the other bread slice over the sauerkraut.
Cook both sides until the cheese melts.
2. Tempeh Baked with Vegetables
This dish is perfect for vegetarians who want to something equal in both flavor and nutrients. So this tempeh recipe will keep them hooked for long.
1 1/2 tsp of olive oil
1/8 tsp of red pepper
1 sliced leek
80 gms chopped shallots
125 gms chopped red bell pepper
4 chopped garlic cloves
2 cups of halved carrots
125 gms diced zucchini
8 ounce tempeh
1/2 cup of sherry
1 chopped tomato
3 tsp tamari
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pour oil and crushed red pepper in casserole dish and heat for a minute.
Add leek, shallot, red bell pepper and garlic.
After 3 minutes, add the carrots and zucchini with regular stirring and cook for 5 minutes.
Cook for 5 minutes after adding the tempeh.
Cook for additional 5 minutes after adding the sherry, tomato and tamari.
Next, bake the dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
3. Crumbled Tempeh with Veggies
To satisfy your hunger, crumbled tempeh with some veggies can prove to be an easy dinner recipe that everyone loves to devour!
6 tsp of veggie oil
1 medium sized diced onion
½ tsp of oregano
3 minced garlic cloves
½ diced bell pepper
1 diced jalapeno
½ tsp of cayenne
16 ounces of crumbled tempeh
1 tbsp of sugar
200 ml tomato sauce
¼ tsp of cumin
60 ml ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 burger buns
Shredded cheddar cheese
Pickles for garnishing
Heat the oil over in a pan.
Add in the garlic, spices, onions, and peppers to cook for 2 minutes.
Now add the tempeh and cook for a short time before adding the sugar, tomato sauce and ketchup.
Add salt and pepper and stir well.
Spread the mixture over the burger buns, sprinkle with cheese and garnish with a pickle.
4. Boiled Browned Tempeh
This recipe is a hit among children.The boiled browned tempeh helps replenish their daily protein needs. It’s that nutritious and healthy!
4 ounce pre-steamed tempeh
2 chopped mushrooms
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 1⁄2 tsp of grated ginger
12 tsp of soy sauce
2 tsp of chopped parsley
Put some oil in a pan and add 3 tsps of soy sauce.
Cut the tempeh into small cubes and put in the pan.
Mix with the chopped mushrooms, garlic and ginger.
Sprinkle the remaining soy sauce and parsley.
Cook for 10 minutes or until it is browned.
5. Tempeh Tuna Salad
The taste and look are persuasively close to the real tuna salad. It’s a perfect recipe for those who like tuna salad when tuna is not available.
2 cups of vegetable soup
8 ounce tempeh
6 tsp of soy sauce
6 tsp of lemon juice
1 chopped garlic clove
3 tsp of seaweed granules
100 gms chopped red onion
200 gms sliced celery
200 gms sliced dill pickles
50 gms mayonnaise
Boil the soup over medium-high heat.
Add the tempeh to the soup and boil for 25 minutes.
Drain the boiled water and cool at room temperature.
When cooled, grate the boiled tempeh into a bowl.
In another bowl, mix the soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and seaweed flakes.
Pour the seaweed mixture in the grated tempeh and mix it well.
Add in the red onion, celery, mayonnaise and dill pickles. Combine with mayo. Serve chilled.
Wrapping It Up
Tempeh is extremely nutritive and incorporates healthy nutrients such as isoflavones, saponins, fiber, manganese, and vitamin K. It offers nutritive benefits required by the body for proper blood regulation and energy production.
If we compare tofu (made from soybean extract) and tempeh for their nutritional value, then tempeh possesses a higher nutritive position in eyes of consumers. Nowadays, tempeh consumers prefer tempeh over meat just because of its dietary components.
Tempeh is packed with poly and monounsaturated fats. It’s rich in dietary fats which make it calorie-dense which also this means you get good amount of calories intake with a relatively smaller serving. While the dietary fiber content makes you feel full and reduces food cravings for longer.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.