A wooden style bowl, filled with slices of tempeh and topped with a garnish.

The health benefits of eating tempeh

If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet or know someone else who does, there’s a good chance you’ve heard a bit about tempeh.

If you’re new to tempeh, however, don’t worry. This guide is packed full of help, from how it’s made to how it tastes.

But before we get into that, what exactly is tempeh? Read on to find out.

What is tempeh?

Talk to food historians, and they’ll tell you tempeh dates back up to a thousand years. Tempeh is made using fermented soybeans, starter cultures and microorganisms. This nutty-tasting vegan delicacy is a little similar to tofu.

During the fermentation process, which takes at least 30 hours1 , soybeans are soaked, boiled and later pressed into a compact, cake-like loaf.

How do you cook tempeh?

It’s a fair question. After all, tempeh’s popularity has grown recently, following a spike in the number of people turning to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. One thing to know about tempeh is it can be quite tasteless on its own. Because of its bland flavour, most recipes recommend marinating it in herbs, spices or marinade.

Once you’ve seasoned it to your liking, you can bake it, fry it, sauté it or steam it and then portion it into chunks or strips like you might with tofu.

What are the health benefits of eating tempeh?

So now you know what tempeh is and how to cook it, you’re probably wondering if it’s any good for you. The answer is yes, it is!

An 84-gram serving of tempeh contains 15 grams of protein2 , which makes it an excellent replacement for meat. Another significant benefit of protein is it can help you feel fuller for longer3 . This means tempeh is considered a good meal option for anyone trying to lose weight, reducing hunger and cravings later in the day. And while the same serving of tempeh has nine grams of fat, the majority of that is healthy saturated fats, including mono and polyunsaturated fat.4 Throw in vitamin B12  and prebiotics, which may help to encourage good gut bacteria, and you might start to see why tempeh is celebrated for its health benefits.5

Who should avoid eating tempeh?

While tempeh is an excellent choice for most diets, some people might need to avoid eating it.

Anyone with an allergy to soy products should indeed avoid tempeh, as should anyone with a thyroid complication. This is because soy may interact with the medication used to treat hypothyroidism. If in doubt, check with your doctor.6

For the most part, however, there are more tempeh benefits than reasons to avoid it, so long as it’s enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

Where to find tempeh

With its popularity and availability increasing, more people are being turned on to the potential health benefits of eating tempeh. Wondering where to buy tempeh? Browse our online health store to find brilliant tempeh products from leading brands like Biona Organic.

As for what to look out for, good quality tempeh should be a nice beige colour, firm to touch, and not sticky or off-smelling. Enjoy!

Last Updated: 5th October 2020

Sources:
  1. https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/soy/tempeh-faqs/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tempeh
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-to-eat-more-protein
  4. https://www.verywellfit.com/tempeh-nutrition-facts-4584423
  5. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-tempeh
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tempeh
Food & DrinkVeganVegetarian