The Top 6 Health Benefits of Tempeh (2022)
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented food made from soybeans. Originating in Indonesia, tempeh has been eaten for centuries – and for good reason. Once the soybeans have been cooked, it is fermented together forming a firm block of tempeh. It absorbs flavour easily and can be cooked in lots of different ways (if you’re looking for recipe/marinade inspo click here).
Is tempeh good for you?
Tempeh boasts a wide range of potential health benefits. It’s packed with plant-based protein, making it a brilliant source for vegans & vegetarians alike. It is also a good source of probiotics due to the fermentation process, making it easier to digest and assimilate.
Tempeh’s nutritional profile is an impressive one, so let’s take a deeper look at the top 6 health benefits of eating it regularly.
1) Rich in Essential Nutrients.
Tempeh is a rich source of several key nutrients, making it a fantastic choice for anyone looking to increase their plant points. It’s an incredible source of complete protein, containing a massive 20g+ per 100g.
A complete protein means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids that must be obtained through the diet, as we cannot make them in the body.
Often vegan or vegetarian protein sources lack certain amino acids, so this makes tempeh a brilliant way to ensure you’re meeting your RNI.
Besides protein, tempeh is an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and phosphorus. Some of which can be difficult to acquire when following a vegan diet, particularly calcium and iron. As well as being a great source of B-vitamins including B12, which is rarely found in plant-based sources.
2) Good for Gut Health.
Due to the fermentation process, tempeh is a rich source of live probiotic cultures and active enzymes that can be benefit gut health. Although some of this probiotic benefit can be lost due to cooking, these cultures help make tempeh easy to digest.
Tempeh is also a great source of prebiotics, which is essentially fibre that provides food for our gut microbiome. By feeding beneficial bacteria, it allows these colonies to thrive and prevents any bad strains from growing. Feeding a healthy microbiome has many benefits – including the production of vitamins, supporting nutrient absorption, neurotransmitter synthesis and improved immune function.
They say health starts in the gut, so all the more reason to incorporate tempeh into your weekly shop!
3) Amazing Source of Antioxidants.
Tempeh is a great source of antioxidants. You have probably heard of them, but what exactly are they?
Antioxidants are compounds that can prevent or slow down damage to our cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative damage unless neutralised by antioxidants.
Research indicates that antioxidants could play an important role in health & disease prevention, due to the fact that high levels of free radicals in the body can contribute to a host of diseases including heart disease, autoimmune disorders and even cancer. You can find antioxidants in abundance in plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole-grains and nuts. Smaller amounts can be found in meat and fish.
Tempeh contains soy isoflavones which act as antioxidants in the body and help to reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Soy isoflavones are also said to help reduce cholesterol levels, increase bone density and support mental function – pretty good stuff, right?
4) Supports Bone Health.
Our body relies on a constant intake of essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper to support bone formation. Low levels of any of these minerals can impair bone health and lead to decreased density and increased fragility. Particularly calcium & phosphorus which can be harder to acquire in a plant-based diet due to bioavailability.
Due to the fermentation process of tempeh, it also helps makes these vital minerals more bio-available, by reducing phytic acid content. Phytates can block uptake of some vitamins and minerals.
5) Supports Weight Management.
Tempeh is a great food to incorporate into your diet if you’re looking to lose or maintain a healthy weight. Due to its high protein content, tempeh can help with appetite control – making you feel fuller longer after a meal. Protein is also important to support muscle growth & repair – an important aspect of metabolic health.
Tempeh has a low glycaemic index and has shown to exert a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels. Regulating blood sugar levels is an important factor in weight loss and maintenance. Tempeh has also shown to improve insulin sensitivity which can support and prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
6) Promotes Cardiovascular Health
We mentioned Soy Isoflavones earlier, they are a type of antioxidant that have many benefits within the body. An additional benefit is the impact they have on cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. In a recent study, soy isoflavone intake was associated with reduced total & LDL cholesterol levels – both of which are risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart attacks. A further study identified that in addition to reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, intake of soy isoflavones also helped to reduced serum triglyceride levels in the blood.
If you’re sold on the health benefits of tempeh and fancy giving it a try? Well quite frankly we’re not surprised!
Where can I buy Tempeh and How to Cook It?
We recommend starting your tempeh journey by trying our different pieces – they come in Curry Spiced, Soy Marinated, Sweet Chilli or BBQ Burger.
Order via our online shop here! Plus, sign up to our newsletter to receive an exclusive intro offer promo code!
You can also find us stocked in Ocado, Planet Organic and Wholefoods.
For recipe inspo – we have heaps of recipes to get your love affair with tempeh started. Click here.