Health Benefits Of Tempeh

Team Fabulous Body

< 1 min read | May 2, 2023



Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian fermented soyfood that gained popularity worldwide as an excellent plant-based, high-protein meat alternative. Freshly prepared tempeh is a cake-like product with a clean, yeasty odor. It has a nutty flavor, pleasant aroma, and crunchy texture when cooked.


It is prepared by cooking soybeans and fermenting them with a mold called Rhizopus oryzae for 24-48 hours. Once the fermentation is complete, all the soybeans are bound together into a compact cake by a white mold. It then becomes sliceable and ready to cook.


The beans then ferment at room temperature for one or two days or at 30 to 32°C for about 20 hours. White mold mycelium covers the beans and binds them into a firm cake or sheet during fermentation. The tempeh sheet is then cut into smaller pieces and sold fresh or blanched, sundried or frozen. 1


Tempeh typically comes from soybeans, but you can also make it from other beans. In addition, you can buy it seasoned or mixed with other grains like rice, wheat, or barley. 2

Health Benefits Of Tempeh


Nutritional Profile


1 cup (166g) of tempeh contains these nutrients: 3


Calories: 319
Protein: 33.7g
Fat: 17.9g
Calcium: 184mg
Iron: 4.48mg
Potassium: 684mg


Tempeh is cholesterol free and a good source of fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals like isoflavones. 4


Rich In Protein


Tempeh has a good amount of protein; about one cup (166g) of tempeh provides 33g of protein, and we know that a diet high in protein may promote fullness, reduce hunger, and assist in weight loss. 5, 6, 7


High In Isoflavones


Like other soy products, tempeh is rich in plant compound isoflavones (60mg/100g). Isoflavones are phytoestrogens and have a chemical structure similar to that of estrogen. Genistein is the primary isoflavone in most soy products that have an anti-oxidative activity that may help:


-Improve cholesterol 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

-Support Bone Health 13

-Improve Insulin Resistance 14, 15


Probiotic-Rich Food


Tempeh is a fermented food rich in probiotics that influences the gut microbiome. The gut microbiota is the bacteria that reside in our digestive system. It is also rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in our digestive system. 16, 17


It is generally considered safe for most people. However, some individuals with soy allergies should avoid tempeh, while those with thyroid conditions may want to control their portion or consult a physician.

How Good Are Probiotics For You?


We generally think of bacteria and many other microorganisms as ‘harmful germs,’ but some have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. The World Health Organization defines probiotics as:

Live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.


Probiotics or good bacteria are beneficial bacteria that live in the body and provide several health benefits like: 18 , 19 , 20, 21, 22, 23


-Help the body by maintaining and improving a healthy community of microorganisms
-Assist in improving the body’s immune function
-Improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients
-May improve mental health
– Promotes healthier skin


Probiotic-rich foods/supplements may help us with certain health conditions: 24


-Diarrhea-due to infection or due to antibiotics
-I.B.D (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
-I.B.S (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
-Yeast infections
-Lactose intolerance
-Upper respiratory infections( like ear infections and col)
-UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)


Related Article: Probiotics For Gut Health | 9 Probiotics-Rich Foods


The most common place linked to the beneficial microbes is in our gut, as it is the biggest organ to host good microbes. Gut-friendly probiotics have been suggested as a new dietary solution for anxiety and depression.


Why? To understand this, we must look at the relationship between gut and mental health.

How Gut Health Affects Mental Health


The gut is called the ‘second brain‘ and contains nerves called ENS (enteric nervous system). ENS lines our digestive system with over 100 million nerve cells forming two layers. It runs from the esophagus to the rectum.


The primary role of ENS is to control digestion, from swallowing to releasing enzymes that break down food to controlling blood flow, which helps with nutrient absorption and elimination. The connection between the brain and gut affects the digestive system and our various emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, and happiness.


Researchers are finding evidence that may suggest irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes. 25 , 26


Our body, in the state of anxiety, releases some hormones and chemicals that enter the digestive system, which may impact the microorganisms that live along our gut resulting in a chemical imbalance that may cause any of these gastrointestinal conditions like: 27, 28


-Diarrhea or Constipation
-Crohn’s disease
-Loss of appetite or unusual hunger


One of the ways we can improve our gut health is by consuming gut-friendly foods and lifestyle changes, which will enhance our mental health. Among the gut-friendly, our readers might wonder whether to eat tempeh or tofu.


Related Program: The 21 Day Gut-Reset Program

Tempeh Or Tofu


This a note for all those who can’t decide between tofu or tempeh. Fundamentally, tofu is made from bean curds pressed together like cheesemaking.


It doesn’t have a taste, but it quickly absorbs the flavor of the fellow ingredients. Both tofu and tempeh can be used in various recipes, from burgers to soups, curries and stews.


Related Article: 7 Protein-Rich Vegetarian Foods


The bottom line is that tempeh is a fermented soy product with high protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals content. In addition, it’s a prebiotic and probiotic-rich food that may help promote beneficial bacteria in our gut and improve our health.

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