Tempeh is a Good Source of Protein, Probiotics and More…

Tempeh is a tasty food, originally from Indonesia, that’s full of good protein and vitamin B12. It can be challenging for vegans to get enough B12. Beans and lentils are a healthy and environmentally friendly option, but they do not have the essential vitamin B12. Tempeh has the same protein quality as meat and can reduce cholesterol, is a powerful probiotic, helps with weight loss and more.

Tempeh and Tofu Looks Different

Tempeh and Tofu Even Looks Different

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is an Indonesian food made from soybeans that have been fermented. The taste and texture of tempeh is nothing like tofu; it has a nutty flavor on its own and easily absorbs flavors from sauces or marinades. Also unlike tofu, tempeh has a very firm texture and doesn’t crumble easily.

Tempeh is used worldwide to create healthy vegetarian meals. Its texture and the ease that it takes on many flavors make it a delicious substitute for meat products. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, which becomes more noticeable as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, even if you are not vegetarian it can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

It Is Made from Soybeans

Tempeh is made of soybeans, but that’s no reason to shy away.

The Japanese, who eat lots of soy in the form of tofu, have the second highest life expectancy in the world. Learn more about the soy story.

Studies that show health risks from soy are from eating highly processed soy, not a whole food form. Much of the soy consumed in the US is highly processed, has been cracked, dehulled, crushed and then a solvent extraction has taken place to separate the oil from the bean. So what you get after oil extraction is defatted soy flour which is processed into a protein concentrate or protein isolate. This isolate is often used in low-fat soymilk or the concentrate goes through more processing to create textured soy protein for useful things like soy burgers. Tempeh is not created like that at all; it is a whole food, not an isolate.


Making Tempeh from Soybeans

How is Tempeh Made?

Tempeh is made from cooked and fermented soybeans. Soybeans alone don’t have any noticeable amount of vitamin B12. The fermentation helps make the soy more easily digested and creates vitamin B12.

Similar to making sourdough bread, tempeh needs a starter to ferment the cooked soybeans. The mixture is left for a day or two and becomes cake-like. Often it is formed into a patty like a firm veggie burger. It is so different from making tofu as the beans are kept whole and pressed together, not ground up. When you look at tempeh, you can see the whole beans which are being held together by the probiotic mold that was used in the fermentation process. It can be made from other bean varieties.


Tempeh with Salad

Health Benefits of Tempeh

Reduces Cholesterol Levels

Tempeh made from soybeans contains isoflavones which have been associated with reducing cholesterol.

Eleven studies found that soy isoflavones significantly decreased both total cholesterol levels.

In a study with 42 participants who had a diet with either animal protein or soy protein for six weeks, those on a soy protein diet had a decreased LDL cholesterol by 5.7 percent, total cholesterol by 4.4 percent and decreased triglycerides by 13.3 percent.

Related Stories: How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Powerful Probiotic Food to Balance Candida in Gut

Fermented food has microflora in it that creates protection in the intestines and protects it against things like salmonella and E.coli.

Fermented foods help increase antibodies for a stronger immune system and help reduce sugar and refined carb cravings. Fermented foods are full of probiotics that help treat candida in the gut, promoting a healthy digestive system.

Soy-based tempeh is especially rich in probiotics and is more effective than tempeh made from other beans.

Possible Side Effects

Fermented foods can be a little challenging for those who never eat them; you may get a stomachache. Eat only a small amount at first.

If you have soy allergies or sensitivities, you should avoid tempeh. Soy is one of the eight foods that are major allergens requiring identification on food labels.

If you have an underactive thyroid you need to watch how much soy you consume as it can interfere with thyroid medication, but only in excess, according to Nutrients review. It is best to wait at least 4 hours after consuming soy to take thyroid medicine says the Mayo Clinic. Soy foods didn’t affect thyroid function in people with healthy thyroids, according to 14 studies.


Tempeh sliced and ready to be prepared

Tempeh is Full of Nutrients

  • It is highly nutritious because the whole soybean has been used and gone through the fermentation process. This makes it high in protein, probiotics, many vitamins including vitamin B12 and minerals. Also, it is low in carbs and sodium.
  • Tempeh is denser than other soy products because it has more protein.
  • 3 ounces of tofu contains 6 grams of protein which is about 40 percent of the protein in tempeh.
  • It is a good source of dairy-free calcium. One cup of tempeh contains about 2/3 of the calcium of one cup of whole milk. Learn all the detailed tempeh nutrients.

Helps with Weight Loss

One cup of tempeh will give you 31 grams of protein.

  • Research has shown that getting a good amount of protein into meals may stimulate an increase in metabolism which will help your body burn more calories.
  • A diet high in protein helps with increasing fullness and decreasing hunger.
  • Soy protein can be just as good as a meat protein for appetite control. In a study, 20 obese men went on a high-protein diet of either a meat-based or soy-based protein. After two weeks, both diets led to a decrease in hunger and weight loss. There was no difference between meat or soy protein.
  • Even high protein soy snacks improved feelings of fullness compared to high fat snacks in a study.

Helpful for Preventing Cancer

Soy isoflavone has a preventive effect on cancer. It was found to help decrease estrogen synthesis and modifying metabolism with 12 healthy premenopausal women. It had positive results compared with the control diet in a study published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

It was found that the isoflavones in tempeh have greater antioxidant activity than in just soybeans.

Preventive for Heart Disease

A study of 6,000 households in Japan found that consuming soy products had a decreased risk of death from heart disease and stomach cancer.


Tempeh Sauteed with Ginger and Garlic

Check out tempeh sautéed with ginger and garlic for a yummy dinner.

Also, on my website there are lots of Vegan Recipes.

Related at Care2


Sue M
Sue Magee9 days ago

I am not a big fan of tempeh but it all depends on how you use it in your cooking really - thanks for sharing

Lesa D
Lesa D11 days ago

thank you Diana...

Kevin B
Kevin B11 days ago

thanks for sharing

Barbara S
Barbara S14 days ago

Thank you

Melanie S

I like Tempeh in a stir fry with wild rice

Colin C
Colin C15 days ago

I like Tempeh

Leo C
Leo Custer16 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Lisa M
Lisa M16 days ago


Lisa M
Lisa M16 days ago


Sherry Kohn
Sherry K16 days ago

Many thanks to you !