6 Things You Need to Know About tofu and Tempeh
Check out these six things you need to know about these protein alternatives.
Thought you knew everything there is to know about soy foods, specifically tofu and tempeh? Here are six things about tofu and it’s fermented counterpart tempeh that you should know before you shop.
Tempeh is a traditional fermented soy product originating in Indonesia that has been eaten for hundreds of years. The fermentation process gives it a higher content of protein, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants than non-fermented soy products and on top of that the nutrients are more easily digested.
The texture is similar to a very firm veggie burger. Many commercially prepared brands add other grains, such as barley, or rice as well as spices and extra flavors. Depending on the grain added, tempeh can be gluten free. Tempeh is commonly marinated and grilled and added to soups, casseroles, or chili.
Tempeh is high is protein as well as calcium and iron, fiber, B vitamins and magnesium. Other health benefits are derived from the peptides (smaller breakdown parts of proteins) in tempeh that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and blood pressure-lowering properties. For example, some of the peptides found in tempeh inhibit angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) and are therefore classified as "ACE inhibitors." When this enzyme is inhibited, it is often easier for the cardiovascular system to regulate blood pressure. In addition antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties found in fermented soy foods can help protect the blood vessels from oxidative and inflammatory damage.
Next up, tofu: Tofu is a soybean curd product made from soymilk that has been curdled and pressed into thick rectangles. It is an excellent low-fat non-animal protein source. Tofu is relatively tasteless and easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients with which it is cooked, making it a versatile addition to many dishes.
Tofu comes in various densities from extra firm to silky or dried and therefore has many food and beverage applications. Firm tofu is dense and can be cubed and served in soups, stir fried, or grilled; it’s higher in protein, fat and calcium than other forms of tofu. Soft tofu is good for recipes that call for blended tofu. Silken tofu is a creamy product and can be used as a replacement for sour cream, ricotta cheese and more in dip recipes.
Tofu is rich in high-quality protein, calcium for bone health, selenium a powerful antioxidant, the anti-inflammatory omega-3s, iron to combat anemia, magnesium for relaxation, zinc for immunity and growth, and B-vitamins to boost energy and nourish the nervous system.