Are you Team Tofu or Team Tempeh? Or maybe you’re Team Both or Team Undecided?Regardless of which team you’re in, it’s important to know what you’re consuming so why not learn more about the classic meat alternatives - especially if you’re living plan-based as you will learn which one is more suitable for your body over the other!
The SimilaritiesTofu and tempeh are both sources of plant-based protein. How? Both are soy-based products.
While some health benefits differ, both tofu and tempeh can reduce your risk of certain cancers while simultaneously improving the health of your heart. Both contain zero cholesterol and varying amounts of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
It’s important to note that tofu and tempeh are rich in phytoestrogens, commonly known as isoflavones. Why? Well, isoflavones are plant compounds which mimic estrogen, in terms of the chemical structure and effects. If you’re a male and unaware of what estrogen is, it’s a hormone promoting reproductive and sexual development.
With that in mind, consume both in moderation. In fact, consume any and every soy-based product in moderation, as advised by the American Cancer Society.
Team TofuOriginating from China, tofu is made from soy milk that has been thickened with a coagulant and water. It’s available in varying textures, such as firm, soft, and silken; not to mention, varying flavours.
How It Tastes: The taste of tofu is neutral, unless it’s pre-flavoured tofu. The reason for this is because tofu absorbs the flavours it’s cooked with and its consistency depends on how it’s cooked, too.
Why Tofu Over Tempeh: If processed with calcium sulfate, which it normally is, tofu can help boost your calcium levels. Tofu actually boasts double the amount of calcium found in tempeh - sometimes even more than double! If you’re low in iron instead of calcium, know that tofu also consists of considerable amounts of iron. In comparison to tempeh, tofu has fewer calories.
Team TempehOriginating from Indonesia, tempeh is made by fermenting soy then pressing that fermented soy into a firm block. Usually, protein is added into the production process, such as legumes, seeds, nuts, and even whole-grains. So if you’re celiac, always read the ingredients as some variations may contain gluten but normally, quinoa or brown rice is added.
How It Tastes: The taste of tempeh is earthy, similar to nuts, and sometimes the consistency can even be chewy.
Why Tempeh Over Tofu: As tempeh is fermented it has prebiotics. If you’re new to the term, all you need to know is that prebiotics promote a healthy digestive tract through the growth of healthy bacteria. If you’re looking to regulate your bowel movements then tempeh should be your go-to! As mentioned, tempeh is made with more than just soy milk so it’s significantly higher in protein and fiber.
As always, flavoured tofu or tempeh can entail unnecessarily high amounts of sugar, salt, preservatives, additives, and of course, flavourings. If you usually don’t read ingredients now would be the time to start as you want to avoid any nasty add-ons, especially during a time when a good immune system is all the rage.