Tempeh can be an excellent addition to your diet if you’re part of a gluten-free diet. However, if you’re not familiar with this soy product, you may have questions about it – is tempeh gluten free? We’ve got your answers right here!

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that originated in Indonesia, where it was developed as a way to preserve soybeans. Now it’s eaten throughout the world as part of many different cuisines and diets, including veganism and vegetarianism, as well as gluten-free diets and Paleo diets.

It is made by culturing soybeans with a rhizopus mold, which binds the beans together into a cake-like form. Tempeh has a firm texture and nutty flavor and can be used in place of meat in many recipes. Because tempeh is fermented, it is often thought to be easier to digest than other soy products. Tempeh has a lot of health benefits and is an easy meat substitute to add to your diet.

See Is Baking Powder Gluten Free?, and Is Mirin Gluten-Free?

tempeh on white background

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley that can cause serious health issues, including inflammation, especially when consumed by people with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy. Many foods contain trace amounts of gluten, but it’s most commonly found in bread, pasta, and baked goods.

So Is Tempeh Gluten Free?

Absolutely! Tempeh is made from soy, and soy doesn’t contain gluten. However, some soy products are commonly processed together with wheat products. So there can always be an element of contamination.

It’s always important to purchase your tempeh from a reputed brand and always go for those with gluten-free labels.

Why Does It Matter If It’s Gluten-Free?

For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s important to know which foods are safe to eat and which ones to avoid. That’s why we’re setting the record straight on whether tempeh is gluten free or not.

Besides, many people do not react negatively to gluten immediately after eating it, and they aren’t aware of its negative effects, but later on in life they can start experiencing the symptoms.

If you’re trying to eat and live healthily, gluten should definitely not be on your plate for the following reasons:

Digestive Issues

Gluten can cause serious digestive issues for some people. If you have celiac disease, gluten can damage your small intestine and prevent your body from absorbing nutrients. This is because your body can’t tolerate gluten, and when you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system responds by damaging the lining of your small intestine. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity can also cause digestive issues, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Even if you don’t have gluten intolerance, eating too much gluten can lead to gastrointestinal distress.

Heart Disease

  • Gluten has been linked to heart disease for a number of reasons:
  • It can cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • Gluten can damage the lining of the intestines, making it difficult for the body to absorb essential heart-healthy nutrients.
  • Gluten can trigger an immune response that can damage heart tissue.
  • People with celiac disease are at increased risk for heart disease due to malnutrition.

Fatigue And Brain Fog

Gluten can cause fatigue and brain fog for a few reasons.

  • When you eat gluten, your body produces inflammation, which can lead to feelings of tiredness and sluggishness.
  • Gluten can damage the lining of your gut, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
  • It can interfere with blood sugar levels, causing you to feel tired after eating.
  • Gluten can cause the leaky gut syndrome, which allows toxins and bacteria to enter your bloodstream and contribute to fatigue.

Bone Weakness

Gluten can cause bone weakness and fragility. This is because gluten is an antinutrient. When your body can’t properly absorb nutrients, it causes a deficiency in calcium and other minerals that are essential for strong bones. This can lead to an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Autoimmune Disorders

Eating gluten can cause a host of autoimmune disorders, including celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These disorders can be extremely debilitating, and in some cases life-threatening. If you have any suspicion that you may be sensitive to gluten, it’s important to get tested by a doctor and remove it from your diet. If you’re not sure if there are signs of sensitivity to gluten in your body, visit a gastroenterologist who will run tests and recommend treatment plans based on the results.

Increases Cancer Risk

Gluten causes inflammation that can damage the gut lining, leading to Celiac disease in some sensitive individuals. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can damage the lining of the small intestine and prevent the absorption of nutrients from food. People with celiac disease who eat gluten-containing foods may be at risk for certain types of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel adenocarcinoma. A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease.

Skin Problems

Gluten can cause a number of skin problems, including dermatitis herpetiformis (also known as the gluten rash or celiac rash), which is an itchy and blistering rash. Gluten can also trigger eczema and psoriasis flare-ups, and may even lead to hives. If you have any sort of skin condition, it’s best to avoid gluten.

Health Benefits Of Tempeh

Now that you know tempeh is gluten free and how to ensure yours is not contaminated with gluten, what are some of the benefits you should expect?

1. Good For Your Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, so it’s important to do everything you can to keep your heart healthy. Luckily, tempeh is here to help! This fermented soybean product has been shown to lower cholesterol and improve heart health in a variety of ways.

Studies have found that this type of soy decreases bad LDL cholesterol levels and increases good HDL cholesterol levels, which helps prevent plaque buildup on artery walls. In fact, one study found that people who eat more than two servings per week are 20% less likely to have clogged arteries than those who don’t eat tempeh at all.

Other research suggests that soy may reduce blood pressure too. If you’re looking for a way to protect your heart, try adding some tempeh to your diet!

2. Prevents Cancer

One of the major benefits of tempeh is that it has been shown to prevent cancer. This is due to the fact that tempeh contains compounds like isoflavones and saponins, which have anti-cancer properties. Additionally, tempeh is a good source of fiber, which has been shown to fight certain types of cancer like colon cancer.

3. A Good Protein Source

Tempeh is a great source of protein, providing 18 grams in just one cup. This makes it perfect for vegetarians and vegans who may struggle to get enough protein from other sources.

Protein is essential for many bodily functions, including muscle growth and repair, so getting enough is important for active people. Tempeh is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to function properly.

4. Fights Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a host of health problems. Thankfully, tempeh is natural anti-inflammatory food.

Eating regularly has been shown to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown in studies to reduce pro-inflammatory factors like C-reactive protein  (CRP). According to studies, tempeh may reduce inflammation by about 73 percent.

5. Promotes Weight Loss

If you’re looking to cut down on calories and boost your protein intake, tempeh is a great option. This fermented soy product is low in calories and fat but high in protein, making it a filling and satisfying food. Additionally, the fermentation process increases the absorption of minerals and vitamins, making tempeh a nutrient-rich food.

Studies have shown that tempeh can help with weight loss efforts by reducing appetite and increasing fullness. Tempeh has also been found to be more satiating than meat or eggs, which are usually included in a vegetarian diet. One study showed that when consumed at breakfast, an omelet made from eggs was less satiating than an omelet made from tofu or tempeh.

6. Restores Balance In The Digestive System

Tempeh is a great option if you’re looking to cut down on calories and boost your protein intake. This fermented soy product is low in calories and fat but high in protein, making it a filling and satisfying food. Additionally, the fermentation process increases the absorption of minerals and vitamins, making tempeh a nutrient-rich food.

Studies have shown that tempeh can help with weight loss efforts by reducing appetite and increasing fullness. Tempeh has also been found to be more satiating than meat or eggs, which are usually included in a vegetarian diet. One study showed that when consumed at breakfast, an omelet made from eggs was less satiating than an omelet made from tofu or tempeh.

7. Boosts Brain Health

Did you know that tempeh can help boost your brain health? This fermented soybean product is an excellent source of several essential nutrients for cognitive function, including B vitamins, iron, and magnesium.

Tempeh is also high in tyrosine, which boosts dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses and plays a role in motivation, learning, and attention.

Researchers believe that dopamine deficiency may be involved in some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and ADHD. Also, low levels of dopamine have also been linked to Parkinson’s disease. So consuming tempeh regularly can help boost your dopamine levels.

Tempeh also contains a good amount of folate, which promotes healthy brain function by helping form new neural pathways.

8. Promotes Bone Health

Tempeh contains high levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for strong bones. Additionally, tempeh is a good source of vitamin K2, which has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis. So if you’re looking to keep your bones healthy, add some tempeh to your diet!

9. Relieves Hot Flashes

As you approach menopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen. This drop in estrogen levels can cause hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes are a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. They’re caused by changes in your hormone levels, specifically a decrease in estrogen.

Hot flashes typically last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. They can occur several times a day or just a few times a week. If the discomfort interferes with your daily life, there are many natural remedies for hot flashes. Eat soy products like tempeh or tofu, which contain phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens). Reduce stress as stress is known to trigger hot flashes. Drink plenty of water as dehydration may contribute to the occurrence of a hot flash.

You can also drink chamomile tea before bedtime as it has been shown to have some effectiveness in reducing menopausal symptoms, including night sweats and difficulty sleeping.

Tasty Ways to Add Tempeh to Your Diet

Crispy Baked Tempeh

This easy recipe for crispy baked tempeh is a delicious way to add tempeh to your diet. The tempeh is marinated in a simple tamari and maple syrup mixture, then baked until crisp. Serve it as is, or add it to your favorite salad or grain bowl.

Veggie burgers

Preheat your grill, or heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Mix together ground tempeh, diced onion, bread crumbs, and your favorite seasonings. Form the mixture into patties and grill or cook for about 10 minutes per side, until browned and slightly firm to the touch. Serve on hamburger buns with all your favorite toppings.

Add It To Stir Fries

Stir-fries are a great way to cook tempeh because they’re quick, easy, and you can pack a lot of flavor into them. Plus, you can customize them however you like. To make a tempeh stir-fry, simply:

  • Preheat the pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add some oil and any veggies you like.
  • Cut the tempeh into small pieces and add it to the pan.
  • Saute for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.
  • Add your favorite sauce or seasoning and let simmer for another minute or two.
  • Serve over rice, quinoa, noodles, or baked potatoes
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired for an extra pop of flavor!
Marinate it overnight in ginger, garlic, and maple syrup, then bake in the oven

Marinating it overnight in ginger, garlic, and maple syrup gives it a delicious flavor that pairs well with just about anything. You can bake it in the oven, fry it up in a pan, or even grill it outdoors.

Puree It In A Blender

Tempeh has a very distinct flavor that some people love and others find off-putting. If you’re in the latter camp, don’t write tempeh off just yet! One way to make tempeh more palatable is to puree it in a blender. This will help mellow out the flavor and make it more versatile.

Slice mushrooms and onions, then sauté them in a skillet until browned. Add the blended tempeh and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until everything is nicely browned. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, herbs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened into gravy.

Final Thoughts

Tempeh is not only gluten free but highly nutritious,  delicious, and versatile, making it easy to prepare and serve at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snacks. It’s also a good source of plant-based protein and can help you achieve your weight loss goals while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

And to ensure But to ensure your tempeh is free of any trace of gluten, always go for trusted brands with an official gluten-free label.

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