FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Why should I choose tempeh over other kinds of
Henry’s Tempeh has several distinctive advantages or benefits
over other kinds of soyfoods.
- Protein: Tempeh has twice (or more) the protein of tofu.
- Fibre: Tempeh is high in soluble or dietary fibre. Tofu has
- Cultured: Tempeh is a cultured food, tofu is not. The
culture is significant in that it “predigests” as much as half
the soybean’s protein, converting it to amino acids during the
culturing process, therefore making digestibility easier.
- Fermented: Tempeh is a fermented food, tofu is not.
Fermentation is significant in that it neutralizes the phytate acid
present in soybeans. This acid limits the body’s absorption of
minerals; neutralizing this acid means that by eating tempeh one
does not limit the absorption of essential minerals.
How much tempeh should I eat daily?
There's is no minimum or maximum amount. We only
advise that tempeh is part of a well balanced diet. The FDA (USA Food
and Drug Administration) recommends consuming daily about 25 g of soy
proteins. This corresponds to 125 g tempeh.
How can I eat the tempeh?
Normally, tempeh is eaten cooked. Tempeh can be
marinated, grilled, grated, stir-fried, pan-fried, toasted, baked or
How do I know that my tempeh is good?
The soybeans should be bound together into a tight
cake with no mould growing other than the white tempeh culture. Small
black spots may occasionally appear. These spots do not necessarily
indicate spoilage, but are part of the tempeh culture's life cycle.
The texture should not be slimy and the aroma should
be mushroom-like (or yeast-like). A very slight smell of ammonia is
How do I store tempeh?
Fresh tempeh, in the unopened vacuum sealed pouch,
can be kept in the refrigerator (2 - 4°C) until the best-before date
stamped on the package. Once the package has been opened the tempeh will
generally keep well for several days, provided it is stored in a sealed
container and in the refrigerator. Frozen tempeh keeps well for several
months. It thaws in the fridge overnight and at room temperature in 3
hours. Once thawed, it can remain in the fridge for 5 days and once
cooked it can be frozen again.
Moulds can produce toxins! How safe is tempeh?
The mould (Rhizopus Oligosporus) used in the
production of tempeh is edible and doesn't produce any known toxins.
There is no record of illness resulting from the consumption of tempeh.
Where is the expiration date on the Tempeh package
and what does it mean?
The expiration date is printed in blue ink on the
front of the Tempeh package. It looks like this: Sep 09. This indicates
the month and the day. We guarantee the quality and freshness of our
Tempeh for five to seven days when opened on or before the date stamped
on the package. Tempeh must be kept refrigerated in a closed container
or bag after opening. Always provide the expiration date in any
correspondence with us.
What is the significance of the fermentation that is
part of making tempeh?
Fermentation is very significant. The fermentation
process breaks down the complex proteins found in soybeans, and
therefore tempeh is more easily digested than are whole soybeans and
non-fermented soy foods. The fermented soyfoods are tempeh, natto, and
miso; the “real” soy sauces are also fermented products but the soy
sauces most commonly used in Canada are not fermented.
Can you tell me more about the mould used in making
The mould used in making tempeh is rhizopus
oligosporus. This is a type of filamentous form fungi, it is not a
bacterial form. This mould is a beneficial fungus; it is very similar to
the ones used in making cheeses that have a white film or coating (e.g.
The mould plays a critical role in “predigesting”
a large portion of the soybeans’ protein, converting the protein into
amino acids which makes for easy digestibility of tempeh.
Another very significant role of the mould is in
producing an enzyme phytase which break down phytates present in the
soybeans, thereby increasing the absorption of minerals such as zinc,
iron and calcium.
Rhizopus moulds also produce natural, heat-stable
antibiotic agents against some disease-causing organisms. Indonesians
who eat tempeh as a regular part of their diet recognize it as a
medicine for dysentery and rarely fall victim to the intestinal diseases
to which they are constantly exposed.
What about soy's estrogen-like qualities and women's
health? breast cancer?
One day you read that there is a positive relationship between the use of soy products and prevention of breast cancer....a week later, you read the opposite.
Studies on soy's estrogen-like compounds, its phytoestrogens, may not yet definitively have established their effect on the risk of breast cancer but the picture that is emerging is one supportive of soy being effective in combating breast cancer.
Plant foods, like humans, have hormones. The technical name for these hormones is phytoestrogens (the prefix "phyto" is from the Greek word for "plant"). Phytoestrogens are structurally similar to but a weaker form of human estrogen. Soy foods are rich in a particular type of phytoestrogen, called isoflavones. The most powerful isoflavone in soy, genistein, has been shown to inhibit breast cancer cells in the laboratory. However scientists do not know if it is possible to eat enough genistein to reach the high levels that prevented breast cancer cell growth in the lab.
How may the isoflavones found in soy reduce the risk of breast cancer? The effect of isoflavones is tissue specific, meaning they work differently in different areas of the human body, and also depends on other factors such as estrogen receptor numbers and the competing human estrogen levels in the body. Researchers believe phytoestrogens may help protect against breast cancer because phytoestrogens compete with estrogen in the body to bind to estrogen receptor sites in breast tissue and block the more powerful human estrogen from attaching. But because phytoestrogens are weaker than natural estrogen, they only displace it and do not exert an estrogenic effect. Since estrogen triggers breast cell reproduction, some researchers believe that a higher amount of estrogen in the body may
encourage the growth of cancerous breast tumours. It is believed that by displacing natural estrogen, i.e. by blocking the body's natural estrogen from reaching estrogen receptors, phytoestrogenic isoflavones reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Other research suggests that eating soy products may decrease the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women due to the effect of dietary isoflavones on menstrual cycle length, which is one of the risk factors for breast cancer. There is a theory, but no clinical proof, that Asian women have a lower risk for breast cancer because of longer menstrual cycles and lower estrogen concentrations in their bodies. A recent study confirmed that a diet rich in plant estrogens might offer protective benefits. Studies in animals suggest that isoflavones are natural anticancer agents that are involved in regulating cell growth as well as cell death.
Researchers are less certain about the effects of soy in post-menopausal women as isoflavones are believed to work differently in premenopausal women than they do postmenopausal women. There is little proof that soy intake decreases the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Some small studies have shown that soy may provide post-menopausal women with many of the same benefits as hormone replacement therapy. Soy may reduce hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other menopausal symptoms. Soy may also protect against bone loss (osteoporosis) and heart disease and possibly reduce the risk of diabetes and kidney disease.
Tempeh is a fermented soy food with a decided advantage over unfermented ones such as tofu. During fermentation, the natural microbes that act as fermenting agents cleave genistin's sugar molecule, converting it to the better-absorbed genistein. Once genistein is absorbed by the body, it functions as a phytoestrogen.
Women who have been diagnosed with estrogen receptor (+) breast cancer should be cautious with their soy intake. Because the plant estrogens in soybeans may act like estrogen in the body, eating large amounts of soy products could be harmful for women with this specific type of breast cancer. Women taking Tamoxifen should also talk to their physician regarding soy intake. This is because Tamoxifen functions by attaching to estrogen receptor sites. Thus to get the most benefit from Tamoxifen it is recommended that the intake of weak plant estrogens be restricted. On the other hand, for a woman who is not on Tamoxifen or who doesn't have a history of estrogen positive breast cancer, the weak plant estrogens may protect against breast cancer.
What about soy and men's health?
Scientific and medical studies have confirmed soy's role in promoting good health. Soy helps fight disease on several
fronts, lowering cholesterol levels and reducing risk of prostate
cancer, colon cancer, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and kidney
disease. By adding soy to their diet, men can reduce their risk of
incurring these illnesses.
Soyfoods have been proven effective in preventing the buildup of arterial plaque,
reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension.
Soy isoflavones have antioxidant properties which protect the
cardiovascular system from oxidation of LDL
(the bad) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol accumulates in the
arteries as patches of fatty buildup, blocking the flow of blood and
resulting in atherosclerosis.
Genistein, one of soy's isoflavones, inhibits the growth of cells that
form this artery clogging plaque. Arteries damaged by atherosclerosis
usually form blood clots. This can lead to a heart attack if the clot
goes to the heart, or a stroke if it goes to the brain.
Genistein, an isoflavone in soy foods, is believed to be effective in preventing prostate cancer by hindering cell
growth, blocking some of the effects of testosterone, which can hasten
the progression of prostate cancer. In cell
cultures, genistein appears to be cytotoxic and inhibitory of prostate
cancer cell proliferation, that it that inhibits proliferation and
expression of the invasive capacity of prostatic cancer cells with
different invasive potentials.
Study results show that
genistein slows prostate cancer growth and cause prostate cancer cells
to die. It appears to act against cancer cells in a way similar to many common
cancer-treating drugs. Research suggests soy's phytochemicals protect
against cancer via several different mechanisms, including interacting
with intracellular enzymes, regulating protein synthesis, controlling
growth factor actions, inhibiting malignant cell proliferation, inducing
differentiation, deterring cancer cell adhesion, and inhibiting
The chief dietary enemy of the prostate is saturated fat. Researchers
believe saturated fat helps "wake up" sleeping cancer cells. Men
who eat foods high in saturated fat (such as red meat, mayonnaise, and
butter) are three times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer
than men who avoid such fatty fare. Studies suggests that
switching to a low-fat diet may cut the rate of growth of prostate
cancer cells in half.
While lowering intake of saturated fat is one of the single best
recommendations to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and cutting
down on animal and dairy products, sweets, cheese, and fried foods is a
great start, it isn't the whole story. What you eat instead is just as
important. Eating tempeh, a natural sources of isoflavones, can protect
and enhance your overall health. Isoflavones work together with soy
protein in fighting disease. Studies show that isoflavones account for
approximately three-fourths of soy's protection, while its protein is
responsible for about one-fourth.
The best way to consume isoflavones is
in food form, so that you can benefit from all of soy's nutrients and
beneficial compounds. The highest amounts of isoflavones and soy protein
are found in tempeh. Researchers recommend consuming at least one to two
servings a day. A serving is equal to 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of tempeh,
1 ounce of soy nuts; or edamame; or 8 ounces of soymilk. Since prostate cancer cells usually multiply slowly, the development of
prostate cancer can take many years before symptoms appear. During this
time period, the benefits of natural therapies like soy consumption are
more effective at dealing with the problem while it is still small.
Tempeh is by far the most nutritious and easiest to prepare and digest
soyfood. It contains the highest amount of soy protein, isoflavones and fiber per serving.
Many prostate experts are underscoring the link between what a man puts
in his mouth and what happens to his prostate.
All information in this website has been researched and compiled from
sources that are considered reliable and accurate. The compiler of
the material contained in this website has no training in medicine or
science. Readers are advised to consult with their physicians when making
decisions in respect of their diet and health.