Bacon being one of the great wonders of the world that it is, you may be wondering if tempeh bacon is for you. When most vegans reach for a protein substitute, the instinctive choice is tofu. But tempeh is getting more commonplace, and tempeh bacon recipes abound.
If you haven’t jumped on the tempeh bandwagon yet, tempeh is just another soy product. Fermented soybeans, to be exact. It’s made by partially cooking soybeans and then aging them in a warm incubator. This is where things get sort of gross: a type of fungus grows and binds the beans together, hence that type of bean mat consistency.
But don’t let that chase you away. What results is a nutrient-dense product with a nutty, mushroom-like sort of flavor. And there are tons of health benefits of tempeh bacon.
Eases pelvic pain
One of the more surprising health benefits of tempeh bacon is that it helps with pelvic health. Dietician Jennifer Cohen mentions on her site that to take care of pelvic pain, you should choose a diet that is high in anti-inflammatories, fiber and healthy fats. Guess what has all of those. That’s right, tempeh.
It’s also what’s considered a low-glycemic food. High-glycemic foods like sugar, cake and refined carbs like white bread are associated with inflammation. Those high-fiber and healthy-fats foods that include high-quality proteins, like tempeh, will help your blood sugar stabilize and lead to less inflammation.
Tempeh is packed full of nutrients
Tempeh is a super food, no doubt about it. World’s Healthiest Foods ranks some of its top nutrients in terms of daily value percentages. It’s packing:
- 73 percent manganese
- 68 percent copper
- 48 percent fiber
- 41 percent protein
- 41 percent phosphorus
- 31 percent vitamin B2
- 22 percent magnesium
So what better way to start the day then with some wholesome tempeh bacon?
Soy can prevent cancer
Soy’s gotten a bad rap in terms of cancer prevention. Lots of people are walking around thinking that soy causes breast cancer. It’s most likely due to a study on mice that found soy compounds can increase risks of cancer. Soy products contain isoflavones, which can mimic estrogen, and people believe that can cause all sorts of problems.
An American Cancer Society article addressed these concerns. Yes, compounds in soy are similar to estrogen. But the potency is very small.
The article goes to say, “Furthermore, while isoflavones may act like estrogen, they also have anti-estrogen properties. That is, they can block the more potent natural estrogens from binding to the estrogen receptor. In addition, they stop the formation of estrogens in fat tissue and stimulate production of a protein that binds estrogen in the blood (to make it less able to bind to the receptor). They also have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and work in other ways to reduce cancer growth.”
The article also addresses that women in Asian countries, where they eat far more soy then in the West, have lower risks of breast cancer. And another study showed that breast cancer survivors who consumed more soy had a lower chance of breast cancer recurrence. Though more studies need to be done, it appears soy can help reduce cancer risk.
Finally, using tempeh bacon to boost heart health
And the most celebrated health benefit of all, tempeh bacon allows you to have your bacon and eat it too as part of a heart healthy diet. It’s rich in good-for-you fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
And best of all, it doesn’t have those nasty cholesterol issues of regular bacon. Soy isoflavones have been shown to lower serum total and LDL cholesterol (or “bad cholesterol”). So not only are you cutting high-cholesterol foods by making tempeh bacon, but you’re introducing a food that help foster greater heart health.