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Is Beef Jerky A Healthy Snack?

Are you someone that is looking to knock off a few pounds? Have you been looking around for snacks that are filling and still very healthy? If you are someone that can sacrifice quantity but not taste, beef jerky may be the thing for you.

What is beef jerky and is it healthy?

A beef jerky uses lean cuts of beef marinated in different spices, additives, and sauces. Once the meat is marinated, it is cured, smoked, and dried before it is packaged.

Beef jerky is packaged as a snack in most countries, and that is why the health-conscious consumers are always left wondering if it is a healthy snack. It is made from beef and therefore it is naturally healthy.

To understand whether beef jerky is healthy, let us begin by noting the features of a healthy snack:

Weight Watchers

If you are watching your weight, you must gorge on a lot of high protein and low carbohydrates. Protein will help you lose all the fat and also help you build more lean muscles so that you can achieve your weight loss results in minimum time. Beef jerky is predominantly beef and, therefore, very rich in protein.

Additionally, more protein in the diet suppresses insulin production, which is a hormone that allows the body to store excess fat. It is because of this that beef jerky is a great snacking idea between two meals. It is also suitable for a lot of low carbohydrates and paleo diets.

Nutrition galore

Very few snacks can boast of having so much nutrition as beef jerky. Consider that only one ounce of beef jerky can give you about 9.4 grams of proteins, which means over 25% of nutrition is in the form of proteins!

The same ounce of jerky gives you about 120 calories apart from proteins, fats, carbohydrate, fiber, Phosphorous, Folate, Iron, Copper, Choline, potassium, and thiamine, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, manganese, molybdenum, pantothenic acid along with Vitamin B12.

As if that is not enough, there are also trace minerals such as zinc and iron that are crucial for improving the immune system and increasing stamina.

Salt content

Beef jerky is, in other words, called ‘salted and cured’ meat. Therefore, salt is significantly used initially in marinating the cut and then some more when it is added to remove any leftover water in it.

A store-bought beef jerky that is packed is possibly very high in salts, MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), and sodium nitrate. But beef jerky can be made at home where you can control the amount of salt that you add if that is your concern. People with high blood pressure should stay away from high sodium snacks.

There are a lot of companies that produce beef jerky from only natural ingredients and reduced sodium. If you want to cut out the sodium, do remember to check the labels for jerky that has no preservatives and is made from grass-fed lean beef. Grass-fed beef contains the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids that you can derive from fish.

Longer shelf life

Beef jerky can be stored for months together simply because it is dehydrated meat. There is absolutely no water in it to spoil. This is another reason why it ranks very high on people’s list of healthy snacking ideas. It is also portable, easy to make, and carry for times when you need to stock up on proteins like an adventure camp or a backpacking trip.

You can make beef jerky at home if you do not like to pick up processed meat from the stores.

Here is how to make beef jerky at home

  • Use lean cut of beef such as the sirloin or the flank steak.
  • Slice the meat into thinnest that you can manage
  • Marinate the meat in spices and sauces of your choice
  • Once that is done, remove the strips into another container, making sure that you remove any extra marinade.
  • Place the strips in a meat dehydrator for 5 to 6 hours at a temperature of 150 to 170 F
  • You could use a cooking oven too in case you don’t have a dehydrator. Maintain same temperature and timing as a dehydrator
  • Let the jerky sit at room temperature for a day or two to dehydrate completely
  • Package and freeze
  • Relish your healthy, home-cooked jerky whenever you wish to.

Conclusion

Beef jerky made at home is not just deliciously healthy, but you are also assured that it is clean and the sodium content is completely controlled.

References

  1. gorge on a lot of high protein: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-protein-can-help-you-lose-weight
  2. MSG: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate

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