Beef jerky is a good-to-go snack. In between meals, you can grab some sticks to fill your tummy with some protein. But is beef jerky a health snack you could probably include in your daily regimen? Is beef jerky good for you?
Beef jerky is lean beef that is trimmed of its fat, cut into flat strips, added with salt and other spices, and then dried under low temperature. While it is a good source of protein, it is also considered to be high in sodium and fat.
So is beef jerky healthy or not? Here are the nutrition contents of beef jerky that will help you see if they could be a healthy part of your snack routine.
Beef jerky is high in protein. A 20-gram serving contains 7 grams of protein, which provides about 15 percent of the daily protein requirement for adult females and about 12.5 percent for adult males.
Protein has many functions in our body, including structural support and muscle building, as well as defense against germs.
Salt is used in beef jerky, not only to enhance its flavor, but also to preserve the meat for months. 20 grams of beef jerky, which is quite small for a snack, already provides 443 milligrams of sodium or 18 percent of the required daily sodium intake.
If you consume too much sodium, you will increase your risk for certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease.
Consuming 20 grams of beef jerky gives you 11 percent of zinc, which is important in boosting the immune system. Zinc is also studied to help prevent menstrual cramps and pregnancy complications among women, including low birth weight and premature birth.
Phosphorus is also present in beef jerky, which aids calcium in building strong bones and teeth. It is also known to promote healthy digestion and help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
Beef jerky provides 6 percent of daily iron requirement per 20-gram serving. Iron plays very important roles in carrying oxygen throughout the body, boosting the immune system, promoting proper brain function, strengthening the muscles, and preventing diseases, such as anemia, fatigue, and insomnia.
Beef jerky is considered as a low-carb snack food with a carbohydrate content of less than 5 grams per ounce (approximately 28 grams) of serving.
Not all fats are bad fats, but the fats found in a beef jerky are mostly saturated fat. A 20-gram beef jerky contains 2 grams of saturated fats. When consumed in large amounts, these fats can increase your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Beef jerky also contains 10 milligrams of cholesterol per 20-gram serving. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, you should consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. If you already have high cholesterol levels or have heart risk factors, you should consume less than 200 milligrams per day.
Looking at the nutrient contents of beef jerky, it is still considered as a healthy snack as long as you limit your intake.
Since there are many varieties of beef jerky out there, it is important to choose those with less or no preservatives at all. Don’t forget to read the labels. Take a closer look at the sodium, fat, and cholesterol contents to make sure you are choosing the healthier kind of beef jerky that you can include in your healthy diet.