Beef Jerky

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is Beef Jerky Good for You?

The Healthy Truth about Jerky
There is no doubt that jerky is one the world’s greatest snacks but now days people really want to know if beef jerky good for you or not?! Sure you can check out the nutrition panel on the back of packages but what if you are making it at home, do those same numbers account for your own jerky? There is a lot to the world of beef jerky and jerky all together because now more than ever we know there are a lot of alternatives to the snack that is centuries old.
The great thing about beef jerky is the compatibility of it. Since it is a cured meat it doesn’t need to be refrigerated so you can take it on long car rides, hikes, bike rides or any other outdoor or time consuming activity. The reason a lot of people are fighting to prove these beef sticks or chunks are nutritional is because of the essential nutrients that it does, undeniably offer your body. However, if you are purchasing packaged jerky always read the nutrition panel to be aware of what you are eating.
Calories in Beef Jerky and Alternatives
Not every commercial or homemade beef jerky product has the same amount of calorie intake. However, if you want to know if jerky can be good for you then the calories are important to know amount. Typically one piece of jerky (chunk not stick) will have an average of 80-90 calories. There are brands and flavors that will carry a higher calorie count due to extra ingredients. So are these options of beef jerky good for you? Anytime a product has a high calorie count it is great for energy but not great if you already have a high calorie diet. As long as you aren’t loading up on beef jerky on your sofa all day the calories shouldn’t be too hurtful on your typical diet and exercise regimen.
Beef Jerky’s Good Ingredients
There are thousands of people out there that suffer from iron deficiency anemia so their diets have to be high in iron. A great way to get that iron without sacrificing taste is by including beef jerky into your diet. Most packages are around 28 grams and have about 10 percent of your daily value of iron. Plus, what a lot of people do not know about beef jerky is that it is cured or in its “heme” form which means it is in the easiest form for digestion at that point. 
Another great ingredient that beef jerky has to offer you is B12. Internally, B12 helps keep your red blood cells healthy but it also just makes you feel better. B12 has been taken in homeopathic treatments for years for all sorts of ailments but most commonly to boost your immune system and energy levels. Any kind of positive nutrients like these that a delicious snack can supply the better because it kind of gives us an excuse to continue eating it.
Beef Jerky’s Sodium Suicide
If you are on any kind of diet where you are not to have sodium or have very little, store purchased beef jerky is not for you. However, before you get too upset there are some ways around it. On average, a regular sized package of beef jerky has 600-800 grams of sodium. Most healthy adults should not be taking in more than 2,200-2,600 grams of sodium per day so you are wasting a huge chuck on just one small portion of jerky. The great thing about this is you do have an alternative. There are tons of people that make their own jerky from home to help regulate the ingredient levels and also just to add more home-fed flavors. When you are in control of the jerky you not only control the texture, taste and size but also how healthy it is for you. If you have never made jerky yourself don’t worry because there are dozens and dozens of step by step recipes online to help guide you. You can even find some easy recipes here to help get you started.
More Reasons to Love Beef Jerky
As if classifying beef jerky as a healthy snack wasn’t enough motivation to love these meat sticks and chunks, here are a few more reasons to not feel guilty indulging. Jerky is a great protein for your body and unlike other meat snacks it doesn’t raise the levels of insulin in your body. Those levels determine what gets stored in your fat so this is a better alternative to say potato chips. If you are currently dieting or trying to lose weight of any kind, beef jerky makes a great snack to have in between meals. There are also even more chemical free jerky products in local stores now days too so they will be lower in sodium and other nitrates. Most importantly, they are lower or rid of MSG which may help things taste better but does a wonder on your digestive system.
Now that you know the truth and say yes when someone “Is beef jerky good for you?” you can snack happily and guilt free every time you pick  up a stick or package from your gas station or grocery store. Wherever you snack, know that beef jerky has been around for centuries and centuries so you can appreciate the value of it.

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