A Protein and Vitamin Source
Super thin cut and dried to perfection, jerky is a high-energy snack. When consumers are surveyed about why they are eating jerky, the most common answer is: “protein”. Jerky is recommended as a pre-workout food because it is easily digestible and provides a blend of protein, little to no fat, and low glycemic carbohydrates. Jerky is the ultimate all protein power snack because most types of jerky contain a large dose of protein, ranging somewhere between 9 and 20 grams per one-ounce serving. Jerky provides your body with necessary vitamins and minerals. These chewy snacks can be high in fat and sodium, depending on the type of jerky and flavor, but the protein content outweighs those aspects and you can certainly find many options that deliver low fat and sodium as well.
Health Aspects of Jerky
Chewy meat snacks like beef, turkey, and buffalo jerky, supply iron and zinc, two vital minerals for the human immune system. Iron encourages the creation of red blood cells, and zinc in jerky helps your body heal from damage and wounds. A serving of beef jerky can contain more than 1.5 milligrams of iron and 2.3 milligrams of zinc. The protein found in jerky helps maintain and promote new muscle growth, but also is a fulfilling food. When you eat foods that are high in protein, you feel full for a long time, which helps suppress the impulse to overeat at your next meal. With jerky, you are not only providing your body with the nutrients that it needs, but you are also preventing weight gain by staving off impulsive eating.
This ultimate protein snack is filled with all the right things, but there is one word of caution. The only nutritional disadvantage to jerky is the sodium content, which is a necessary addition for preserving the meat so that the snacks are so portable and flavorful. Nutritional guidelines state that most adults should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams each day. A serving of jerky may contain between 300 and 600 milligrams of sodium. Different varieties of jerky can be found that contain lower levels of sodium.
Jerky is a lean snack that is also a good choice for energy replenishment after exercise. Jerky is portable, so it is easy to carry with you wherever you may travel. Whether you are on a road trip, camping, going to a sporting event with the kids, working in the yard, spending hours on the tractor, or hiking, protein-packed jerky is an easy to carry staple. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends beef jerky as an ideal hiking food. These are lightweight, easy to carry on your hike, and offers a fast way to refuel. Maintaining or building lean muscle mass is dependent upon taking in plenty of protein. Certain jerky meats are complete proteins, meaning they comprise amino acids that your body does not make. The amount of protein found in jerky is a sufficient amount to help your muscles recover after a workout. Jerky is more fulfilling than protein powders, which means you will stay full until your next meal.
Finally, jerky provides a savory source of protein that is a convenient and healthful snack option for people of all ages. Easy to find at your local supermarket, drugstore, convenience store, or online, grab a portable package of protein for your next snack.