Is beef jerky healthy?

Throughout many generations, beef jerky has been a popular snack that everyone from travelers to athletes enjoy. In fact, there are many nutritional benefits of beef jerky as a snack. That is why many athletes have this dried beef snack before and after their workout and sporting competitions. Beef jerky is filled with the nutrients they need to fuel their body to achieve peak performances out on the field, on the courts or on the track.

Follow the lead of many top athletes and take advantage of the health benefits a strip of beef jerky meat has to offer. Include this healthy, dried beef snack in with your daily eating routine. You never know what might happen. You might just up your performance levels in what you do on a day-to-day basis.  

What is beef jerky?

Beef jerky is a dried serving of beef. To make jerky, producers cut lean pieces of meat into thin strips and the fat is cut away. Those strips are then dried to help prevent it from spoiling. Many times, salt is added to help prevent bacteria from growing, but with new methods and techniques, jerky producers are now able to offer low sodium options.

Most of the producers of jerky make it from beef. However, jerky can be made from a variety of other meat sources. Some of the other sources include chicken, turkey and pork. There are even some jerky that is made completely vegan. All offer essential nutrients and protein the body needs.

Is beef jerky healthy?

Beef jerky can have many nutritional benefits, especially if you opt for a low sodium option of beef jerky. Not only will you benefit from the nutritional value of the beef, this snack is a high-energy option that offers the body fuel before an intense workout. For this reason, many athletes and bodybuilders have turned to beef jerky as their snack of choice before and after an intense workout.

Read the label

Many types of beef jerky offer so many different types of vitamins, proteins, healthy fats and other nutrients the body needs and often craves. To ensure you are getting the best jerky for your health needs, take some time to read the label. You will find everything you need right there and in the end, you will know you are purchasing the right jerky for your body’s needs.

According to NPR, cheap beef jerky brands may contain MSG and liquid smoke. These additives are not always desired by many who enjoy jerky for the health benefits. If you are looking for a healthy jerky option, select brands that do not add these ingredients to their jerky products.

Beef jerky nutrition

According to the San Francisco Gate, beef jerky is among the foods high in protein and low in fat. The nutritional values of jerky outweigh many snacks available. Quality jerky will give the body a healthy dose of iron and zinc from the meat used to make jerky. 

According to Conde Nast, an average portion of beef jerky that is approximately 20 grams, offers six percent of the recommended amount of daily iron intake. Jerky also offers 7 grams of protein in each serving. This is just an average of what most jerky options offer and it may vary upon brand, flavor and type of meat used to make it.

Better protein

According to Women’s Health, many of the higher quality jerky, especially grain fed beef jerky, offers the body better protein value than many protein bars can. The quality and nutritional value has gone up in beef jerky, which means many are starting to see the benefits this product can offer. In fact, many are using beef jerky for bodybuilding nutritional boosts and pre-workout snacks.

In addition to body builders, athletes are turning to the positive health benefits jerky has to offer. The main reason is for the protein. Protein helps fuel the body before a vigorous workout and helps replenish missing nutrients that are needed to help the body recover as a harsh workout.

Healthy options

Though there are many brands of beef jerky that offer a healthy jerky option. According to, there are companies offering jerky that is all natural without any added nitrates, preservatives and harmful chemicals. Plus, jerky has extended far beyond being made out of traditional beef products. Thus offering some healthier options, especially for those who do not eat meat. Other jerky options include chicken, turkey and even a vegetarian option.

Types of jerky

With a little bit of experimenting, companies that produce beef jerky have been able to come up with some new types and flavors of jerky. There are many new brands available, providing an option that shows beef jerky is good for you. Some of the different beef jerky option available include organic, turkey, vegan, bison, chicken, ostrich and pork. You will also fund unique flavors such as garlic, barbecue, spicy, ranch and other unique flavors.

Great snack

According to Men’s Health, beef jerky is a great snack and can be used in between meals. Selecting the right brand, one that is low in calories and without MSG, can help you lose weight. Replace any unhealthy snack you may want to enjoy with a strip of beef jerky to help reduce the cravings you are having while on a diet. Jerky made with all-natural ingredients or from grass fed beef is the best option for those looking to lose weight. The calories in beef jerky are around 80 calories per serving.

Grabbing a piece of jerky is so much better for the body than having a cookie or other sweet treat in between meals. It can hold off cravings, satisfy any mid-afternoon snack and help give the body the energy it needs to make it through the rest of the day.

There will still be those wondering what the answer is to the questions: “Is beef jerky healthy?” or “Is beef jerky good for you?” In the end, the health benefits of beef jerky will depend greatly upon the brand and how it was made. But overall, it is a healthy snack option. Before purchasing any beef jerky, it is best to examine the list of ingredients and check the nutritional label. This will help you select the best jerky for you and one that is healthy. However, overall, jerky is a great nutrient resource and offers the body many of the proteins it needs.