Humans are among the omnivores of the planet earth. Our diet consists of both meat and vegetables/fruits. Despite the current rise of veganism and some of the criticisms levelled at non vegans, the dietary and health benefits of eating meat are too obvious to be denied.
This however is not to deny the fact that the rearing conditions of some of these animals are less than ideal. Because it is in the farmer’s benefit to keep costs low, sometimes the environment in which these animals are reared leave a lot to be desired.
That said, all these can be well tackled with proper farmer education, better regulations as well as incentives to farmers to improve their methods. Already, there are lots of animal products whose rearing and preparation for food already meet this standard and have done so for some time.
One example is the popular beef jerky snack food.
What Is It?
This is basically the beef version of the jerky snack food. And a jerky is any meat that has undergone a curing process which is aimed at adding flavor and taste in addition to preserving the meat.
This curing process is done with a salt solution which also ensures that the moisture content of the meat is removed or reduced by at least fifty percent (50%). One of the processes that the meat undergoes is called marination, and it is done in different ways across different cultures around the world.
You can read up more about marination and what it entails here. The other part of the process involves drying of the meat. Here, salt is added to prevent bacteria from festering in the meat which would lead to biodegradation.
This drying process which involves low heat being applied to the meat further dehydrates it, giving it a rough texture and its typically brown color. It is principally this drying process that preserves it and allows it to be safely stored for long periods of time.
What Are Its Benefits?
Today with more research and better procedures, experts believe that beef jerky has a lot of health and nutritional advantages. This of course, is in addition to its being a delicious, tasty and wonderful snack.
These health benefits are a study of its own and you can find out more here: https://www.verywellfit.com/beef-jerky-nutrition-facts-4147272
However for the purpose of this article, its health benefits can be summarized thus:
1. High protein content: Proteins are nutrients necessary for the human body. It is essential for growth and for the replacement of worn out tissues in the body. It is therefore important for one to eat foods high in protein and this snack food is packed full of it!
2. Fat content: There is a lot of misconception about food products with fat content. There are different ways the body uses fat which makes it important to the body. The only is with the bad kind of fat and too much of it. As a result of the process that the meat has gone through, you get a minimal and healthy dose of fat.
3. Iron and zinc content: It also has high iron and zinc content and these are essential for the production of blood cells and for the improvement of the body’s immunity.
4. They can function as energy foods: Generally, food rich in carbohydrates are what are normally regarded as energy foods. However, beef jerky is a credible alternative to your regular carbohydrates and it leaves you full for a longer time than any carbohydrate rich food would.
How to Pick the Right One
It is understood that the reason for some of the criticisms about the beef jerky is because of the process of its production, which depending on the manufacturers might be highly unreliable. So, to serve as a guideline, here is a list of what to look out for when buying one.
1. Do not purchase ones with high monosodium glutamate (MSG for short) especially those with extra additives.
2. Pick those very low in saturated fats
3. Choose those made with simple meat spices since they are usually safer
4. Finally, always choose organic beef jerky, they are the ones reared using organic means
It is obvious that there are numerous health benefits that this snack offers in addition to its being delicious. However, the process of its production is very important as it hugely affects its nutritional qualities.
Be sure to make your choice wisely so you can enjoy the full benefits of this wonderful snack.