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It’s portable, you can buy it anywhere, and it’s super high in protein, with nine grams (19% of daily value in a 2,000-calorie diet) in a mere one-ounce serving.
No, beef jerky isn’t one of those “superfoods” you can eat with reckless abandon—most is relatively high in sodium (26% of DV) and fat content (seven grams of fat, three grams of saturated fat)—both of which can lead to high blood pressure. And like a lot of snacks, it’s easy to eat more than that suggested serving size.
Still, there’s no reason to write off beef jerky. Compared to other snacks you can get at a gas station, beef jerky comes out light years ahead in terms of protein and fat content, plus it contains vitamins and minerals like zinc (11%), which helps maintain healthy cardiovascular cells; and iron (8%), which is vital for muscle contractions.
Ruth Frechman, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests trying some beef jerky with fruit as a whole-food postworkout meal: The fruit carbs complete the picture and help halt the catabolic response.
Where’s the Beef? Get a leaner cut of jerky from grass-fed cows, which have more omega-3 fats than grain-fed.