Exercise is a great way to improve fitness, build muscle mass, help you lose weight, and boost both your mental and physical wellbeing. After a workout, our bodies need protein to help repair and restore our muscles. When protein is included as part of a meal or snack, it helps you feel satisfied. While most people often turn to protein bars or protein shakes as a convenient way to get their protein intake in after an intense gym session, others are turning to protein-rich, nutrient-dense whole foods that offer stronger nutrition such as Biltong.
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What is Biltong?
Biltong is a convenient on-the-go dried and cured meat-based snack that originated in South Africa over 400 years ago as a way to preserve meat for future meals. Commonly made from readily available beef and venison, biltong offers a delicious nutrient-dense snack that is taking gym aficionados by storm thanks to its high protein and low-fat content. Find out more about what biltong is here.
How is Biltong made?
Top-quality biltong is made from premium, grass-fed beef or venison that has been cured and dried in a variety of natural herbs, spices, and vinegar. Once dried, it loses around half of its weight however its protein content doubles.
Is Biltong the same as Beef Jerky?
Biltong may look like beef jerky, but the only thing that’s similar about the two is that they’re meat-based snacks commonly made from beef. Everything else about them is completely different!
For starters, biltong can be made with many different meat types – from fatty to super lean – and this allows for a range of flavors and textures. Jerky is commonly made from lean strips of beef that are marinated in a non-vinegar-based sauce which is then cooked and dehydrated.
As a result, biltong melts in your mouth and is much less salty and smoky whereas jerky is tougher and has a stronger flavor because of how it has been cooked.
Benefits of Biltong
Biltong is a great snack, not just for gym-goers, but for anyone looking to increase their protein intake in a natural way. Because it’s full of all the essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to repair and function, it makes it one of the best on-the-go snacks you can have. Below are some of the top reasons you should try biltong:
Great source of natural protein
Biltong is high in natural proteins, which is important for muscle growth in our bodies. A 35g serving of beef biltong will provide you with around half of your recommended daily protein requirements making it the perfect post-workout snack.
Fantastic source of iron
One thing that many of us struggle to get in our diets is iron. Iron deficiency can cause incredible tiredness, increased heart rate, pale skin, and in some cases dizziness. Because beef biltong is red meat it contains plenty of iron, making it a great supplement for those suffering from an iron deficiency or anaemia.
High in Vitamin B12
Beef biltong is also high in Vitamin B12, which helps to maintain healthy blood and nerve cells. As the human body doesn’t naturally make Vitamin B12, it can only enter the body through supplements or animal-based products. Consuming biltong as part of a healthy, balanced diet is a great way to top your B12 levels up. The effects of Vitamin B12 aren’t just all internal, it can help to build strong hair and nails and improve dry skin too.
Low in fat and carbohydrates
One 35g serving of beef biltong contains only 1% fat. Moreover, if you are following a diet that requires you to eat low fat or is watching what you eat, then it will help you stay within your daily calorie and fat targets.
The same serving amount contains only 0.3g of carbohydrates too, making it the perfect snack for anyone following a ketogenic lifestyle.
Has a long shelf life
One of the best things about it is that it lasts for a while without going off which is why it’s a popular snack amongst hikers. Also, you can keep some in your gym bag or desk for when you’re caught out in-between meals.
An added benefit of biltong is that it requires zero cooking or preparation meaning it can be eaten straight from the packet.
Is Biltong healthy?
When consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, it is a great addition to any lifestyle. It’s tasty, fits a variety of diets such as paleo and keto, and makes for one of the better grab-and-go snacks. Some brands unfortunately do have a high sodium count, so if you want the most out of this deliciously tasty South African snack you should pick brands that only use the highest quality, natural ingredients.