Six Healthy Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Biltong

Last updated on : April 18 2023

close up of biltong meat and spices

Article Summary 

There are several healthy reasons to stock biltong in your kitchen cupboards.

Biltong is excellent for everyone and comes in many different flavors and varieties. And it makes a healthy snack free of preservatives, low in calories, packed with nutrients, easy to store with a long shelf life, and fun to eat and enjoy.

Click on the links below to learn more.

What Is Biltong?

Who Invented Biltong?

1. Biltong Is A Healthy Snack Alternative

2. Biltong Contains Lots Of Vitamins And Minerals

3. Biltong Is Great For Traveling

4. Biltong Is Ideal For Children

5. Biltong Is Safe For Pregnancy (In Moderation)

6. Vegetarian Biltong Is A Thing


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Biltong?

The question on everyone's lips is what biltong is?

Originating in South Africa, biltong is a high protein, low carbohydrate, low-fat cured meat that will serve your body well if stocked up in your home. 

Traditionally, biltong could be anything from beef and game to ostrich or kudu (yes, an antelope). South Africans have been rubbing their meat with salt and hanging it to air dry for over 400 years. And recently, the rest of the world has caught on. 

Who Invented Biltong?

South African Farmers first made biltong in the 1800s during the Great Trek - a movement of Dutch-speaking colonists into southern Africa's interior in search of a land where they could establish their homeland, independent of British rule.

There were no refrigerators back then, so these farmers needed a swift plan to preserve their meat, primarily beef. They did so by sun-drying beef with salt, vinegar, and pepper to keep it from going off. 

The result is today's original biltong - a tasty, spice-fuelled cured meat that lasts a long time and makes the perfect nutrition-packed snack, or for many of the first farmers, a full meal. 

In recent times, we have evolved biltong from a beef snack to a chicken, fish, and bacon snack, and a vegetarian option too. All these options are preserved and prepared with the same texture and flavors as the original meat snack. 

From a traveling companion to the more notable fitness snack, biltong has become very popular, and these are the primary reasons why. 

sliced biltong meat and knife

1. Biltong Is A Healthy Snack Alternative

Most people who spend time working out their meal plans or spend lots of time in the gym think that they are doing enough to keep an unhealthy lifestyle at bay, but snacking has become the main reason health-conscious plans fail

The easiest way for eating plans to fall prey to failure is boredom. When you come home from work and feel hungry but don't want to ruin your appetite completely, you are very likely to reach for a quick snack to tie you down until you can dig into your dinner. 

If you are undisciplined, snacking on a bag of chips, chocolate, or fruit, all of which contain high amounts of sugar, will eventually cause your weight to pile up on the scale.  

If reaching for a quick snack is something you often do, then make snacking a healthier choice. Biltong fits this bill perfectly. 

As a high-protein snack, biltong can account for up to 25% of your daily recommended protein, making it one of the healthiest snacks to have. 

It is preservative-free and contains no sugar, so there are no pre-workout worries of high sugar content causing you to crash during or after your workout. 

Biltong is also well packaged and can last for weeks without losing its flavor and freshness, so keeping it in the car, your gym bag, or at your desk is ideal for preventing bad snacking.

It's safe for kids of any age to eat, making it the best lunchtime treat and saves parents from worrying about a sugar rush after school.  

2. Biltong Contains Lots Of Vitamins And Minerals 

Biltong is a meat source which means it is pure protein. There is less than 3% fat on it, and thanks to no preservatives, it does not ruin any of the good nutrients during the preparation process. 

Usually, when a steak is overcooked, you lose many of the meat's nutrients and minerals. 

However, biltong is different. It is not cooked at a high temperature but instead dried in a cure box that uses just the right amount of light to ensure that it remains fresh but is still safe from bacteria and molding. 

Vitamin deficiencies in diets can lead to body dysfunction and long-term health consequences. These side effects can be detrimental, so a healthy dose of biltong could make up some difference.  

A few of the more essential vitamins and minerals that are present in biltong are:  

● Iron

Iron is a mineral that many people do not get enough of in their daily diets. However, you can find 1,2mg of iron in every 100g of meat, including biltong.  

Iron improves your cognitive function and treats anemia. Another unique role of iron, when consumed regularly, is that it assists with oxygen circulation.  

● Protein 

Protein is the most notable nutrient in meat and is essential for rehabilitating your muscles and providing good muscle memory after your workouts. 

Protein also helps your muscles burn excess fat in the body, so even when you are no longer exercising, you can still turn the carbohydrates in your body into fuel. 

● Potassium 

Potassium is an essential macronutrient that the body needs daily. 

It acts as a regulator of your blood pressure and increases your bone health. It also assists with neural function and lowering stress and anxiety. 

Another valuable feature of potassium is that it lowers your blood sugar levels and balances your body's water levels.  

If you are physically active and engage in lots of exercises, you might notice cellulite reduction with increased potassium. 

● Magnesium

Magnesium lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke and plays an essential part in cellular signaling.  

It reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a common condition in people who may previously have spent a lot of time doing physical activities like playing a high-impact sport or working as a nurse in a hospital. 

● Lower Calories

Lower calories mean that you can eat as much of it as you want. There is less than 3% of fat per serving of 50g so that it won't negatively affect your calorie intake. 

3. Biltong Is Great For Traveling 

One of the best snacks that you can take with you on a long trip is biltong. 

Migrant farmers of old created biltong for traveling long distances because eating fresh food was not an option. Livestock cultivation took much longer than farmers could allow between traveling, so curing their meat was the only option they had to ensure it didn't go off.  

Today biltong has become a preferred traveling snack for many going on long road trips or spending time outdoors camping. It's so easy to enjoy with other food or to eat on its own.  

Biltong also has a great shelf life and does not need refrigeration, so if you are traveling by car from city to city or are a digital nomad, you can rely on it to remain fresh.  

4. Biltong Is Ideal For Children 

Everyone loves biltong, and children are no exception. 

The biggest struggle moms around the world are having is their fight with fructose in children's snacks. Fructose is a high sugar source with no nutritional value and leaves children overweight and inactive from a very young age. 

Too much sugar forces the body to react in a way that compromises its ability to focus. So a great benefit of biltong is that it does not contain any sugar or preservatives.  

There are various biltong snacks to choose from for moms who are constantly worrying about what to put into their children's lunch boxes. 

Now lunch for kids does not have to be boring. Pairing biltong snacks with healthy natural juices that contain less sugar can be fun for children that prefer snacking to eating big meals. 

5. Biltong Is Safe For Pregnancy (In Moderation) 

Some meats may be harmful during pregnancy. Pregnant women cannot eat certain fish because of the high volume of mercury, and beef can be a problem if you do not thoroughly cook it. 

There are also many preservatives in specific meat and fish products that can affect pregnancy and the baby's development. 

Still, with biltong, there is less chance of the biltong affecting the mother or fetus. Expecting moms can snack on as much biltong as they like because there are no chemicals that can affect the fetus, but like all things, Moderation is essential, and a visit to your doctor first advisable.  

6. Vegetarian Biltong Is A Thing

The best thing to happen to our favorite biltong snack is the addition of a vegetarian variety. In a society where diversity is as essential as popularity, making a vegetarian option was the next best thing.

Vegetables like mushrooms and brinjal make the vegan biltong spiced with the same herbs used to make the meat variety. They are roasted in the oven until they become complex and crispy and then left to cure until they are ready to be enjoyed. A variety of flavors are available for the vegetarian option.  


Sliced biltong meat

If you're concerned about living a healthier life and worry about the food you are eating, now is the time to look at the snacks you are eating. Much of our diets and cause for concern regarding the food we eat miss the fact that snacking can be a silent enemy. 

There are several healthy reasons to stock biltong in your kitchen cupboards. Biltong is excellent for everyone to try and comes in many different flavors and varieties. 

And it makes a healthy snack free of preservatives, low in calories, packed with nutrients, easy to store with a long shelf life, and fun to eat and enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the questions most frequently asked by our readers.

1. What is biltong? 

Biltong is a dried, cured meat originating from Southern Africa. It is typically made from beef or game meat that is spiced, seasoned, and air-dried to create a delicious and nutritious snack.

2. Is biltong healthy to eat? 

Apart from the excellent reasons we list in the body of the article above, biltong is a healthy snack option for several reasons:

  • High Protein: Biltong is an excellent source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle growth, and maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • Low Fat: Biltong is typically made from lean cuts of meat, which means it is low in fat compared to other meat snacks. This makes it a healthier option for those watching their fat intake.
  • Nutrient-Rich: Biltong is packed with essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, necessary for energy production, brain function, and immune health.
  • No Added Sugar: Unlike many other processed snacks, biltong is typically free from added sugars, making it a healthier option for those trying to reduce their sugar intake.
  • Gluten-Free: Biltong is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  • No Preservatives: Traditional biltong is made without artificial preservatives, making it a natural and wholesome snack.

3. How can I incorporate biltong into my diet? 

There are many ways to enjoy biltong! Here are some ideas:

  • On its own: Biltong makes for a delicious and satisfying snack. Grab a handful and enjoy it as a convenient and healthy on-the-go option.
  • In salads: Add biltong to your favorite salads for an extra boost of protein and flavor. It can add a unique twist to your salad and make it more filling.
  • With cheese and crackers: Biltong pairs well with cheese and crackers, creating a tasty and protein-rich snack or appetizer option.
  • In trail mix: Mix biltong with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to create a homemade trail mix high in protein and perfect for outdoor activities.
  • As a topping: Sprinkle biltong on top of soups, stews, or even pizza for extra flavor and protein.

4. Where can I find biltong? 

Biltong can be found in many specialty, health, or online stores. Look for high-quality biltong from natural, sustainably sourced meat for the best flavor and health benefits.

5. How long does biltong last? 

Biltong has a long shelf life due to its curing and drying process. It can typically last several months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. However, checking the packaging or consulting the manufacturer for specific storage instructions is best.

6. Is biltong safe to eat? 

Biltong is generally safe when made from fresh, high-quality meat and prepared using proper food safety practices. However, as with any food product, properly handling and storing biltong is essential to prevent spoilage or contamination. If you have any concerns or allergies, it's best to consult a healthcare professional before consuming biltong or any new food product.

7. Can biltong be included in a low-carb or keto diet?

Yes, biltong can be an excellent option for those following a low-carb or keto diet. It is typically low in carbohydrates and high in protein, making it a satisfying and convenient snack choice.

8. Is biltong a good option for athletes or active individuals? 

Biltong can be a beneficial addition to the diet of athletes or active individuals due to its high protein content, which can aid in muscle recovery and repair. It is also a convenient and portable snack for on-the-go energy during physical activities.

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The Kewl Shop is a blog. We write about all things lifestyle with a strong focus on relationships, self-love, beauty, fitness, and health. Important stuff that every modern woman or man needs to know.

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