Five surprising health benefits of South Africa’s beloved street food, biltong

Ama Nunoo January 29, 2021
Biltong quick drying using an electric oven. Photo: Jamsta at English Wikipedia

Biltong is one of the most popular street food in South Africa. This spicy dried cured meat is a snack that almost everybody swears by and has gained popularity in Southern Africa and other parts of Africa as well. There are some hidden benefits to enjoying biltong in the right portions.

The snack was originally a means of survival that was used to preserve meat for hundreds of years. It is traditionally made with beef, salt, vinegar, black pepper, and coriander, according to Bull and Cleaver.

There are many meat options like venison, ostrich and other game options that have been used in recent times and many other flavorful spices added in its preparation like garlic powder, chili peppers, Worcestershire sauce, among others.

According to market research, biltong and other meat-based snacks are projected to rake in more than $9 billion in revenue by 2022.

Per Healthline, dieters and those looking to change their eating habits to a healthier one should choose biltong because it is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. It is also the holy grail for hitchhikers and the perfect road trip snack.

It is not advisable to consume big portions of biltong as the intake of lots of processed meats may increase one’s risk of certain cancers. To regulate excessive intake, it is better to package them in portions for storage.

However, biltong is known to be healthier than chocolate, cookies, and a bag of chips.

Here are five benefits of biltong that you should know.

Natural protein

Proteins restore the body’s supply of amino acids which are key to muscle growth and repairs. Protein also regulates the hormones linked to cognition and motivation. It is great for weight loss because it helps the body feel full and regulates one’s appetite.

Great source of iron

The production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the bloodstream is facilitated by iron. Hence, iron is integral to the survival of humans and good health in general. It is also vital in muscle growth and recovery.


Protein is a great source of zinc which helps in cell creation and enzymes. Zinc helps process the fat, carbohydrates and even the protein we eat and releases energy into our bodies. It also helps in tissue repairs such as the healing of wounds.

Vitamin B12

Biltong has vitamin B 12 which keeps the human nervous system healthy and helps the body to process folic acid. It also releases energy from the food we eat and like iron, it helps in red blood cell formation.

Source of Creatine

Many fitness enthusiasts are into biltong because the creatine in them allows the body to create a lot of energy that is needed in any physical activity like working out and when exercising.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 29, 2021


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