Home » Nutrition » Top 20 foods naturally high in protein

Top 20 foods naturally high in protein

What makes a diet that is high in protein so important?

A diet that is high in protein is often recommended by bodybuilders and nutritionists to support general muscle growth and recovery, as well as being beneficial in some fat loss diets.

Although supplements such as whey and casein protein shakes have been developed specifically to be high in protein, it is important to have a balance between these types of supplements and solid natural foods.

When specifically looking at people who lift weights for bodybuilding or to keep fit, and any type of cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling or swimming your muscles will be getting broken down to some degree.

Foods that are high in protein can benefit a range of diets from muscle building to fat loss

In order to repair and rebuild these muscles stronger, there have been various studies that show that consuming a food or protein shake that is high in protein after the activity will be most beneficial.

Some tests also show that this is when the body will absorb and actually use the most protein as it has a specific need for it at that time compared to if you were sitting at a desk all day.

The following list of 20 foods that are high in protein aims to provide you with information on the foods that are best for you if you are looking to start a weight training or fat loss program and need to increase your protein intake. While all the foods on this list are high in protein, it’s worth noting that some, such as the pumpkin seeds and almonds are also high in fat so should be eaten in moderation.

#1: Seitan

Seitan
Serving Size 100g
Calories 370
Protein 75 g
Total fat 1.8 g
– saturated 0.3 g
– polyunsaturated 0.8 g
– monounsaturated 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 29 mg
Potassium 100 mg
Carbohydrate 14 g
Dietary fiber 0.6 g
Sugar 0 g

#2: Spirulina

Spirulina is very high in protein
Serving size 100g
Energy 290 cal
Protein 57.47 g
Carbohydrates 23.9 g
– Sugars 3.1 g
– Dietary fiber 3.6 g
Fat 7.72 g
– saturated 2.65 g
– monounsaturated 0.675 g
– polyunsaturated 2.08 g

Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein. It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to meat, egg and milk proteins.

#3: Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan Cheese
Serving size 100g
Calories 431
Protein 38 g
Total fat 29 g
– saturated 17 g
– polyunsaturated 1.2 g
– monounsaturated 8 g
Cholesterol 88 mg
Sodium 1,529 mg
Potassium 125 mg
Carbohydrate 4.1 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0.9 g

Parmesan Cheese is high in protein when comparing nutritional values of foods at 100g. It is commonly grated over pasta dishes, stirred into soups and risottos, and eaten on its own.

Slivers and chunks of the hardest parts of the crust are sometimes simmered in soup. They can also be just roasted and eaten as a snack.

#4: Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds
Serving size 100g
Calories 559
Protein 30 g
Total fat 49 g
– saturated 9 g
– polyunsaturated 21 g
– monounsaturated 16 g
Trans fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Potassium 809 mg
Carbohydrate 11 g
Dietary fiber 6 g
Sugar 1.4 g

#5: Octopus

Octopus
Serving Size 100g
Calories 164
Protein 30 g
Total fat 2.1 g
– saturated 0.5 g
– polyunsaturated 0.5 g
– monounsaturated 0.3 g
Cholesterol 96 mg
Sodium 460 mg
Potassium 630 mg
Carbohydrate 4.4 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#6: Fish (Tuna)

Tuna steaks
Serving size 100g
Calories 184
Protein 30 g
Total fat 6 g
– saturated 1.6 g
– polyunsaturated 1.8 g
– monounsaturated 2.1 g
Cholesterol 49 mg
Sodium 50 mg
Potassium 323 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g

Fish is also a good source of protein. Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, pilchards, herring, kipper, eel and whitebait are termed oily fish.

Cod, plaice, tuna, fish eggs (namely Roe and Caviar) and seafood like lobster and crab are also high in protein.

#7: Low-fat Mozzarella

Low-fat Mozzarella
Serving size 100g
Calories 280
Protein 28 g
Total fat 17 g
– saturated 11 g
– polyunsaturated 0.5 g
– monounsaturated 4.8 g
Cholesterol 54 mg
Sodium 16 mg
Potassium 95 mg
Carbohydrate 3.1 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 1.2 g

#8: Chicken and Turkey Breast

Chicken Breast
Serving size 100g
Calories 172
Protein 26 g
Total fat 9 g
– saturated 2.7 g
– polyunsaturated 2 g
– monounsaturated 3.8 g
Trans fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 64 mg
Sodium 63 mg
Potassium 220 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

Most meats and poultry and are good sources of protein. As meat can also be high in saturated fats, lean cuts of meat are better as they will contain less saturated fat.

Meat preparation is also an important factor in balancing protein intake and fats – fried meat products contain protein but higher levels of saturated fats.

#9: Caviar

Caviar
Serving Size 100g
Calories 264
Protein 25 g
Total fat 18 g
– saturated 4.1 g
– polyunsaturated 7 g
– monounsaturated 4.6 g
Cholesterol 588 mg
Sodium 1,500 mg
Potassium 181 mg
Carbohydrate 4 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#10: Lamb (Shoulder)

Shoulder of Lamb
Serving size 100g
Calories 283
Protein 25 g
Total fat 20 g
– saturated 8 g
– polyunsaturated 1.4 g
– monounsaturated 8 g
Cholesterol 97 mg
Sodium 81 mg
Potassium 339 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#11: Steak

Steak
Serving Size 100g
Calories 282
Protein 24 g
Total fat 20 g
– saturated 7 g
– polyunsaturated 0.7 g
– monounsaturated 9 g
Cholesterol 69 mg
Sodium 65 mg
Potassium 278 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#12: Lean Veal and Beef

Lean Veal
Serving size 100g
Calories 172
Protein 24 g
Total fat 8 g
– saturated 3 g
– polyunsaturated 0.6 g
– monounsaturated 2.8 g
Cholesterol 103 mg
Sodium 83 mg
Potassium 337 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#13: Dry Roasted Soy Beans

Dry Roasted Soy Beans
Serving size 100g
Calories 173
Protein 17 g
Total fat 9 g
– saturated 1.3 g
– polyunsaturated 5 g
– monounsaturated 2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 515 mg
Carbohydrate 10 g
Dietary fiber 6 g
Sugar 3 g

#14: Pork Loin (Chops)

Pork Loin
Serving Size 100g
Calories 173
Protein 22 g
Total fat 9 g
– saturated 2.9 g
– polyunsaturated 1.3 g
– monounsaturated 4 g
Trans fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 65 mg
Sodium 744 mg 31%
Potassium 348 mg
Carbohydrate 0.2 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#15: Almonds

Almonds
Serving Size 100g
Calories 576
Protein 21 g
Total fat 49 g
– saturated 3.7 g
– polyunsaturated 12 g
– monounsaturated 31 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 705 mg
Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary fiber 12 g
Sugar 3.9 g

#16: Abalone

Abalone
Serving Size 100g
Calories 189
Protein 20 g
Total fat 7 g
– saturated 1.6 g
– polyunsaturated 1.7 g
– monounsaturated 2.7 g
Cholesterol 94 mg
Sodium 591 mg
Potassium 284 mg
Carbohydrate 11 g
Dietary fiber 0 g

#17: Lobster

Lobster
Serving Size 100g
Calories 89
Protein 19 g
Total fat 0.9 g
– saturated 0.2 g
– polyunsaturated 0.3 g
– monounsaturated 0.3 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 146 mg
Sodium 486 mg
Potassium 230 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#18: Crab

Crab
Serving Size 100g
Calories 83
Protein 18 g
Total fat 0.7 g
– saturated 0.2 g
– polyunsaturated 0.3 g
– monounsaturated 0.1 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 97 mg
Sodium 395 mg
Potassium 259 mg
Carbohydrate 0 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 0 g

#19: Peanuts

Peanuts
Serving Size 100g
Calories 318
Protein 14 g
Total fat 22 g
– saturated 3.1 g
– polyunsaturated 7 g
– monounsaturated 11 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 751 mg
Potassium 180 mg
Carbohydrate 21 g
Dietary fiber 9 g
Sugar 2.5 g

#20: Eggs

Eggs
Serving Size 100g
Calories 155
Protein 13 g
Total fat 11 g
– saturated 3.3 g
– polyunsaturated 1.4 g
– monounsaturated 4.1 g
Cholesterol 373 mg
Sodium 124 mg
Potassium 126 mg
Carbohydrate 1.1 g
Dietary fiber 0 g
Sugar 1.1 g

One large egg will contain about 6 grams of protein. Eggs are an important source of protein to vegetarians, boiled and poached eggs are better than fried as they will contain less fat.

Other Protein Sources

Marmite and other yeast extract spreads are high in protein content – about 25% protein. Whole grains can be significant sources of protein in some diets, whole grains also contain high levels of beneficial complex carbohydrates. Protein rich whole grains include whole wheat and wheat bran, oats and oat bran, barley and brown rice.

Certain vegetables, especially asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and avocado are good sources of protein.

To find out more about protein including how much you should be having in your diet, this is covered in our article titled ‘What is Protein?’.

Check Also

Sources of protein

What is protein?

If you were to look into any new fitness or muscle building program, equally as ...