25 Best High Protein Rich Foods You Should Eat – Protein is very important for our body to maintain its shape and function properly. They are the building blocks of our body. Everyone needs to include enough amount of protein in their daily diet. In this article, we are going to discuss about the 25 best high protein rich food that one must eat. Some of the proteins can be produced by the body whereas, some needs to be consumed. During workout, small microscopic tears happen in the muscles. We need protein to repair this damage and rebuild the muscles. Even if you do not work out regularly, then also protein is required for the building and maintaining of our body tissues. So lets check out the list of 25 protein rich foods you should eat.
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Signs of Low Protein Intake
When the protein intake is unable to meet our body’s requirements, it is known as protein deficiency. Approximately, 1 billion people worldwide suffer from low protein intake. The problem is quite prominent in Central Africa and South Asia, where up to 30% of the children suffer from inadequate protein intake. Also the vegetarians and the vegans often suffer from protein deficiency due to following an imbalanced diet. Lets find out below the common signs of protein deficiency.
1. High Cholesterol
High cholesterol and tri-glycerides can be a result of eating high processed or high in sugar foods. When you replace protein rich food with sugary snacks, packaged foods and refined carbs, the cholesterol in our body starts to rise and we often end up with high cholesterol level.
There are neuro-transmitters in our body which control our mood. Amino acids are the building blocks of these neuro transmitters. Proteins are the source of amino acids. Protein actually helps in synthesizing hormones like dopamine and serotonin in our brain, which boost our mood and enhance positive feelings like calmness and positivity.
3. Lack of Sleep
This is another sign of protein deficiency. Poor sleep can be a result of unstable blood sugar level. Protein slows down the absorption of sugar from our food during a meal. Insomnia can also be a result of less amount of serotonin production. Eating foods that are rich in protein before going to sleep can help with serotonin production.
4. Brain Fog
Protein is important for a healthy neurological functioning of our body. Brain fog, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, trouble in learning new information, etc can be the signs of low protein intake. According to studies, balanced diets with enough amount of protein can actually boost our work performance, learning skills and concentration level.
5. Irregular Menstrual Cycle
This is one of the most common cause of protein deficiency in women. Irregular periods and infertility is the condition known as PCOS. Obesity and diabetes are the two major risk factors for those suffering from PCOS. Low protein diet can often affect the insulin resistance, inflammation, obesity and fatigue that in turn disrupts the proper hormonal balance in a women’s body which is needed for regular menstrual cycle.
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These were the most common signs of protein deficiency. Now lets find out how to compensate this deficiency by consuming protein rich food. Below is a list of 25 best protein rich food that you must include in your diet.
How Much Protein Do You Need
The recommended daily intake of protein is 46 grams for women, and 56 grams for men. However, many experts suggest a daily dose of about 1 gm of protein per 1 kg of body weight is required. After a workout session, protein is particularly important because proteins help to recover the muscles and also help them to grow. Experts suggest that one should take about 15-25 gm of protein within 30 minutes of exercise.
25 Best High Protein Rich Foods You Should Eat
Eggs are considered as one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods across the globe. Whole eggs are high in protein content, but its the egg white which is nothing but pure protein. And the best thing is that egg whites are low in fat as well as cholesterol.
1 large egg white contains 3.6 gms of proteins which is about 7% of the body’s daily protein requirement. The same amount of egg white contains 16 calories, which means you are also getting the energy from egg white.
Eggs, undoubtedly, are one of the best and easily available protein rich food that you must include in your diet. One of the best way to include egg or egg white in your daily diet is by taking them during breakfast.
2. Greek Yogurt
After eggs, comes Greek Yogurt in our list of best protein rich food that needs to be included in our diet. It is one of the best protein rich food for vegetarians. Not only a rich source of protein, but Greek yogurt is also high in calcium. Calcium, as we already know, is essential for healthy bones and teeth. And, our body cannot produce calcium on its own, hence you must take it externally. Greek yogurt also contain a high amount of Vitamin B12 which is necessary for healthy brain functioning. It also plays a vital role in maintaining gut health and formation of RBC or red blood cells.
2/3rd cup of Greek yogurt can provide our body with 11 gms of protein which meets about 22% of our body’s daily protein requirement.
The best way to have this protein rich food included in our diet is by simply consuming Greek yogurt after meal.
3. Cottage Cheese
Studies have found that people who follow vegetarian diet often suffer from low protein intake that can lead to various health complications. Cottage cheese is one of the best protein rich food for vegetarians. It is a great source of protein and quite inexpensive and easily available as well. Apart from being one of the high protein foods, cottage cheese also contains a high amount of calcium which is an essential mineral for healthy bones and teeth.
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1 cup of cottage cheese contains 28 gms of protein which fulfills about 56% of our body’s daily protein requirement. This high protein food is rich in casein, which is a type of dairy protein and digest more slowly than whey protein. Due to slow digestion, it can feed our muscles all night and prevent them from being catabolized.
One can include this protein rich food in their diet by combining it with vegetables or fruits or by adding them to salad.
Talking about high protein foods and leaving out milk is simply impossible. It is one of the best protein rich food for vegetarians and meat-eater both. Not only protein, milk is also rich in several vitamins and minerals and is aptly considered as the ‘Best Energy Drink’ for human.
One liter of milk can provide our body with 32 gms of protein, and you will get about 8 gm of protein from a cup of milk.
You can either choose fat free, skimmed milk especially if following a weight loss diet, or opt for richer variants to help our body absorb the Vitamin D present in milk in a much better way. The best way to include this protein rich food in diet is by taking a glass of milk during breakfast or adding them to the cereals.
5. Peanut Butter
Next comes peanut butter in our list of best protein rich food. Once again, this one is a great protein rich food for vegetarians. Almost all of us consume butter with our toast or things like that. All you need to do is to replace your traditional butter with this high protein foods and give your body a boost of protein.
2 tbsp of peanut butter comes with 7.7 gms of protein and can fulfill about 15% of our body’s daily protein requirement. It also provides 188 calories. Apart from being rich in protein, peanut butter can also reduce the risk of type 2 – diabetes.
Make sure to pick up a sugar free version of this high protein food. Natural versions which are made from just peanuts are the best ones.
Here comes another amazing protein rich food for vegetarians. It is a great alternative for meat, and quite a popular choice for high protein foods. Tofu is not only a great protein rich food but also rich in iron, magnesium and other essential nutrients. It can lower the bad cholesterol level and boosts our heart health.
Per 3 oz. serving of tofu can provide 12 gms of protein which can fulfill 26% of our body’s daily protein requirement.
Tofu can be taken best when taken in stir-fried form. Alternatively, you can prepare a smoothie with tofu instead of using protein powder.
For those who do not know, edamame are nothing but green soybeans. This is another great protein rich food for vegetarians. This high protein foods is a great source of plant protein, and along with that edamame contains high amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
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One can get 8 gm of protein from half cup of edamame. It can be used to prepare delicious snack item. Get a packet of frozen edamame and prepare them according to the directions given on the packaging. Season with some lemon juice, salt and paprika.
8. Green Peas
Next on our list of best protein rich food comes green peas. They are also excellent protein rich food for vegetarians. Experts say that the main reason that vegetarian people often suffer from inadequate protein intake, is because most of the vegetables contain very less amount of protein. However, green peas are an exception and this high protein foods are also rich in fiber, which makes them a great food to boost our digestive system as well.
One cup of green peas contain about 7 gms of protein.
Pistachios, one of the best high protein food, is not only delicious, but also a good source of fiber. This is why pistachios are considered great for our digestive health and also helps in weight loss. Foods that are high in fiber encourages a full stomach feeling which prevent the overeating habit and aids in weight loss. The high amount of folate present in this protein rich food also makes it great for pregnant women.
One cup of pistachios can provide 25 gms of protein which can fulfill 51% of our body’s daily requirement of protein.
After pistachios, comes quinoa in our list of best protein rich food. These are actually the seeds of a plant native to South America. Among the whole grains, quinoa is one such food which is full of essential amino acids. Its a complete protein which is beneficial for muscle building.
A cup of quinoa seeds can provide 24 gms of protein and meet about 48% of our body’s daily protein requirement.
Just like pistachios, almonds are one of the nuts rich in protein. This protein rich food is good for reducing cancer risk and heart disease. Almonds are also very beneficial to lower bad cholesterol level and reduce the risk of diabetes.
10 almonds serve 5.9 gms of protein which is equal to 12% of our daily protein requirement. Almonds can be taken by its own or can be added to salads and smoothies.
12. Chicken Breast
We have already provided quite a few number of protein rich food for vegetarians. Now lets concentrate on to the protein rich food for the meat eaters. Chicken breast comes as one of the topper in this list. Chicken breast is one of the staple for those who want to build muscles as well as people aiming for weight loss. It has numerous benefits for people from all age groups.
Half of a chicken breast contains about 28 gms of protein which is equivalent to 53% of our body’s daily need of protein. If you are in weight loss diet, opt for skinless chicken breast which is very low in fat.
13. Lean Beef
This is another example of protein rich food which is also very delicious. Apart from protein, lean beef is loaded with iron, vitamin B12 and several other essential nutrients. If you are following a low carb diet, go for fatty cuts of beef instead of lean beef.
1 serving of 85 gm of cooked beef with 10% fat contain about 22 gms of protein.
14. Turkey Breast
Next on our list of best protein rich food comes turkey breast. It is one of the best protein sources and also has less amount of fat and calories. One of the best thing about turkey breast is that it helps us to feel full for a longer period of time, and thus prevent overeating. Just like chicken, turkey breast can feed our muscles with enough amount of protein while not adding to the calories.
One slice of turkey breast can provide 4 gms of protein which can fulfill 7% of our body’s daily protein requirement. A serving of 3 oz of turkey breast contains about 24 gm of protein.
Avoid processed turkey and always go for fresh lean and organic variant. You can take this during your dinner or lunch.
15. Pork Chops
Pork chops are not only excellent source of protein but they are also rich in zinc, which is very essential for our body. Zinc deficiency can lead to night blindness and weak immune system. Pork chops are full of amino acids and quite easy to prepare. Pork chops can be served along with salad or cooked vegetables. Along with protein and zinc, pork chops contain high amount of B vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, B6 and B12. It is also very low in fat.
One pork chop contains about 39 gms of protein which is equivalent to 77% of our daily protein need. Pork is one of the best sources of leucine. Leucine is one of the amino acids which is very essential for our muscle. It makes up about 1/3rd of our muscle protein and also helps to promote repair after exercise. Being one of the best source of leucine, pork makes a great post exercise meal or snack.
It is a type of oily fish which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Apart from being a protein rich food, the omega 3 fatty acids in halibut helps in minimizing the risks of heart disease. It is also low in saturated fat. Halibut is very beneficial when you need to build muscle. Pacific Halibut is normally considered a more sustainable choice than Atlantic Halibut.
Half of a Halibut fillet contains about 42 gms of protein, which can meet 85% of our daily protein need. Each 3 ounce of serving contains only 2 gms of fat.
It is one of the most commonly available fish. It is a protein packed fish that keeps our muscles well fed. Not only protein but Tilapia is also high in omega 3 fatty acids. It also contains a good amount of calcium and potassium. Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth while potassium can boost our nervous system.
One ounce of Tilapia can provide our body with 4.2 gms of protein which is about 8% of our daily protein requirement. However, American farmed Tilapia is considered as safer options than Asian ones.
18. Yellowfin Tuna
Next on our list of best protein rich food comes light tuna or yellowfin tuna. Apart from being a great source of protein, tuna is also rich in B vitamins. B vitamins helps in proper nerve functioning and blood circulation. Tuna is considered as easily digested and high quality protein. Apart from protein and B vitamins, this protein rich food also contains antioxidants selenium.
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One oz of boneless tuna can provide 6.6 gms of protein which is equivalent to 13% of our body’s daily protein requirement.
19. Alaskan Salmon
Just like tuna, Alaskan Salmon is also a powerhouse of protein and nutrition. It contains high amount of omega 3 fatty acids which makes it a great choice for those suffering from joint pains. It also helps in boosting heart health and skin health. According to a report by Washington State Department of Health, salmon can actually help in treating abnormal heart rhythms and strokes.
One ounce of Alaskan salmon contains 6.3 gms of protein and it can fulfill about 13% of our daily protein requirement.
Sardines are also one of the highest protein rich food that one must include in their diet. Not only a rich source of protein, sardines are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, selenium and B vitamins. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for our body and it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. B Vitamins are important for healthy nervous system and proper blood circulation, while selenium is an antioxidant and it also has Vitamin D in it which aids in healthy bone and teeth.
A small sardine contain 3 gms of protein which can fulfill about 6% of our daily protein requirement.
21. Pacific Cod Fish
This is another fish which is a protein rich food and should be included in our daily diet. Not only a great source of protein, but pacific cod fish also contains Vitamin D and B12 that help in healthy bone system and nervous system respectively. And it also contains very less amount of fat, which makes it a very healthy food as well.
1 fillet of Pacific Cod Fish can provide our body with 21 gms of protein which is equivalent to 42% of our daily protein need.
22. Whey Protein Supplements
This is a very popular protein supplement now a days. When you are in hurry, and have no time to cook, then grab a jar of whey protein supplement to get your daily boost of protein. This is a protein rich food obtained from dairy foods, and is very effective in building muscle mass. Whey protein is also helpful in weight loss.
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The amount of protein that one can get from whey protein varies from brand to brand. Normally one can get 20-50 gms of protein per serving.
23. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are also very high in protein. They are edible and often added to salads and toasts for a bit of texture. Not only protein rich food, but pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc which is essential for a strong immunity system. Pumpkin seeds can also minimize the risk of diabetes.
A cup of pumpkin seeds contain 12 gms of protein and can meet 24% of our daily protein requirement.
Just like pistachios, cashews are also protein rich food. Cashews are rich in copper and iron which play a vital role in blood cell formation. Plus, it has magnesium in it which is a very important mineral for our system. Cashews are also known for improving vision and keeping weight under check.
1 ounce of cashews contain 5.1 gm of protein which can fulfill about 10% of our daily need of protein.
25. Kidney Beans
We are going to conclude this list of top 25 protein rich food that we must include in our diet, with kidney beans. Along with protein, kidney beans also contain a high amount of Vitamin B1 which is vital for our memory. And it has the ability to detoxify our body as well. A tbsp of kidney beans contain 1 gm of protein which can fulfill about 2% of our body’s daily need of protein.
These are our top 25 protein rich food that one must include in their diet. By now, you have already realized the importance of protein for our body. No matter whether you are a vegetarian or a meat eater, this list of 25 protein rich food has got something for both. Let us know in the comments below what do you consume for fulfilling your daily protein needs.