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10 Surprising Sources of Protein

Protein is an essential macronutrient that contributes to growth and development, tissue repair, hormone synthesis, chemical reactions in the body, along with other functions such as the formation of enzymes and structure of body cells. Lack of enough proteins in the body leads to impaired general body functioning and muscle atrophy. The daily recommended protein intake is about 46-63 grams for adults while lactating and pregnant women require up to 65 grams of protein in a day. The average daily value for protein intake is 50 grams which works for the majority of people.


Here are 10 sources of protein:


1. Fish

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Fish contains all essential amino acids making it an excellent source of proteins. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. It has low calories and is an incredible source of protein. Also, fish is essential in maintaining a healthy weight. There are a variety of fish with higher amounts of proteins:

  • Tuna

Tuna has a high amount of proteins as compared to other types of fish. Fresh tuna contains plenty of vitamins such as vitamins A, B6, and B12, A, and it is satiating. It provides about 50 grams of protein with significant levels of vitamins A, B12, and B6.

  • Cod

Cod is white flesh with a mild flavor packed with a high amount of proteins, minerals, and B vitamins. It has low calories, carbs, and fat. Cod contains approximately 85 grams per serving and 1 gram of fat. It contains phosphorus essential in bones and teeth together with the formation of B vitamins. Selenium in cod plays an important role in protecting DNA.

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  • Salmon fillet

Salmon fillet is a surprising source of complete and high-quality protein that provides all the essential amino acids that the body requires. Salmon provides approximately 22-25g of protein in 3.5-ounce per 100 grams serving.


2. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein. A single egg contains about 6 grams of protein and all the essential amino acids in an appropriate ratio. Eggs are relatively cheap compared to other high-protein foods like meat. Protein can be found in the egg white and yolk, but the yolk has a much higher protein concentration. But due to the egg white being more than the yolk in an egg, it makes up about 3.6 grams of protein while the yolk contains approximately 2.7 grams.


Cooking eggs make the proteins more digestible. About 91% of the protein in a cooked egg is absorbed compared to about 51% in a raw egg. Since raw eggs can contain bacteria called salmonella, it is recommended to cook to destroy them. How you prepare your egg will not change the original protein content of an egg, but it will affect how much protein you absorb from the egg. Plenty of protein from an egg without added saturated fat intake, i.e., poached or boiled, or cooked in healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil rather than butter yield the most protein absorption levels. Eggs will surprisingly help you achieve your daily protein intake.


3. Chicken meat

Chicken is among popular protein-rich food. The chicken comes with different cuts with different protein content, calories, and fat. Here are parts of the chicken with different quantities of protein.

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  • Lean chicken breast

Chicken breast has an excellent amount of protein. In 172g it contains 54% grams of protein which is equivalent to 31g of protein per 100g. Chicken breast has low calories of about 165 per 100g. Its nature of low calories and availability of protein means that you can consume more chicken without worrying about consuming high amounts of calories.

  • Chicken thighs

Chicken thighs are another popular cut of meat that is relatively cheaper with a high amount of protein. Chicken thigh that is boneless and cooked, about 52g, contains about 13.5 grams of protein which is equivalent to 26 grams of protein in 100g. It also has about 109 calories per thigh. The unique chicken thigh has a slightly darker color compared to the chicken breast because chicken legs are more active and contain myoglobin molecules that provide sufficient oxygen to muscles making them redder which gives a succulent taste to some people.

  • Chicken wings

The boneless chicken wings of 21 grams have about 6.4g of protein which is approximately 30.5g of protein per 100 grams. It also has about 42 calories in 1 wing and about 203 calories per 100 grams of which 64 % comes from proteins and 36% from fat.

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  • Chicken drumstick

Chicken drumsticks have about 13.4 grams of protein in 44 grams of chicken drumsticks without bones and skin. It is equivalent to about 28.3g of protein in 100 grams. You get approximately 76 calories per drumstick, which is about 172 calories per 100 g. 70% of the calories come from protein, and the other 30 % comes from fat. Chicken is one of the most consumed meat and is common among fitness enthusiasts as it is a great source of protein that helps you reach your health and fitness goals like maintaining your muscles and losing fat.


4. Peas

Peas are an excellent plant-based source of protein which makes them unique from other vegetables. You get approximately 4 grams of protein per serving with a low amount of about 62 calories in 80 grams one-half cup, 73% comes from carbs, 24% from protein, and the other 2% from fat. Other than protein, it is a powerhouse of multiple nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin K, and B vitamins which are crucial to our health.

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5. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds contain all the nine essential amino acids making them a complete source of protein that your body must get from food. In a quarter cup of 30 grams serving, hemp seed contains 15 grams of protein. About 91-98% of the protein in hemp seed is digestible which means that your body can use all the amino acids from hemp protein for maintenance and repair. Cold-pressed protein found in hemp is easy to digest and has high-quality protein content. It also contains about 8g of fiber which is relatively more compared to other plant-based proteins. In addition, hemp protein powder made from hemp seeds has natural fat of about 3 grams in a quarter of (30 gram) which is unsaturated and a sufficient amount of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids a ratio of 3:1 which promotes health. It is worth trying a small amount of hemp protein. You can mix it with smoothies and other ingredients.


6. Avocado

Avocado is among the fruits that have an excellent amount of protein that’s quite surprising. 1 avocado contains about 4 grams of protein and approximately 322 calories. It is loaded with fibers that are good for weight loss and the availability of natural fat which is essential in blood pressure control and joints.

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Avocado provides essential nutrients in your immune system such as vitamins B6, C, and E, potassium, and magnesium. Regular intake of avocado helps to improve one’s diet quality considering adding sliced avocado in your meal helps to meet the recommended daily protein intake.


7. Lean ground beef

Beef is majorly composed of proteins. It contains approximately 23g of protein in 4 ounces of lean beef. It also contains 170 calories with about 3.4 g of saturated fats. Red meat is a good source of iron and vitamin B12 essential in the production of red blood cells. B vitamins are typically found in animal products such as beef. Beef contains conjugated linoleic acid that is linked to weight loss and other bioactive substances like taurine and cholesterol.


8. Pumpkin seeds

Modern science acknowledges that pumpkin seed has a considerable amount of protein content and numerous nutrient profiles that are essential for good health. It contains about 19 grams of protein per 100g.

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Pumpkin seeds contain unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that are essential in reducing the risks of chronic diseases. It is easy to add pumpkin seeds to your diet as they make a great snack on their own. You can blend them with other ingredients, mix with yogurt or cereals, or bake them with bread. Pumpkin seeds are small with multiple nutrients and proteins.


9. Greek yogurt

Many yogurts are excellent sources of protein. Greek yogurt is different from them because it’s has creamier and thicker texture. It provides about 20 grams of protein in a 7-ounce (200 g) serving. Greek yogurt has a variety of essential minerals and vitamins such as B12, zinc, and selenium which are crucial elements in supporting your health. Greek yogurt is stain-produced by eliminating liquid whey thereby having twice as much protein as the one in regular yogurt. Sufficient intake of protein in your body results in a prolonged feeling of fullness which in turn decreases the amount of calories intake thus promoting weight loss. It a good to have Greek yogurt and add it to your meal like fruits for natural sweetness.


10. Soybeans

Soybeans contain an incredible amount of protein and a sufficient amount of fats and carbs. In dried weight, it produces s protein content of 36-56%. Boiled Soybean contains about 29 grams of protein in one cup (172 g). Glycinin and conglycinin are the main types of proteins in soybeans which takes approximately 80% of the total protein content in soybeans.

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Proteins in soybeans are linked with low cholesterol levels. It also has a fair amount of fiber, which are both soluble and insoluble, minerals, and vitamins responsible for soybean’s health effects on your body.


The human body needs tiny building blocks known as amino acids but cannot make them on its own; therefore, one needs to get them in one’s diet by including proteins. However, older people, active people, breastfeeding, or pregnant people require a much higher protein consumption levels. Hitting your daily recommended protein intake is easy if you include plenty of food and supplements rich in proteins.



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