Monday, December 18, 2017

Protein has never been more popular. It’s so popular every food producer’s cramming the stuff into their grub. Should you so desire, you can start your day with a bowl of Weetabix Protein, dine on high-protein bread or pasta, and snack on a protein-packed Bounty bar in between, washing it all down with protein-enriched water.

The reason for this popularity is protein’s vital role in building muscle. When you work out you cause small, microscopic tears in your muscles so you need protein – which is made up of amino acids, also known as the building blocks of muscle – to repair this damage and rebuild your muscles bigger and stronger.

Even if you’re not working out regularly, protein is a vital nutrient for building and maintaining body tissues, and the NHS recommends that men eat 55.5g a day. If you are very active you will want to increase that significantly, even if you focus on endurance sports rather than strength training. Endurance athletes should look to eat 1.2-1.4g per kg of bodyweight every day, while strength athletes should aim for 1.2-1.7g per kg of bodyweight daily.

RECOMMENDED: High-Protein Diets

Before turning to supplements or protein-enriched food to meet your protein quota, take a spin through our list of high-protein foods – there’s a good chance you can get more than enough protein through your diet. We’ve started with a complete list ranked by their protein content per 100g, then broken up the list into food groups – meat, seafood, meat replacements, eggs and dairy, and nuts, seeds and legumes. Have at it.

31 High-Protein Foods Ranked By Protein Content Per 100g

  1. Beef jerky 30-40g
  2. Parmesan 32g
  3. Tuna steak 32g
  4. Turkey 30g
  5. Peanuts 25-28g
  6. Edam 27g
  7. Canned tuna 25g
  8. Cheddar 25g
  9. Beef 20-24g
  10. Chicken 24g
  11. Salmon 24g
  12. Almonds 21g
  13. Sardines 21g
  14. Cod 20g
  15. Lamb 20g
  16. Mackerel 20g
  17. Tempeh 20g
  18. Cashew nuts 18g
  19. Mussels 18g
  20. Chia seeds 17g
  21. Quorn mince 14.5g
  22. Brazil nuts 14g
  23. Edamame beans 13g
  24. Eggs 13g
  25. Tofu 12g
  26. Cottage cheese 10g
  27. Greek yogurt 10g
  28. Lentils 7-9g
  29. Kidney beans 8g
  30. Chickpeas 7g
  31. Peas 6g

Meat

Beef jerky

Protein content: 30-40g

Keep some of these dried, cured pieces of lean beef in your gym bag for a meaty hit of protein that doesn’t require firing up the grill. Different brands have different levels of protein – and make sure you check the label for added sugar and the salt content, because both can be alarmingly high.

Turkey

Protein content: 30g

A turkey supper shouldn’t just be for Christmas: the festive bird contains more protein per gram than most other meats including its greatest feathered rival – chicken.

Chicken

Protein content: 24g

The classic lean protein source. Chicken contains vast amounts of protein while being very low in fat, especially if you opt for skinless breasts.

Beef

Protein content: 20-24g

Different cuts have different levels of protein but you can rely on beef to bring in plenty of muscle fuel in whatever form you take it. Opt for leaner cuts to avoid eating too much saturated fat.

Lamb

Protein content: 20g

Those sweet little lambs you see frolicking in the fields every spring? They’re also excellent sources of protein. That’s how Mary got so hench.

Seafood

Tuna steak

Protein content: 32g

The “chicken of the sea” is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, among other valuable nutrients, as well as protein. It’s far more meaty and flavoursome than the canned version (with a price to match).

Canned tuna

Protein content: 25g

A cupboard well-stocked with tuna canned in spring water will see you through all manner of hardships. It’s packed with protein and virtually fat-free.

Salmon

Protein content: 24g

As well as plenty of protein, the pink flesh of salmon contains loads of omega 3 fatty acids that make it great for a range of things from eye health to reducing the risk of heart disease.

Sardines

Protein content: 21g

This fish is remarkably cheap if you buy the canned kind and it contains omega 3 fats as well last protein. Make sardines your new favourite toast topping.

Cod

Protein content: 20g

This fish is low in fat, but full of flavour. Naturally we’d advise avoiding battered versions due to the extra fat they contain.

Mackerel

Protein content: 20g

Both the fillet and canned versions of this oily fish are great picks for a quick and tasty protein hit. Try not to pair them with chips, though, or you’ll blow your daily salt intake out of the water.

Mussels

Protein content: 18g

Mussels – a famously popular foodstuff in Belgium. Belgium – home of “The Muscles From Brussels”, Jean-Claude van Damme. Coincidence? At 18g of protein per 100g of mussel meat, we think not.

Meat Replacements

Tempeh

Protein content: 20g

Tofu is not the only soy product in town and tempeh actually outdoes its more famous cousin in terms of its protein and fibre content.

Quorn mince

Protein content: 14.5g

You can’t talk meat-free without mentioning Quorn. As well as containing a solid portion of protein, this mince alternative is high in fibre and low in fat.

Tofu

Protein content: 12g

Sure, we trash-talked tofu when bigging up tempeh, but it’s also a good source of protein. Tofu is also far more widely available than tempeh.

RECOMMENDED: The 30 Best Vegetarian Sources Of Protein

Eggs And Dairy

Parmesan

Protein content: 32g

No-one’s saying that eating 100g of parmesan in one sitting is a smart idea, but if you did the protein content would be a big upside.

Edam

Protein content: 27g

Take a tip from the Dutch next time you hit the cheese counter for a tasty treat that’s high in protein. Just make sure you also embrace the Dutch love of cycling too, so you work off the high amounts of saturated fat.

Cheddar

Protein content: 25g

Britain’s favourite cheese brings plenty of protein to the table. That includes the lower-fat versions, if you’re trying to keep your saturated fat intake down.

Eggs

Protein content: 13g

One of the finest ways to up your protein intake at breakfast time, a couple of medium eggs will easily net you over 10g of the stuff.

Cottage cheese

Protein content: 10g

You can get versions of cottage cheese with added protein nowadays, but even the standard stuff contains a good portion. Compared with other cheese it’s also relatively low in fat and salt.

Greek yogurt

Protein content: 10g

As well as protein, Greek (not Greek style) yogurt is packed full of healthy bacteria and enzymes that will do wonders for your digestive health.

Nuts, Seeds And Legumes

Peanuts

Protein content: 25-28g

The underground legume is a fabulous source of protein, and if you steer clear of the roasted and salted varieties, it’s a fairly healthy snack. In peanut butter form you’ll get around 4g of protein per tablespoon.

Almonds

Protein content: 21g

Along with their high protein content, almonds are also high in fibre and a great source of vitamin E, which is needed to maintain healthy skin and eyes.

Cashew nuts

Protein content: 18g

Any open packet of mixed nuts is quickly picked clean of all the cashews. Is that because they are the tastiest of nuts or because they’re high in protein? It’s probably the taste thing, but they’re protein-rich too.

Chia seeds

Protein content: 17g

The most in-vogue seed around is chock-full of fibre and protein, and most of the fat it contains is of the “good” unsaturated variety.

Brazil nuts

Protein content: 14g

Fun fact: brazil nut trees can grow to 50m in height and live for up to 1,000 years. They can be so tall that when the fruit ripens and drops it reaches speeds of up to 80km/h on the the way to the ground. Still thinking about protein? The nuts contain protein.

Edamame beans

Protein content: 13g

These tasty beans can be bought frozen to consume at your convenience and add a shot of fibre, vitamins and minerals to your diet alongside the protein. If you find them a tad bland try livening them up with fresh lemon juice, smoked paprika and a pinch of salt.

Lentils

Protein content: 7-9g

Whatever your favourite type of lentil is, you can be sure it’s adding some extra protein to your plate. Use them to thicken meaty stews and bulk up salads.

Chickpeas

Protein content: 7g

One of the earliest cultivated legumes – dating back 7,500 years in the Middle East – chickpeas are particularly rich in folate, a B vitamin that helps to support and maintain a healthy nervous system. Blend with lemon, fresh garlic and tahini for an easy and delicious homemade hummus.

Kidney beans

Protein content: 8g

A 120g serving (half a regular can) provides an impressive 7.4g of fibre, which plays a key role in healthy digestive function, as well as 8.3g of protein. Don’t confine these tasty beans to chilli con carne – they’re great in curries, stews and salads too.

Peas

Protein content: 6g

It may seem the most basic, bland, at-least-the-children’ll-eat-them legume there is, but a few spoonfuls of peas adds a useful amount of protein to your plate.