10 Foods That Are Almost Pure Protein

10 Foods That Are Almost Pure Protein

Protein can be found in a lot of foods, but certain options are better than others. From chicken to egg whites, choose these foods to pack your diet with protein.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that serves many functions in your body.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.37 grams (g) per pound (lb) of body weight, or 0.8 g per kilogram (kg) (1).

However, physically active individuals need 0.6–0.9 g per lb, or 1.4–2 g per kg (1, 2).

Research shows that high protein diets also aid weight loss (3).

The simplest way to increase your protein intake is to eat more high protein foods.

That said, not all high protein foods are created equal. Some of them are extremely high in this nutrient, containing almost nothing but protein and water.

Here are 10 foods that are almost pure protein, comprising 70{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories or more.

Chicken is one of the most commonly consumed high protein foods.

The breast is the leanest part. Each 3-ounce (oz), or 85 g, serving of roasted, skinless chicken breast will provide you about 27 g of protein and 140 calories (4).

Some studies show that eating chicken on a high protein diet can help you lose weight and increase muscle mass when paired with resistance training. However, the same benefits are also seen when beef is the main protein source (5, 6).

A chicken’s nutrient profile is often affected by its diet. Pasture-raised chickens have higher antioxidant and omega-3 levels (7).

Besides protein, chicken is a great source of niacin, vitamin B6, selenium, and phosphorus (4).

Protein content in 100 g: 31 g (73{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Chicken breast is a very popular source of protein, with a 3-oz (85-g) breast providing 27 g. It’s also a great source of minerals and B vitamins.

Turkey is a low fat source of protein. The breast is the leanest part of the bird.

Each 3-oz (85-g) serving of roasted, skinless turkey breast contains about 26 g of protein and 125 calories (8).

Turkey is also high in niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium. It’s likewise a good source of phosphorus and zinc (8).

It also contains high amounts of tryptophan. This amino acid helps synthesize serotonin, an important neurotransmitter (9).

Protein content in 100 g: 30 g (82{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Turkey is a low calorie source of protein, which comprises about 82{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of its calories. It also contains B vitamins and minerals, such as selenium and zinc.

Like most other animal foods, eggs have high quality protein that contains all the amino acids.

Most of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in eggs are found in the yolk. However, egg whites contain about 60{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of the protein in an egg (10, 11).

A 1-cup (243-g) serving of egg whites offers 27 g of protein and only about 126 calories (10).

Protein content in 100 g: 11 g (85{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Egg whites mostly consist of water and protein. About 85{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of the calories in egg whites are from protein.

Dried fish is a tasty snack that comes in many varieties.

For a high protein, low fat option, choose cod, halibut, haddock, or flounder.

Just 1 oz (28 g) of dried fish can provide 18 g of protein (12).

Dried fish has many benefits. For example, it’s also loaded with vitamin B12, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and other nutrients (12).

Protein content in 100 g: 63 g (87{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Dried fish is extremely high in protein, which comprises up to 87{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of its calories. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids and large amounts of some vitamins and minerals.

Shrimp is a great food to include in your diet.

It’s not only high in protein but also low in calories, carbs, and fat. A 3-oz (85-g) serving of cooked shrimp contain 19 g of protein and only 101 calories (13).

Shrimp is rich in selenium, choline, and vitamin B12. It also contains good amounts of niacin, zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 (13).

What’s more, shrimp contain antioxidants like astaxanthin, which reduces inflammation and oxidative damage (14, 15).

Protein content in 100 g: 23 g (77{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Shrimp is a great source of protein, boasting up to 77{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of its calories. It also contains vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants.

Tuna is very low in calories and fat, which makes it an almost pure protein food.

A 3-oz (85-g) serving of cooked yellowfin tuna packs about 25 g of protein and only 110 calories (16).

It’s also a good source of B vitamins, plus minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Tuna also has antioxidant properties due to its high amounts of selenium. Just 3.5 oz (100 g) contains 196{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of the Daily Value.

Additionally, tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation.

Tuna tends to contain some mercury, but its high selenium content helps protect against mercury toxicity (17).

Children and people who are pregnant or nursing can enjoy 2–3 servings of canned tuna per week, as it is low in mercury (17).

These groups should limit their intake of other kinds of tuna that are higher in mercury — including albacore, white tuna, or yellowfin — to around one serving per week (17).

However, bigeye tuna should be avoided by children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to its mercury content (17).

Protein content in 100 g: 29 g (89{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Tuna is one of the leanest kinds of fish. It provides 25 g of protein in a 3.5-oz serving but is very low calories.

Halibut is another fish that is a great source of complete protein. A 3-oz (85-g) serving of halibut provides 19 g of protein and 94 calories (18).

Alaskan halibut is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it an effective anti-inflammatory food.

Halibut is likewise high in selenium. In addition, it has good amounts of vitamins B3, B6, and B12 and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium (18).

However, due to its mercury content, children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should limit their intake to one serving per week (17).

Protein content in 100 g: 23 g (83{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Halibut offers high amounts of complete protein, with 19 g in a 3-oz (100-g) serving. It’s high in omega-3s, B vitamins, and minerals like selenium and magnesium.

Tilapia is a popular, relatively inexpensive fish.

It is a white, freshwater fish that’s a great source of protein yet low in calories and fat.

One fillet (87 g) of tilapia can pack up to 23 g of protein and only 111 calories (19).

Tilapia has raised some controversy given its higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than other types of fish, at about 1:1 (20).

Nonetheless, the amount of omega-6 in a serving of tilapia is not nearly enough to be a cause for concern.

Tilapia is also a great source of B vitamins and minerals like selenium, phosphorus, and potassium (19).

Protein content in 100 g: 26 g (82{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Tilapia packs a lot of protein, at about 82{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories. It also contains B vitamins and minerals like selenium and phosphorus.

Cod is a cold-water fish with a delicious, flaky white meat.

This fish is full of protein. It’s also low in calories and has little fat. A 3-oz (85-g) serving has 16 g of protein and only 72 calories (21).

Cod is a good source of vitamins B3, B6, and B12, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which may offer benefits for heart health (22).

Additionally, cod contains selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Protein content in 100 g: 19 g (89{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Cod is a lean white fish with protein at 89{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories. It’s low in calories and fat, yet it contains vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Alaskan pollock is an excellent, mild-flavored fish.

Also known as walleye pollock, this white fish is packed with protein.

A 3-oz (85-g) serving contains 20 g of protein and about 94 calories (23).

Alaskan pollock is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains large amounts of choline and vitamin B12, as well as many other nutrients.

Interestingly, pollock is considered one of the best choices for seafood by the Food and Drug Administration, thanks to its low mercury level (17).

Protein content in 100 g: 24 g (86{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories)

summary

Pollock is a popular fish with protein at 86{ead4cb8c77dfcbdb67aba0af1ff8dfae0017fcc07a16fe7b51058939ac12c72a} of calories. It is very low in mercury but a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients.

The foods listed above are rich in protein.

Many have other health benefits as well due to their high content of omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals.

Because these foods are so high in protein, they’re also incredibly filling despite being low in calories.

For this reason, they are among the most weight loss friendly foods you can eat.

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