Protein-Rich Foods: These Foods Contain A Lot Of Protein

Protein-rich foods keep you full longer, are healthy, support muscle building and help you lose weight. We show you which foods optimally cover your protein needs.

Protein-rich foods are very important for a healthy and balanced diet.

They not only help you to reach your ideal weight faster and stay full longer, but also regulate your metabolism, muscle growth, and fat loss.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends that 15-20 percent of our daily diet should consist of protein-rich foods. This prevents unpopular cravings, constant appetite, and the dreaded yo-yo effect.

We show you which foods work best, what athletes would have to consider, and what alternatives there are in a vegan diet.

Protein-rich nutrition: Your protein requirement per day

According to the DGE, a healthy adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Example: 60 kg body weight = 48 g protein per day
Thus, on average, an adult man needs about 60-70 grams and an adult woman about 50 grams of protein.
However, strength and endurance athletes have a higher requirement for protein-rich foods – experts recommend 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight here. Exception with a strong definition of the musculature: there the standard value lies between 2.2 and 2.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Caution: if you have a kidney condition, too much protein can put additional strain on the kidneys. Especially if you rely on animal protein sources.

Top 10 protein-rich foods

  • soy flakes

The low-carb counterpart to oatmeal: soy flakes consist of almost half protein – 40.6 g per 100 g. Especially for vegans and vegetarians a brilliant source of protein. The flakes taste great in mueslis, smoothies, and vegetable pans.

  • parmesan

Would you have known? Parmesan contains 38 grams of protein per 100 grams of hard cheese – the number one cheese.

  • hemp seeds

No, you won’t get “high” from hemp seeds. They have been among the superfoods for centuries. And not without reason – hemp seeds are bursting with vital substances and protein (37 g per 100 g). Suitable for pasta, protein shakes, and porridge.

  • Harz cheese

Harz cheese contains a particularly high amount of high-quality protein, which can be well utilized by the muscles. For every 100 g of cheese, there are 30 g of protein.

  • Serrano ham

The protein bomb among the ham slices: The Spanish, lean ham specialty contains 30 g of protein per 100 g.

  • Beef lean

Lean beef (tenderloin, rump steak, topside) provides you with 26 g of protein per 100 g of meat. A true fitter for the immune system, head, and muscles.

  • peanuts

In a direct comparison, the protein content of peanuts, at 26 g per 100 g, is even higher than that of almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Peanuts are really healthy when eaten in moderation.

  • seitan (steak)

The third vegan food in the “top ten”! Seitan is a great vegan protein supplier: 25 g per 100 g. Another plus: the meat substitute is also low in fat and carbohydrates.

  • pumpkin seeds

In addition to hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds are a high-quality, vegetable protein source with health-promoting ingredients. In the small, green pumpkin seeds are 24 g of protein per 100 g.

  • tuna (in its own juice)

For a lot of muscle: The protein from tuna is almost completely converted into a muscle mass by the body. With 23 g of protein per 100 g, tuna is one of the most protein-rich fish species.

A high-protein diet for athletes: what you need to know

You can achieve optimal muscle growth not only through hard training but also through a protein-rich diet.

Because a muscle grows by storing more proteins in it. When you exercise, the body consumes amino acids (proteins are biological macromolecules made up of amino acids) – sometimes more than three times the normal amount.

The body takes much longer to recover if more of them are depleted and you don’t replenish accordingly.

According to the Institute of Sports Nutrition (dise), it is therefore recommended to consume a daily protein content between 1.2-1.6 g per kilogram of body weight.

An example: 80 kg body weight x 1.4 g protein /per kg = 112 g protein per day.

When it comes to protein intake, the biological value of your protein source is very important. It indicates how much of the ingested protein can actually be converted into the body’s own protein, i.e. into muscle mass.

If a food contains all nine essential amino acids that cannot be formed by the body itself, then it is a very good protein source. With a value of 100, the egg serves as a reference value.

The following foods also have a high biological value and immediately convert dietary protein into muscle protein:

Lean beef (92%), tuna (92%), chicken (90%), fish species (80-95%), granular cream cheese/cottage cheese (81%), lean cottage cheese (81%), tofu (53%), and beans (51%).

The Institute for Sports Nutrition also points out that “the combination of plant and animal protein sources significantly increases the protein quality for the body.”

In this regard, the intake of plant foods should cover half of the total protein intake per day.

Vegans or people who eat a mainly vegetarian diet should consume 20 percent more protein than the stated guideline (1.2-1.6 g protein/kg body weight per day), thereby compensating for the slightly lower content of essential protein sources.

Those who want to build up an extreme amount of muscle mass, i.e. bodybuilders, should consume a daily protein content of 2.2 to 2.8 g/kg body weight.

Vegan protein sources: These are the best

If you eat a vegan diet, you can fall back on many plant-based protein sources.

A protein deficiency – as often claimed – can therefore not arise. On the contrary: vegan protein sources provide, besides the high protein content, also super many good vitamins and minerals.

The plant foods with the highest protein content are Hemp seeds, soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, tempeh, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, quinoa, tofu, mushrooms, broccoli, and peanuts.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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