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Foods High in Protein: Which Ones Should You Add to Your Diet?

Foods High in Protein: Which Ones Should You Add to Your Diet?

Protein is one of the most important nutrients. All of the cells in our body contain protein, and we use protein to repair tissues and maintain our organs1. And eating foods high in protein can help us get the recommended amount we need.

However, not all protein sources are created equal. Some types of foods, such as beef, are high in protein, but also high in fat and cholesterol. This is why it’s important to choose the right kinds of foods high in protein.

7 Healthy Foods High In Protein

The most convenient source of protein comes from animals. Animal protein is considered “complete,” or a high-quality source of protein2.

But if animal protein is already complete, why do we need other sources? One reason is that some people might follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet. This means that they would have to get their protein from plant-based sources.

Another reason is that eating too much meat, red meat in particular, has been linked to a number of health problems. This includes type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and obesity.

The foods listed below are a mix of both plant and animal-based protein. However, we made sure to choose only the healthiest sources of protein. This means that they are very nutritious, but low in fat, cholesterol, and other things that can be harmful if consumed too much.

1. Fish

One of the foods high in protein is fish. Fish contain a lot of protein, and they are also low in fat.

In addition, fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon, and tuna, all contain omega-3, which is good for the heart, and can lower cholesterol.

2. Lean poultry

Another healthy source of protein is poultry. People usually don’t realize this, but chicken can be low in fat and high in protein. It all depends on how you prepare and cook the chicken.

For example, if you’re steaming or grilling chicken, you can take out the skin to reduce its fat content. The same goes for other types of poultry such as duck or turkey. In particular, poultry breast contains a lot of protein and can be very tasty if you prepare it properly.

3. Beans

Among the foods high in protein, beans are among the healthiest.

This is because aside from protein, beans also contain fiber, and they are low in fat and carbohydrates. Beans are also a very versatile ingredient, and you can easily add it to dishes such as soups and stews.

4. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein3. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sesame, and sunflower seeds are all great health foods.

Nuts and seeds contain protein, fiber, and even omega-3. They also contain other “good” fats and can help give you a quick energy boost when eaten as a snack. Just make sure to avoid adding salt to your nuts, or only add a very small amount.

5. Eggs

Eggs are one of the best foods high in protein. This is because eggs are low in calories, but high in protein and other nutrients.

One common misconception about eggs is that they’re high in cholesterol. This might be true, but the cholesterol found in eggs doesn’t increase cholesterol levels as much as trans-fats, or fats found in red meat do.

As long as you eat eggs in moderation, there’s nothing to be worried about.

6. Dairy

Dairy can also be a good and healthy source of protein4. Aside from protein, dairy products also contain a lot of calcium and vitamin D which are good for your bones.

Though, it is important to eat dairy products in moderation, especially milk and cheese, as they can be high in fat. A good alternative would be to eat low-fat yogurt, which contains all of the benefits of milk, but also has good bacteria and is low in fat.

7. Tofu and soy products

Last on the list of foods high in protein are tofu and soy products. Tofu can be a good substitute for meat, and soy products, in general, contain a high amount of protein. You can even substitute soymilk for regular milk if you’re a vegetarian.

Learn more healthy eating tips, here.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  1. Protein in diet: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm#:~:text=Every%20cell%20in%20the%20human,%2C%20teens%2C%20and%20pregnant%20women., Accessed September 2, 2021
  2. Protein – Better Health Channel, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/protein, Accessed September 2, 2021
  3. Choosing Healthy Protein – HelpGuide.org, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-protein.htm, Accessed September 2, 2021
  4. Protein | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/, Accessed September 2, 2021
  5. Protein and Heart Health | American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/protein-and-heart-health, Accessed September 2, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 3 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.