Highest-Protein Foods

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Protein is an essential nutrient needed for energy and muscle growth. It’s especially important in a bodybuilder’s diet, or for those looking to build lean muscle mass. Protein is an amino acid that helps to repair muscle tissue after a tough workout. The recommended daily allowance, or RDA, of protein is about 0.4 grams per pound of bodyweight, according to the University of California. Athletes often need a higher amount of protein per day, so it’s a good idea to consult your dietician or nutritionist to determine how much protein is right for you.


Duck meat is exceptionally high in lean protein, with nearly 52 grams of protein in a 7-8 oz. portion, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures published at the health and wellness website HeartSpring.net.


Chicken is a good source of protein with over 42 grams of protein in about a 5 oz. portion of stewed chicken. Chicken is also low in fat, compared to red meat and pork, so it’s a healthier choice for people with high cholesterol and/or heart problems.


Different types of fish have varying protein content, although they are all relatively high in protein. According to the USDA, some of the fish species that are highest in protein include halibut, sockeye salmon, haddock and rockfish. A 5-6 oz. cut of halibut or salmon can contain over 42 grams of protein. A fillet of haddock or rockfish—about a 5 oz. portion—contains 35 to 36 grams of protein or about seven grams of protein per ounce.


A staple protein source for vegetarians, soybeans has one of the highest concentrations of protein per ounce compared to all other vegetables. A 6 oz. portion, or about a cup, of cooked soybeans contains over 28 grams of protein, according to the USDA.


One oz. of peanuts contains about 7 grams of protein, according to the University of Nebraska. Pine nuts are equally high in protein with almonds and pistachios having nearly as much protein at about 6 grams of protein per ounce. While nuts are a great source of protein, they should be eaten in limited amounts because they are high in calories. An ounce of peanuts, for instance, contains 170 calories.