The 25 Foods with the Most Protein

Ensuring protein consumption is essential to achieve good muscle health. Therefore, we are going to show you which are the foods with the highest content of these nutrients.
The 25 Foods with the Most Protein
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 13 July, 2023

It’s essential to ensure that protein requirements are met in our daily diet. These nutrients have multiple functions within the human body. They are necessary to build tissues, but they also participate in hormonal and metabolic reactions. For this reason, we’re going to tell you which are the foods with the most protein.

You must always bear in mind that there are two types of proteins according to their origin. Those of animal origin have a higher quality or biological value than those of a vegetable type. This is due to the fact that they contain all the essential amino acids and they have a good score in terms of digestibility.

Foods with the most protein

We are now going to tell you which are the foods with the most protein, in order for you to include them in your diet. However, don’t forget to also consume products with high-quality carbohydrates and fats. The key to a good diet is variety.


Salmon is one of the best fish that we can find. It contain proteins of high biological value. It is also capable of providing a significant amount of omega-3 series fatty acids. These compounds have an anti-inflammatory character, according to a study published in the journal International Immunology.

Regular consumption of salmon is beneficial for maintaining good cardiovascular health. Also for athletes, as it facilitates recovery after exertion. In addition, it has the advantage of not containing excessive amounts of mercury like other large fish.


Beef is one of the foods with the highest protein content that should appear at least once a week in the diet. It’s a key element in achieving optimal muscle function. It also favors the hypertrophy processes of lean tissue.

It must be borne in mind that daily it’s necessary to consume more than 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. This is indicated by research published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. This is in the case of sedentary people. Athletes can triple this requirement.

On the other hand, veal contains a large amount of essential micronutrients. Among them, iron stands out, whose deficit generates anemia and a state of constant fatigue. It is important to ensure its regular presence in the diet, especially of animal origin, since its absorption rate is high.

Pork meat

Pork is among the foods with the most protein
Pork, in addition to being nutritious, has the advantage that it can be incorporated into multiple culinary recipes. In fact, it is present in almost all cultures.

Pork is considered an excellent quality product. Of course, the animal’s diet will influence the type of fatty acids that the final product contains.

However, it’s important to note that saturated lipids are not harmful to health as such. This is evidenced by a study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. They are simply fats that are more sensitive to high temperatures, which is why they become trans-type more easily. This transformation is what is really problematic.


Egg proteins are considered the highest quality. In fact, they should be consumed very often, especially in the case of people who do sports. For many years their intake was limited by worries about cholesterol levels. However, the existing suspicions have now been ruled out.

Eggs are considered one of the best high-protein foods. It stands out for its great versatility at the culinary level. However, it is important to avoid frying it. Otherwise, it could contain trans fatty acids, a series of nutrients with inflammatory capacities that are harmful to the body.

Whole milk

Dairy products are a way to complete the diet’s protein intake of high biological value. Of course, they must always be consumed whole. When the fat is removed, a large amount of fat-soluble vitamins are lost, such as A and D. Both are necessary to maintain good health in the medium and long term.

Another good option to increase your protein intake are yogurts. These products, in addition to quality proteins and micronutrients, have probiotic bacteria inside. These microorganisms selectively colonize the digestive tract, generating a benefit for the host. This is evidenced by a study published in the Journal of Microbiology.

Beef liver: organ meats are among the foods with the most protein

Organ meats are foods that stand out for their high nutritional density. They provide quality proteins, but also essential micronutrients to ensure that the body functions correctly. In fact, they are usually recommended when some kind of nutritional deficit is suspected.

Specifically, the liver is a source of iron and zinc. This last element is key to improving the immune response to infections. It manages to participate in the differentiation of the cells of the white series, those in charge of keeping the defense system of the human body functional. This mineral should be consumed regularly to avoid getting sick frequently.


Lentils stand out for their fiber content, quality carbohydrates, and vegetable proteins. It’s important to note that the latter are lacking in some essential amino acids, but they help to complete the daily requirements. As a general rule, it is recommended to mix them with a grain such as rice, which has the amino acids that legumes lack.

In any case, it should be noted that not all people have a good tolerance to legumes at an intestinal level. They can increase gases and heavy digestion. To avoid this effect, it’s advisable to subject them to a long cooking process over low heat, making their fibers soften.

If there’s still no improvement, there could be an underlying problem that affects the digestive process. An example would be intestinal dysbiosis, a pathology very sensitive to the inclusion of fiber in the diet. In these cases, a fermentation is experienced that leads to discomfort and gas.


When we talk about foods that are high in protein, we can’t forget about nuts. Specifically, almonds stand out for their concentration of these nutrients. They have the advantage that they are easy to transport and can be consumed anywhere.

It’s important to buy them toasted or natural. You can find many unhealthy varieties such as fried or caramelized. These contain a large amount of simple sugars and trans fatty acids. The latter have been shown to be capable of increasing the incidence of many complex pathologies, so their presence must be limited in the diet.

Soy, one of the plant foods with the most protein

Soy is one of the foods of plant origin with the highest protein content. For many years it was recommended that men shouldn’t use this product, as the isoflavones they contain may be harmful to them. However, the most current evidence suggests that soy is safe and beneficial for both men and women.

In the case of women, this food is especially positive. It contains a large number of compounds with estrogenic activity, favorable (to a certain extent) for women’s health. They help to reduce the symptoms of menopause and improve levels of well-being. They can even prevent loss of bone density, which prevents fractures in the medium term.

Green peas

Peas are a type of vegetable considered legumes from a botanical point of view. Because of this, they share many characteristics with the foods of this same group. Among them, its high protein content stands out. Although they’re of low biological value, they’re useful in ensuring that daily requirements are met.

There are many commercial protein supplements for pea protein. But they can also be added as an ingredient to many culinary preparations, increasing their nutritional density. On the other hand, they contain fiber, which improves intestinal transit and helps prevent constipation.


A series of vegan-friendly meat substitutes have been developed from soy and have become widely consumed around the world. Tofu is one of them. This food provides protein in significant quantities despite having a very low energy value.

It can be introduced in the context of any diet, both vegan and flexible. It’s considered a healthy product and has a lot of versatility at a culinary level. However, not everyone likes its taste, and its texture can also be subject to conflict. Even so, it can be easily camouflaged in almost any culinary preparation, improving the nutritional density of the dish.

Chia seeds

Seeds are in fashion, there’s no doubt about that. They are foods that provide many calories, so they must be consumed in moderation. However, they’re considered beneficial for health. They provide protein, quality fatty acids, fiber, and essential micronutrients.

They can be added to yogurts, dairy products, salads, vegetable creams, and a host of other preparations. Also, there are many varieties available to the consumer, so the options are wide. However, from a taste point of view, they aren’t highly valued. Even so, they can improve the organoleptic quality of the preparation by generating a crunchy touch.


Cheese has many beneficial properties for the body. It contains calcium, a fundamental mineral to ensure good bone density in the medium and long term. In addition, the fatty acids it has are of good quality. These are of the saturated type, but cis, which is the most important. Therefore, they don’t negatively alter the biochemical parameters of the organism.

In addition, cheese is an excellent source of proteins of high biological value. It is a perfect product to consume between meals. It generates satiety, it isn’t excessively caloric, it doesn’t contain added sugars and it provides essential nutrients. It’s possible to find different commercial preparations, and depending on the variety, the energy content may vary.

Serrano ham

Sausages and cold meats are considered unhealthy food, but there are exceptions. Serrano ham is one of them, although it’s important to first check the labeling to ensure that it is a food suitable for regular consumption. The most decisive thing is that it doesn’t contain additives such as nitrites in its composition. These can be negative for health in the medium term.

On the other hand, if the pig it comes from was fed with acorns, in addition to protein, this product will provide a good amount of unsaturated fatty acids. It’s always essential that the animals we consume have been raised in freedom and under a natural feeding process.


We cannot talk about foods with the highest protein content without mentioning cocoa. We are talking about its purest variety, not commercial chocolate. The latter is considered ultra-processed due to its high content of simple sugars and trans fats. Its consumption must be punctual so that this doesn’t negatively impact the state of health.

However, pure and bitter cocoa is a high-quality food that contains protein. In addition, it provides beneficial fatty acids for the body. It also contains essential micronutrients that can help keep the human body in a functional state. It is important to remember that a deficit of the latter can trigger the development of pathologies in the medium term.

Peanut butter, one of the foods with the most protein

An excellent way to consume nuts is through their butters. It’s essential to check the labels well, to make sure that they don’t have added sugars in their composition. Otherwise, they would become poor quality products. If the butter is made only with peanuts, it’s possible to introduce this food into your diet.

When consuming this kind of food, it’s important to remember that they have high energy density. They must be ingested in a moderate and prudent way. If the recommended amounts are exceeded, you may experience an excessive gain in fat mass.


Poultry meat is characterized by its concentration in proteins of high biological value and by its low calorie content. It usually appears in the context of weight loss diets. It’s important to cook it well, unlike beef and pork, which can be eaten undercooked. This is because birds are reservoirs for pathogens.

As a general rule, it is recommended that the weekly intake of white meat is higher than that of red meat. Although this position generates many controversies, the truth is that poultry meat has a high nutritional quality.


Marine products are usually a good option to consume proteins of high biological value. Seafood in general has a low energy intake, while it contains quality nutrients. The main problem with this type of food is the price, as they’re usually very expensive at certain times of the year.

In addition to protein, shrimp are a good source of iodine. This element is key to getting the thyroid to function optimally, as evidenced by research published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research. An adequate consumption of the mineral is able to prevent alterations in the formation of some hormones, which could cause hypothyroidism.


Among the foods with more protein are clams
Seafood products, despite not having a high energy density, are rich in proteins and micronutrients. Clams are a clear example.

Clams are highly valued products in certain parts of the world. They are an excellent resource to prevent anemia, being recommended foods in the athlete’s diet. They contain iron, iodine, potassium and proteins of high biological value, important nutrients when the body is subjected to high-intensity physical work sessions.

However, you have to be careful with seafood. Although poisoning is rare, it always poses a greater risk than eating other foods. For example, pregnant women should avoid its consumption. In the event that there is contamination with a bacterium, the result can be very negative at an intestinal level.

Turkey luncheon meat

It is important to moderate the presence of processed cold meats in the diet. As a general rule, the consumption of chorizo, salami, mortadella and fatty and highly processed products is discouraged. However, cold cuts may be an exception. As long as it is made from a majority percentage of poultry meat, it can be considered a valid option to improve protein intake.

With this food, it’s possible to make sandwiches. It can even be consumed naturally, or accompanied by cheese. Its intake as a snack increases the feeling of satiety and helps satisfy the requirements of certain essential nutrients.


Like with peanuts, hazelnuts are nuts that provide a good dose of protein. They also have high-quality unsaturated fatty acids inside. They even contain essential micronutrients that are important for maintaining good health, such as some minerals.

It’s possible to include hazelnuts in snacks, although you have to be very careful with nut butters made out of them. Often these types of products tend to stand out for having sugar as the main ingredient, which spoils the nutritional value of the food itself.


An option for those who like legumes but experience heavy digestion after consumption is hummus. This dish of Arab origin is made mainly with chickpeas and spices. By subjecting these products to a mechanical grinding process, their digestibility is improved. This is because the breakage of the fibers reduces fermentation at the intestinal level.

In addition, it’s possible to find some types of hummus in the supermarket with other ingredients outside of the traditional recipe, such as avocado. This ensures the presence of unsaturated fatty acids inside the product, thus making it more beneficial for health.


Hake is also one of the foods with the most protein and nutrients of high biological value. In addition, they are less caloric and heavy from a digestive point of view.

They are ideal products to introduce in the context of a hypocaloric diet, or to improve the symptoms of those who suffer from intestinal problems. However, it is recommended to avoid frying it or accompanying it with sauces.


Beans belong to the legume group and, as such, provide significant amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. It is important to ensure a slow cooking of these foods to improve subsequent digestion and avoid excessive gas production, which could cause intestinal discomfort.


Among the substitute foods for meats for vegan diets is seitan. This product is made from the gluten of cereals, so it is in no case suitable for celiacs. For people with a sensitivity to protein in the diet, it can actually be counterproductive. Even so, in healthy people, it can improve the total protein value of the diet.

Introduce foods with more protein in the diet

Now you know which are the foods with the most protein. It’s important that you introduce them regularly in the diet to meet the requirements of these nutrients. Otherwise, the development of certain pathologies, including sarcopenia, could be accelerated.

Likewise, it’s essential to accompany the consumption of proteins with the practice of physical exercise on a regular basis. Sports activity keeps the body active and the muscles strong, which is associated with a lower risk of death in the medium term.

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