Protein-rich foods: These contain a lot of protein!

The question of which  foods contain the  most protein arises not only for those who want to lose weight. Protein intake is also important after exercise in order not to lose muscle mass and to be able to build muscle successfully. Protein, also known as protein, is contained in a wide variety of foods. We present the best protein suppliers in this photo series.

protein in the body and in food

Protein is the basic building block of human cells and is essential for survival. On average, humans consist of seven to 13 kilograms of proteins. In addition to building muscle cells, it is important for numerous bodily functions and as a component of organs.

Hormones are also formed with the help of protein. If we eat too little protein, this can lead to a lack of the hormones  dopamine  and norepinephrine, for example. The result: we feel weakened. In addition, protein also transports water-insoluble substances through our bloodstream. The transport protein hemoglobin, for example, ensures that oxygen from the lungs reaches the brain.

In addition to carbohydrates and fats, protein is also one of our main sources of energy. One gram of protein provides 4 kcal, which is the same as carbohydrates and about half as much as fat.

Proteins are made up of amino acids

The individual building blocks of proteins are  amino acids . These can be divided into essential and non-essential amino acids. Our body can produce the latter itself, but we depend on the essential amino acids through the intake of food. It is therefore important to eat foods that have the widest possible range of amino acids or to cleverly combine individual protein-rich foods.

How much protein does the human body need?

How much protein the body needs varies from person to person. The German Society for Nutrition recommends a daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for people between the ages of 19 and 65 with a normal level of activity.

Protein foods for vegetarians and vegans

There is a widespread assumption that  vegetarians , and especially vegans, find it difficult to meet their protein requirements on a daily basis. In addition to animal products such as chicken protein, meat and  milk  , all essential amino acids are also found in plant foods. However, since the vast majority of plant-based foods do not contain all the essential amino acids at once, a well thought-out combination of different food groups is particularly important in a vegan diet.


100 grams of chicken egg consists of about 13 grams of protein. Chicken protein is very similar to human protein and is therefore an optimal supplier of all essential amino acids.

But be careful:  Excessive consumption of chicken eggs is associated with high  cholesterol levels , among other things  , and thus promotes numerous lifestyle diseases.


While lean beef is not one of the healthiest foods, it is particularly rich in easily digestible protein because the protein it contains is very similar to that found in the human body.

Lean beef contains the most protein. 100 grams already contain about 22 grams of protein and consists of all essential amino acids for humans. In addition to protein,  meat is  also very rich in zinc and iron.


Among animal foods, fish is also an excellent source of protein. Fish and seafood are rich in the essential amino acids valine, leucine, threonine, lysine and tryptophan. The protein contained in fish is easily digestible for the body and can easily be converted into endogenous protein.

In addition to valuable proteins, fish also contains a very high content of  omega-3 fatty acids , which are of particular importance for brain performance, for example. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends eating fish once or twice a week, especially high-fat varieties such as mackerel, salmon or herring.

milk and milkproducts

Milk and dairy products such as quark and cheese contain large amounts of the milk protein casein. For example, 100 milliliters of cow’s milk contains eight grams of protein.

Whether milk is considered a healthy food or not has been the subject of controversy for a number of years. Some studies emphasize that milk and milk products are particularly important for children and for an adequate intake of calcium.

Other studies, on the other hand, indicate that the consumption of cow’s milk is associated with the occurrence of  allergies  and other atopic diseases, such as neurodermatitis.


Legumes are particularly rich in the essential amino acids lysine and isoleucine, which are less common in other plant foods.

Unlike in the past, many people are no longer used to eating legumes such as peas, chickpeas, beans (e.g. mung beans or kindey beans) and lentils. Anyone who integrates a high proportion of legumes into their diet for the first time can therefore suffer from severe  flatulence  . However, the digestive problems usually disappear within a few weeks or months after the change in diet.

Legumes are particularly healthy foods

Legumes are low-fat, high-protein foods, but they still contain valuable unsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats) that have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. They can thus help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and  diabetes  . They also contain a high proportion of valuable minerals that have a positive effect on the entire organism.

(Whole grain) cereals

It makes sense to combine legumes with whole grains in order to increase the amino acid spectrum and thus the usability of the protein. Cereals are rich in the amino acid methionine, which is limited in legumes.

Among the cereal-rich foods, pseudo-cereals in particular have great health benefits. For example, a food with a very balanced amino acid profile is  quinoa .

nuts and seeds

 Legumes and cereals should also be eaten in conjunction with  nuts and seeds in a wholesome plant-based diet. Because they contain large amounts of the amino acids arginine and aspartic acid, which are underrepresented in the other food groups.

Healthy plant-based protein source

Nuts such as almonds and peanuts as well as seeds such as chia seeds, pumpkin seeds or flaxseeds are a very healthy source of vegetable protein. Because they also provide the body with important minerals and trace elements. These include, for example, calcium, magnesium,  zinc  and iron. Incidentally, the Brazil nut is one of the few vegetable sources of selenium.

Nuts and seeds contain a lot of fat

However, you should not overdo it with the consumption of nuts and seeds, despite their healthy content, as they are very high in fat. This is especially true if you want to lose weight. A handful of peanuts (about 25 grams) contain about 160 kcal. 100 grams are quickly eaten away and you have already consumed the calorie content of a main meal.

Protein-rich nuts and seeds are also found in many highly processed foods such as spreads, ready-to-eat granola mixes, and baked goods. In most cases, however, these products also contain a lot of sugar, trans fats and a lot of salt, which have no health benefits for the body, but on the contrary. It is therefore best to use dry-roasted nuts and seeds.



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