Top 10 Natural Sources of Protein


This is a Non-Vegetarian list, in the next post we’ll cover Top 10  Natural Sources of Protein (Vegan and Vegetarian).


–  Rankings generally based on nutrient density Protein per gram and as usual it pays to go Organic.

–  Key: Protein per 100g |  Protein per standard serving | Calories per 1 gram of Protein


#1: Spirulina

Researchers often consider the green algae to be the ultimate “Superfood” and for good reason: Aside from containing high levels of chlorophyll and iron, Spirulina contain 12 times more digestible protein than beef. 100 grams of Spirulina contains 58 grams Protein. Spirulina tablets and powders are the protein source of choice for many vegetarian and vegan body-builders seeking to improve muscle mass.

58 g Protein per 100 grams   | 4 g Protein per Tablespoon (7 grams)| 5 Calories per 1g of Protein


#2: Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is easily digested and an excellent source of Protein and Calcium while also providing a certain amount of Vitamin A. However its high sodium content means it’s best to only eat moderate amounts and factor the sodium content into your daily totals. IBS sufferers take note: Some people with IBS are sensitive to dairy and experience discomfort after eating it.

42g Protein per 100 grams   |  2 g Protein per Tablespoon (5 grams) | 11 Calories per 1g of Protein


#3: Soy Beans

Soy is a legume leader, packed with Protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats, providing a great source of energy for the body. Soy is one of the highest plant sources of complete protein and 100 grams of Soy Beans contains 40 grams of Protein. Soy Beans are also a good source of insoluble fibre, helping waste to pass quickly through the digestive tract and their high concentration of plant-based calcium is crucial in supporting bone health.

40g Protein per 100 grams   |  68 g Protein per Cup (172 grams) | 11.3 Calories per 1g of Protein


#4: Grass-Fed Lean Beef

What a cow eats can have a major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef. Grass-fed beef usually contains less total fat than grain-fed, the composition of the fatty acids is also different, with Grass-fed being found to contain up to 5 times as much Omega 3 and two times as much Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – a fatty acid associated with reduced body fat and some other beneficial effects. Bottom-line, if you’re going the beef route, grass-fed is the healthy way to go.

36g Protein per 100 grams  |  31g per serving (85 grams) | 5.3 Calories per 1g Protein


#5: Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are found in the centre of pumpkins and have a wide array of healthy nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, copper, protein and zinc. Pumpkin seeds are nutritional dynamite in a small package, also containing Phytosterols valuable for supporting healthy hormonal balance and antioxidants to boost the body’s immune system.

33g Protein per 100 grams  |  9g per ounce handful (28 grams) | 15.8 calories per 1g protein


#6: Squash Seeds

Squash seeds are found in the centre of squashes and Squash are high in vitamins like B1, C, and beta carotene. Squash seeds are a good source of zinc that increases bone density useful for people with Osteoporosis. The seeds also contain the amino acid Tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin and niacin making it a natural sleeping pill.

33g Protein per 100 grams | 9g per ounce handful (28 grams) | 15.8 calories per 1g Protein


#7: Non-fat Mozzarella

Mozzarella contains Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Biotin and vitamin B6. These vitamins are important to maintain a healthy skin and eyes and the formation of red blood cells. Mozzarella, also contains vitamins such as A, D, and E, which are important for bone health. Mozarella is also high in Calcium, vital for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

32g Protein per 100 grams | 36g per cup shredded (113 grams)|  4.7 calories per 1g Protein


#8: Turkey Breast

Turkey meat provides a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorous. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptophan to help you sleep. Turkey also contains Selenium, which is essential for a healthy thyroid. On the downside, it can be high in sodium. If you go Turkey shopping, look for turkeys raised under organic conditions for the most health benefits. Organic turkeys offer a higher nutritional value and are superior to birds raised on antibiotics without access to natural pasture.

30g Protein per 100 grams | 92g per half breast (306 grams) | 4.5 calories per 1g Protein


#9: Tuna 

Tuna is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, the amino acid tryptophan and the B vitamins niacin, pyridoxine and thiamin. A tuna steak is also a good source of potassium, with about 18 percent of the RDA. Omega 3’s may help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, decrease cholesterol and lower blood pressure contributing to overall health. Tuna steak may have higher levels of methyl mercury than smaller fish and the health benefits need to be weighed against the risks associated with mercury contamination.

30g Protein per 100 grams | 26g Protein per 3 ounce serving (85 grams) | 4.6 calories per 1g Protein


#10: Chicken Breast

Chicken breasts contain calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium supporting nerve conduction, fluid balance and metabolic functions. Chicken breast also contains the whole B-vitamin complex, as well as vitamins A, E, D and K for a healthy immune system. The breast is the leanest part of the chicken for those looking to lose weight, and contains the least amount of sodium and cholesterol. If out buying chicken, look for pasture-raised and if they don’t have that, organic free-range is a good alternative.

29 g Protein per 100 grams  | 17g per Breast (58 grams) | 5.6 Calories per 1g Protein


As with anything, the key is balance and protein intake is no different.

Let your body guide you and keep in mind the Daily Recommendations to consume in moderation, even something as beneficial as Protein.


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Feel free to add other good Natural Protein Sources in the comments section below? 


Article Sources: 

[1] The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM)













Christopher Drummond
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