Increase Your Protein Intake With These Fruits!

From weight loss to muscle building, there are many reasons to increase your protein intake. And if you’ve ever tried to track your daily macronutrient intake, you’ll know that getting enough protein is much harder than reaching your daily goal of carbs or fats. Hence, every morsel of protein matters - so why not sneak in some protein with your fruits? 

If you eat the recommended 2 cups of fruit a day, you could increase your protein intake by up to 8.5 g (roughly 16% of one’s daily value). These high-protein fruits will help you hit your daily protein target more easily.

Note: For each fruit, the protein content is shown per 1 cup. We also linked several recipes with these fruits to give you an idea of how you can incorporate them into your daily meals.

1. Guava - 4.2 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Guava

When it comes to protein content, no fruit can compare to guavas. Native to Central and South America, guavas are very sweet and aromatic. For those unfamiliar with this tropical fruit, the taste is sometimes described as a mixture of pear and strawberry.

Apart from their impressive protein count, guavas are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Research also points out that the fruit has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties due to the high concentration of antioxidants, namely quercetin, catechin, and isoflavonoids. Read more about the benefits of guavas here - 11 Ailments Guavas Can Cure.

Consuming guavas is as easy as an apple - rinse and bite into it. The entire fruit is edible, including the skin, flesh, and seeds. To boost the protein even further, you can enjoy guava with a slice of sharp cheese and a handful of nuts.

2. Avocado - 3 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Avocado

What is an avocado anyway - a fruit or a vegetable? Although technically a fruit, we often use it alongside other greens, so we tend to think about it as a vegetable; kind of like the tomato. And for all those who enjoy the creaminess and neutral taste of the avocado, you’ll surely be pleased to learn that it’s also rich in protein. 

In addition, avocados are an excellent source of a variety of important nutrients. Each fruit contains 20 different vitamins and minerals: omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin B6, C, and E, potassium, magnesium, lutein, beta carotene, and fiber. No wonder studies show that enjoying an avocado daily reduces cardiovascular disease and improves gut health.

And don’t forget about the avocado’s versatility. Smear it on a piece of toast or cut it up and add it to a salad when you’re lazy. But if you want to be a bit more involved, check out these avocado recipes: Avocado Bacon and Eggs and Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies.

3. Bananas - 1.6 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Bananas

Bananas are another crowd favorite and for good reason! Apart from containing protein, vitamins A, B6, C, and magnesium, the fruit is famously one of the best sources of potassium, a nutrient that reduces water retention and bloating, among other things. Bananas are also rich in fiber and complex carbs, which means that they’re a great source of long-lasting energy. 

Best of all, bananas already come in a neat package, which makes them one of the easiest on-the-go snacks to enjoy. And if you have a bit more time to spare, you can always whizz them up in a delicious smoothie, here are a few combinations to try:

4. Blackberries - 2 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Blackberries

In preparation for this article, the fact that blackberries - or any berries, really - can be rich in protein struck me as a complete revelation. After all, we usually associate berries with vitamins and antioxidants, not protein. 

Little did I know, blackberries contain more protein per cup than bananas while also packing 8 g of fiber and less than 7 g of sugar. They are also a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as magnesium and manganese. 

Add a handful of blackberries to half a cup of plain yogurt and a few spoonfuls of muesli for the crunch, and you’ve got yourself a protein powerhouse of a breakfast or snack!

5. Oranges - 2 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Oranges

“How much is 1 cup of oranges?” you may ask. About 2 medium-sized oranges. Hence, 1 orange will provide you with roughly 1 g of protein. Doesn’t sound like much, but combined with all the other nutrients - vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and fiber - it sounds like a pretty good deal nonetheless. 

And don’t forget that oranges and other citrus fruits also have antioxidants that protect your body from inflammation and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative conditions.

An orange makes a delicious, quick snack, but you can also incorporate this juicy fruit into other dishes. Here are a couple of ideas:

6. Kiwifruit - 2.1 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Kiwifruit

I have a confession to make. Until not so long ago, kiwis were at the bottom of the fruit chain for me (pun absolutely intended). But the moment I learned of the nutritional profile of this fruit; I warmed up to its acidic flavor. Though, I must admit that peeling it can still feel like a hassle at times. 

So what made me change my mind? The 2.1g of protein in a single cup, the potassium, the fiber, and the rich palette of vitamins C, E, and K are what did it for me. And according to a recent review study, enjoying kiwifruit regularly also reduces the symptoms of digestive problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and constipation.

If you’re not a fan of kiwis, we can recommend this refreshing smoothie that brings out the best out of kiwifruit and adds a bit of sweetness from the strawberries - Strawberry, Mint and Kiwi Smoothie.

7. Apricots - 2.2 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Apricots

Now, there are two ways to enjoy apricots - fresh or dried. When you eat them fresh, you’ll get 2.2g of protein per cup, but if you pick up some unsweetened dried apricots, you’ll be able to more than double the protein content. A single cup of dried apricots provides you with nearly 5 g of protein. Given that apricots are also low in calories, this sounds like a perfect snack for those who seek to lose weight. 

As for the nutrient profile of the apricot, you’ll be getting vitamin A, C, and E, zinc, potassium, and carotenoids when you eat this fruit. Studies report that apricots are also rich in antioxidants like catechin, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid.  

Feel like preparing something fancy with apricots? Look no further than this Cranberry-Apricot Baked Brie Recipe.

8. Prunes - 5 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Prunes

We’ll begin by saying this - we do not recommend that you eat a whole cup of prunes in a day, as they can lead to diarrhea due to their high fiber and sorbitol content. To avoid the laxative effect, it’s recommended to eat between 30-50 prunes a day (around 3-6 prunes).

Before you give up on prunes entirely, let us also add that prunes are full of protein, and for people who need to relieve constipation, they’re a godsend. But even more importantly, there’s also some scientific evidence that prunes prevent bone loss due to the specific antioxidants present in them. 

You can mix prunes into your trail mix to enjoy them as a quick snack, or add them as a sweetener to oatmeal or baked goods.

9. Jackfruit - 3 g of protein

High Protein Fruits Jackfruit

Are you familiar with jackfruit? This tropical fruit is a relative of figs, but it’s often used in savory dishes because the texture and taste of its unripe flesh are very similar to pulled pork. In addition to 3 g of protein per cup, jackfruit contains an identical amount of fiber, as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B2, and C.

When ripe, jackfruit is soft and sweet, so it can be readily consumed. But when unripe, the meaty texture of the jackfruit lends itself as an excellent replacement for meat in such dishes as curries, gyros wraps, or pulled pork sandwiches.

Is fruit a good source of protein?

High Protein Fruits choosing limes

Even if you’re not losing weight or gaining muscle, getting enough protein is very important for every single cell in your body and bodily function. “Protein consists of amino acids — often referred to as the 'building blocks' that form all of our cells, tissues, organs, as well as enzymes and hormones that help our cells communicate with each other,” explained Brigid Titgemeier, a registered dietitian, to Well and Good.

That’s why the FDA recommends that women get at least 46 grams of protein a day, whereas men should consume around 56 g daily. If you’re an older adult and/or very physically active, you need even more protein - at least 1 gram of protein per every kilogram (2.2 lbs) of your body weight.

If we assume that 1 serving of fruit contains an optimistic 6 g of protein, this means that the recommended 2 servings of fruit would only give you 12 g of protein - less than a quarter of your daily value of protein. So, we arrive at a logical conclusion - fruit alone will not be able to provide you with enough protein, even if you eat a lot of it.

High Protein Fruits

In fact, foods like meat, dairy, fish, eggs, and legumes are far better sources of protein. However, if you need to boost your daily intake of proteins by a few grams, fruits are an excellent and healthy choice (especially since they’re also packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other phytonutrients).

Hence, to meet your protein requirements, don’t rely on fruit alone. Instead, focus mainly on primary protein sources, and then supplement them with fruit and vegetables.

H/T: Live Science, Pure Wow, My Food Data, Eatthis, Well+Good
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