7 Protein-Rich Fruits (and Why Fruit Isn’t a Solid Source)

BToday, most health conscious people are aware of the importance of protein consumption to achieve optimal health, stamina, and fitness. “There’s a lot of research on the positive impact of protein on energy levels, muscle strength and repair, immune health, and so much more,” says functional medicine dietitian Brigid Titgemeier, RD. The good news is that many of the plant-based foods you already know and love are good sources of protein, from classic soy-based proteins like tempeh and tofu to beans, nuts, and even many vegetables. .

But what about everyone’s nutritious (and naturally sweet) snack, fresh fruit? We sincerely hope that the days when fruits were not considered healthy by some practitioners due to their sugar content are long gone, but does that mean you should prioritize juicy items as part of your diet? your strategy for getting a balanced set of macronutrients (protein specifically)? TL; DR: While there is no doubt that eating fruit has incredible health benefits, daily protein intake may not be one of them.

Protein 101

Including the right amount of protein in your diet is definitely important. “Proteins are made up of amino acids, often called ‘building blocks,’ that make up all of our cells, tissues, organs, as well as enzymes and hormones that help our cells communicate with each other,” says Tigemeier. . The macronutrient plays a crucial role in just about every bodily function, from digestion and hormone regulation to the benefits outlined above.

But with various dietary philosophies ranging from keto to paleo proclaiming different “ideal” ratios of carbs, protein, and fat, it can be hard to know how much protein we should really be aiming for when it comes to our daily meals and snacks. Short answer: One size does not fit all. According to Titgemeier, most people need at least one gram of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight. As you age or become particularly physically active, these needs may increase. this is just a basic guideline.

How much protein do fruits contain?

So, back to the original question: are fruits a good source of plant-based protein? The answer is… not really. “While fruit is an incredible source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, it’s not a good source of protein,” says Titgemeier. She explains that a serving of most fruits contains about one gram of protein, which means that to get enough protein, you need to eat a ton of fruit. For example, if you eat 12 cups of strawberries a day, you’ll still only get about nine and a half grams of protein. Titgemeier explains that eating this amount of fruit throughout the day can increase the risk of blood sugar fluctuations due to carbohydrate content, which can lead to increased anxiety and stress or lower levels of blood sugar. ‘energy. It’s also high in fiber, which is great news, but it can be a knock on your digestive system.

Again, there’s no reason to be afraid of eating fruit because of its carbohydrate content, and the fiber content of the fruit helps slow the absorption of sugars compared to foods with added sugars. . The point here is that you shouldn’t rely solely on fruit for your protein intake.

Find stronger sources of plant protein recommended by an RD in this video:

According to Titgemeier, it’s always a good idea to pair fruit with a source of protein to help balance blood sugar and boost nutrient absorption. Titgemeier recommends combining a serving of fruit with Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of nut butter for a well-balanced breakfast or snack, having your avocado with eggs, or trying his peach porridge recipe. loaded with fruit, healthy fats and botanicals. protein based. Smoothies can also be great options. “Just make sure you have at least one protein source, like nut butter or yogurt, and one fat source, like chia or nut butter, in your smoothie to avoid accidents,” says Titgemeier.

7 (relatively) protein-rich fruits to enjoy

Fruit may not contain a ton of protein, but it does (in addition to tons of other important nutrients, like fiber and antioxidants). Here, a list of seven relatively protein-rich fruits to choose from.

1. Guava

A third of a cup of this tropical fruit will give you three grams of protein. Try it cubed over a bowl of Greek yogurt with chopped nuts for a high-protein breakfast combo.

2. Lawyer

If you’re looking for an excuse to eat more avocado, here’s one of many. Half an avocado provides two grams of protein, making it a great addition to eggs or mashed on toast with a sprinkle of roasted chickpeas.

3. Blackberries

These sweet and tangy treats pack the most protein of the berry bunch at two grams per cup. Throw in a smoothie with nut butter or oats, or top a bowl with cottage cheese.

4. Apricots

Four small apricots will provide you with two grams of vegetable protein. Pair them with a piece of high-quality cheese and a handful of nuts for a superstar midday snack that will keep your energy levels up.

5. Jackfruit

This popular meat substitute will give you nearly two grams of protein per half cup, making it versatile in a wide variety of recipes, from summer rolls to nachos.

6. Kiwifruit

A large kiwi contains one gram of protein, making it a portable snack that pairs well with a packet of nut butter or a cheese stick. Eat the skin for even more fiber (yes, really).

7. Oranges

Among many other health benefits, the mighty orange produces one gram of protein per medium-sized fruit. Try Sumo Citrus for a candy-like treat without the crush of sugar.

One more reason to love fruit? It helps you poop! Find out which ones are best for consistency by watching this video:

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