Protein is a macronutrient necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy and impaired functioning of the human body in general.
Those looking to build muscle might benefit from increased protein intake, but they should be aware of the risks. Excess protein may cause a strain on the liver and kidneys, and may also increase cancer risk, particularly with protein from animal sources.
How much protein do you need?
The recommended daily intake of protein is between 46-56 grams for most adults, with pregnant and lactating women needing up to 72 grams of protein per day. Athletes or other people looking to build muscle mass may also want to consume more protein. The Daily Value (%DV) for protein is set at 50 grams per day, this number is meant to help compare foods and is a general number that works for most people.
Healthy high protein foods include lean chicken, lean pork, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, and eggs.
Below is a list of healthy protein foods sorted by common serving size, use the protein nutrient ranking to sort by 100 gram or 200 calorie serving sizes. For more information, see the lists of vegetarian protein, high protein fruits, and high protein vegetables.