Top 10 Foods Highest in Cystine (Cysteine)

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Cystine (Cysteine)

Among its many functions, cystine helps create anti-oxidants in the body (1), and can help with hair health. However, none of these claims are well established. (2)

Cystine is the oxidized dimer form of the amino acid cysteine, and is considered nutritionally equivalent to cysteine. (3)

High cystine foods include pork, beef, chicken, fish, lentils, oatmeal, eggs, low-fat yogurt, sunflower seeds, and cheese. (4) The recommended daily intake of cystine is 4.1mg per kilogram of body weight or 1.9mg per pound. A person weighing 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume 287mg of cystine per day. (5)

Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in cystine with the %RDI calculated for someone weighing 70kg (154lbs). For more high cystine foods see the extended list of cystine-rich foods.

List of High Cystine Foods

A pork chop

#1: Lean Pork Chops

Cystine
in a 6oz Chop
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
595mg
(207% RDI)
350mg
(122% RDI)
359mg
(125% RDI)

More Pork High in Cystine

-176% RDI per cup of roast ham
-32% RDI per 3oz sausage link
-28% RDI per oz of salami

See all meats high in cystine.
A steak on a plate

#2: Beef (Skirt Steak)

Cystine
per 6oz Steak
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
587mg
(204% RDI)
345mg
(120% RDI)
257mg
(90% RDI)

More Beef and Lamb High in Cystine

-126% RDI per 3oz of lamb roast
-99% RDI per 3oz buffalo roast
-92% RDI per 3oz of beef roast

See all meats high in cystine.
A roast chicken

#3: Lean Chicken Breast

Cystine
in a 6oz Breast
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
571mg
(199% RDI)
336mg
(117% RDI)
428mg
(149% RDI)

More Poultry High in Cystine

-258% RDI per chicken leg
-198% RDI in 6oz of ground turkey
-125% RDI in a roast chicken thigh

See all meats high in cystine.
Tuna Fillet

#4: Tuna

Cystine
in a 6oz Fillet
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
546mg
(190% RDI)
321mg
(112% RDI)
349mg
(122% RDI)

More Fish High in Cystine

-222% RDI in 20 small clams
-175% RDI per 6oz salmon fillet
-157% RDI per 6oz tilapia fillet

See all fish and shellfish high in cystine.
Lentils

#5: Lentils

Cystine
per Cup
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
234mg
(81% RDI)
118mg
(41% RDI)
203mg
(71% RDI)

More Beans High in Cystine

-161% RDI per cup of boiled soybeans (edamame)
-87% RDI per cup of split peas
-68% RDI per cup of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

See all beans and legumes high in cystine.
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

#6: Oatmeal

Cystine
per Cup
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
227mg
(79% RDI)
97mg
(34% RDI)
273mg
(95% RDI)

More Whole Grains High in Cystine

-75% RDI per cup of kamut
-51% RDI per cup of whole wheat pasta
-32% RDI per cup of rice

See all grains high in cystine.
Eggs

#7: Eggs

Cystine
in 1 Large Egg
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
146mg
(51% RDI)
292mg
(102% RDI)
377mg
(131% RDI)
Plain yogurt with raspberries

#8: Low-Fat Yogurt

Cystine
per Cup
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
127mg
(44% RDI)
52mg
(18% RDI)
186mg
(65% RDI)
-36% RDI per 16oz glass of milk

See all dairy foods high in cystine.
Sunflower Seeds

#9: Sunflower Seeds

Cystine
per 1oz Handful
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
109mg
(38% RDI)
383mg
(133% RDI)
132mg
(46% RDI)

More Nuts and Seeds High in Cystine

-66% RDI per oz of hemp seeds
-40% RDI per oz of chia seeds
-36% RDI per oz of cashews

See all nuts and seeds high in cystine.
A slice of swiss cheese

#10: Swiss Cheese

Cystine
per Oz
Cystine
per 100g
Cystine
per 200 Calories
82mg
(29% RDI)
290mg
(101% RDI)
148mg
(51% RDI)

More Cheese High in Cystine

-43% RDI per 1/2 cup of ricotta
-30% RDI per oz of gruyere
-25% RDI per oz of gouda

See all dairy foods high in cystine.

See All 200 Foods High in Cystine

Printable One Page Sheet

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A printable list of high cystine foods including pork, beef, chicken, fish, lentils, oatmeal, eggs, low-fat yogurt, sunflower seeds, and cheese.

More Cystine Rich Foods

FoodServingCystine
#1 Beef Liver
(Source)
1 slice135% RDI
(388mg)
#2 Somen Noodles
(Source)
per cup69% RDI
(199mg)
#3 Teff
(Source)
per cup61% RDI
(174mg)
#4 Coucous
(Source)
per cup59% RDI
(168mg)
#5 Firm Tofu
(Source)
per cup50% RDI
(144mg)
#6 Crab Cakes
(Source)
per cake50% RDI
(143mg)
#7 Lima Beans
(Source)
per cup cooked49% RDI
(141mg)
#8 Carrots
(Source)
per cup chopped21% RDI
(60mg)
#9 Shiitake Mushrooms
(Source)
per cup cooked14% RDI
(39mg)
#10 Almond Butter
(Source)
per tblsp13% RDI
(39mg)

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Data Sources and References

  1. Mechanisms underlying the cardioprotective effect of L-cysteine. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Sep;277(1-2):27-31.
  2. Effects of the Usage of l-Cysteine (l-Cys) on Human Health Molecules. 2018 Mar; 23(3): 575. Published online 2018 Mar 3. doi: 10.3390/molecules23030575
  3. Biochemical and Functional Evaluation of the Intramolecular Disulfide Bonds in the Zinc-Chelating Antimicrobial Protein Human S100A7 (Psoriasin). Biochemistry. 2017 Oct 31;56(43):5726-5738. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00781. Epub 2017 Oct 19
  4. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
  5. World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Report Series – Protein And Amino Acid Requirements In Human Nutrition ISBN 978 92 4 120935 9

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