10 High Protein Fruits You Should Be Eating

As plant eaters, we have so many options when it comes to vegetables, fruits, legumes, and various other foods to eat. Variety can be both a good and bad thing. On one hand, there is plenty to choose from; on the other, how can you possibly choose!? But what about when it comes to high protein fruit?

When one wants to ensure they consume a high protein snack or meal, do you know which fruits to prioritize into your diet?

Many people probably don’t associate fruits with high protein, but they might be surprised at some of the high protein fruits on our list!

If one were to google high protein fruits, they will likely get a litany of different plant-based lists with different results and orders. Some may include vegetables, some include legumes, other grains.

To make matters worse, most of the lists measure by volume.

This is important to talk about. In the United States, we measure most of our food in volume (e.g. cups, fluid ounces). The rest of the world typically measures in weight (e.g. grams).

The difference: One system (metric) always compares food on a consistent basis while the other (imperial) can compare food differently depending on size and density.

For example, if you wanted to compare the amount of protein in a cup of rice versus a cup of broccoli, volume wouldn’t exactly be the best way to do so. The cup of rice has almost no air pockets, while the broccoli likely has plenty of air pockets! By measuring in volume we are not accounting for the compressibility of foods.

For this reason, and for this exercise, we will be comparing foods based on weight.

100 grams will always be 100 grams no matter what. A cups weight can vary.

On top of that calories are based on weight not volume!

How are calories calculated?

All foods are essentially made up of 4 main things:

  • Water
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

If you were to take 100 grams of any food, it would break down into each of the above categories. Most plant-based foods are not calorically dense, or mostly made up of water. This is why when eating a healthy, whole plant-based foods diet (with little processed foods), it’s nearly impossible to overeat!

Compare any of the low-density fruits in our list to something calorically dense, like french fries (which comes in around 320 calories per 100 grams) and you can see why we have an obesity epidemic on our hands.

Fiber, which we all know is great for us, is typically removed from the carbohydrate calorie count.

Technically calories, or kcals, are based on the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. Historically, to get the calories of a given food, we would have placed a food in a sealed container under water. The food was then burned in order to measure the energy produced. This would provide the calorie count of any given food.

However, today we use the Atwater system as required by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA) and base it on the weight of the macronutrients.

MacronutrientCalories per Gram
Protein4 Calories
Carbohydrates4 Calories
Fat9 Calories

It should be noted that there have been disputes with the Atwater system, however no real alternatives have been proposed.

Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a place or time for measuring by volume, but for this exercise, measuring by weight makes the most sense.

Framework Utilized For Creating The High Protein Fruits List

In order to create this list, I started by listing every fruit I could think of and then searched for any remaining which may have a decent amount of protein in it.

I utilized a single nutritional source in order to be as consistent as possible.

The database I used is provided by the USDA and can be found here.

Every food searched in the database was a standard reference, or unbranded. Additionally, every food was compared in 100 gram serving sizes.

Typically nutrients, including protein, can yield lower levels after a food is cooked. This can depend on many variables. Regardless, I tried to choose the end disposition of the food by which it is typically consumed.

For example, if the majority of the population eats guava raw, then I searched for those specific nutritional values. For each of the foods, I indicate the cooking method (not every food item had multiple options). Most of the fruits are listed as raw.

Please note vegetables, grains, legumes and legume-related foods as well as tree nuts will be part of separate lists.

I present to you the highest protein fruits in descending order.




 

High Protein Fruits

 

 

high-protein-fruits-Baby-jackfruit

#10. Jackfruit (raw)

Vegans are probably already familiar with this high protein fruit as it has become very popular for imitating the texture of pulled pork when cooked and seasoned properly. Jackfruit contains good amounts of vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, xanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. Together these play vital roles in vision and antioxidant functions. High in B vitamins, such as vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid, jackfruit is excellent for adrenal function and assists with forming food into energy.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 1.7 grams
Fat: 0.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 23.3 grams
Fiber: 1.5 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-okra

#9. Okra (boiled)

Okra seeds have been shown to have an antioxidant in them associated with helping to reduce stress. Additionally, Okra is high in vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, and xanthin, which together assist with destroying free radicals and can help with vision. Okra is high in fiber which can help with colon function and can also promote better glycemic control.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 1.9 grams
Fat: 0.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 4.5 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

high-protein-fruits-kumquat

#8. Kumquat (raw)

The kumquat is a high protein fruit that is high in fiber, making them great for digestive health and normalizing bowel movements. Rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, kumquats are great for eye health. Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant which can reduce oxidative stress in macular cells, thereby limiting macular degeneration. High in vitamin C and calcium, kumquats can help give your immune system a boost and strengthen your bones.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 1.9 grams
Fat: 0.9 grams
Carbohydrates: 15.9 grams
Fiber: 6.5 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-avocado

#7. Avocado (raw)

Surprise! Not only is avocado a high protein fruit, but it’s also very good for you, and tasty too! Although avocados do contain higher levels of fat compared to other fruits, they also have beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols which have been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels (source).  Half of an avocado provides about a quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health because it assists with the uptake of calcium. Everyone knows that bananas are high in potassium, but did you know avocados have even higher amounts? This is good news, because potassium helps with muscle contraction, cramps, and a host of other things.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 2.0 grams
Fat: 15.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 8.6 grams
Fiber: 6.8 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-prunes

#6. Prunes (dried)

You don’t have to be old to consume this high protein fruit. Like many other fruits on this list, prunes are high in beta-carotene and vitamin K which are great for bone health, eye health, and reducing cell oxidation. Consuming prunes has been associated with retaining beneficial microbiota in the colon, which may lower colorectal cancer risk. Prunes have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Just keep in the mind the sugar content is quite high.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 2.2 grams
Fat: 0.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 63.9 grams
Fiber: 7.1 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-passionfruit

#5. Passionfruit (raw)

Passionfruit is extremely high in fiber, which is great for normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, and can help control blood sugar levels (source). Passionfruit is high in iron, making it a great option for vegans, vegetarians, or those with anemia. High in antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, passionfruit can help to boost the immune system (source).

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 2.2 grams
Fat: 0.7 grams
Carbohydrates: 23.4 grams
Fiber: 10.4 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-Guava

#4. Guava (raw)

One of my favorites fruits, Guava is not only a high protein fruit, but it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Containing around four times the vitamin C of oranges, guava makes for a great immune system booster. High in potassium, guava has also been shown to help in lowering blood pressure (source). Guava is one of the best sources for antioxidants, which helps to prevent free radicals from damaging cells and developing diseases (source). Lastly, guava is high in lycopene, which has been shown to have an inverse relationship with prostate cancer (source).

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 2.6 grams
Fat: 1.0 grams
Carbohydrates: 14.3 grams
Fiber: 5.4 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-Baby-Zucchini

#3. Baby Zucchini (raw)

Not to be confused with its larger, “parent” variety, baby zucchini’s surprisingly pack a strong, high protein punch. Low in calories, zucchini can help with weight loss as it is mostly water. Zucchini is high antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin A, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSHpx), and carotenoids which can be good for boosting immune function. High in pectin, a type of fiber, zucchini is great for improving cardiovascular health. Also high in potassium, zucchini can help to lower blood pressure.

Here is a fantastic recipe which contains zucchini.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 2.7 grams
Fat: 0.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 3.1 grams
Fiber: 1.1 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruits-Baby-Raisins

#2. Raisins (seedless)

Could it be that raisins are a high protein fruit? Raisins are great because they are easy to store and take with you on the go. Similar to prunes, the nutrients in raisins become more concentrated due to dehydration. Raisins have considerable amounts of phenolic compounds which have been shown to be beneficial for cancer prevention (source). According to the American College of Cardiology, raisins have been shown to reduce blood pressure in those with elevated levels of blood pressure (source). Raisins have also been shown to help patients with type 2 diabetes with glycemic control (source). Lastly, before you go and down an entire case of raisins, keep in mind for every 100 grams, they have about 59 grams of sugar.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 3.1 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams
Carbohydrates: 79.2 grams
Fiber: 3.7 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

high-protein-fruit-goji-berries

#1. Goji Berries (dried)

Topping our list of high protein fruits are goji berries! Aside from providing a MASSIVE amount of protein, goji berries provide very high levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Similar to other berries, goji berries are high in antioxidants vitamin A and C which help to build immune function and can keep colds away. Goji berries have been shown to help fight skin cancer cell growth, including apoptosis (source). Goji berries also have beta-carotene which has been shown to promote healthy skin. Goji berries are high in zeaxanthin which is great for eye health, and have even been used to treat glaucoma. Lastly, goji’s are extremely high in fiber, which is great for normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, and can help control blood sugar levels (source). Keep in mind, mostly because they are dried, goji’s also have a very high sugar content.

If you want to order some goji’s for yourself, here is a popular choice.

Macronutrients per 100 grams
Protein: 14.3 grams
Fat: 0.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 77.1 grams
Fiber: 13 grams

Full Nutritional Profile Here.

 

Honorable Mentions (High protein fruits but not quite enough to crack the top 10)

  • Pomegranates
  • Mulberries
  • Apricot
  • Currants
  • Blackberries
  • Summer Squash

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If you have any questions or thought a certain fruit should have been included in this list, please comment below.

You can find our high protein vegetable list here.




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