5 of the Highest-Protein Fruits, Ranked – EatingWell

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Protein is all the rage right now—and for good reason. Protein is integral for tissue growth and repair, and it’s also involved in immune and muscle function and blood clotting, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And if you’re looking to lose weight, a high-protein meal plan may help get you to your goal.

Obvious high-protein choices include animal proteins like red meats, poultry and fish, but there are other plant-based foods, like certain fruits, that pack a little more of that “P” power, too. 

In truth, you’re not going to be eating fruit specifically as a source of protein, but the protein they contain counts, too! Plus, fruits also pack a slew of other nutrients (fiber, antioxidants and disease-fighting phytonutrients) that make them a wonderful addition to your daily diet. Consuming more fruit can actually help reduce the risk for many diseases, while also offering weight-management benefits and promoting healthy aging. 

Experts rarely (if ever) tout the protein benefits of fruit. “When compared to other sources, fruit falls short on this macronutrient,” says nutrition expert and certified personal trainer Nicole Rodriguez, RDN. For reference, chicken contains 31 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving, according to the USDA. Fruits—even the higher-protein fruits—pale in comparison. 

That said, fruit does contain protein—and that protein counts toward your daily intake. So, we wanted to highlight the choices that pack more of this macro. With this info, you may be inspired to expand the variety in your fruit selections. The serving sizes listed below are based on the typical consumed portion of each fruit.

5 Higher-Protein Fruits

1. Guava

Protein count: 4.2 grams in 1 cup, per the USDA.

Guava is a tropical fruit native to regions such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan and South America that is higher in protein than other fruits. In addition to 4.2 grams of protein in each cup, guava also has 9 grams of fiber, or about one-third of your daily needs. 

The fruit may be a boon to your metabolic health. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that consuming guava fruit without the peel may help lower blood sugar and improve cholesterol in healthy people. It’s important to note that the study was small and people ate nearly 2.5 cups per day, so more research is needed on this potential health perk. In addition to eating the fresh fruit, you can also use guava puree in this Harvest Salad with Guava Vinaigrette.

2. Jackfruit

Protein count: 2.6 grams in 1 cup, per the USDA.

A tropical fruit from Asia, Africa and some regions in South America, jackfruit is a nutrient gold mine. While in some cultures the seeds and flesh are consumed in varied forms, the flesh—sold in cans—is most commonly available in the United States. In addition to the 2.6 grams of protein per 1-cup portion you’ll find in jackfruit, it also contains 2 grams of filling fiber and is a good source of blood-pressure-friendly potassium. Young or green jackfruit from a can can be used as a plant-based meat substitute, thanks to its shredded-meat-like texture and ability to soak up a lot of flavor. Try it out in our Jackfruit Barbacoa Burrito Bowls.

3. Blackberries

Protein count: 2.1 grams in 1 cup, per the USDA.

Berries are a delicious addition to a fiber-fueled diet, but blackberries in particular pack more protein than other berries. For comparison, a cup of blueberries has about 1 gram of protein, whereas a cup of blackberries has about twice that amount. While all berries provide their own phytonutrients due to the colorful pigments in their flesh, blackberries pack anthocyanins, which may help protect your heart and brain, according to a review in Molecules in 2020.

If you need more convincing to stock up on blackberries, a 1-cup serving also offers 8 grams of filling fiber. To reap all the benefits, add blackberries to a protein-packed meal like our Blackberry BBQ Pork Chops with Collards & Corn, which provides 31 grams of protein per serving.

4. Avocado 

Protein count: 1.5 grams in half of an avocado, per the USDA.

The green goddess may be a social media superstar, but its claim to fame really stems from its nutrient content. Alongside fiber (5 grams per half avocado) and healthy fats, avocados also provide a small amount of protein. But, keep in mind this is the nutrient content for a half of an avocado—if you’re having just a slice here or there, you’ll get far less protein. 

Ready to think beyond avocado toast? Check out our collection of Avocado and Egg Recipes That Aren’t Just Toast.

5. Pomegranate Arils

Protein count: 1.5 grams in ½ cup, per the USDA. 

Found year-round in the freezer or refrigerated section of many grocery stores, pomegranate arils (“seeds”) pack a small but mighty punch. In addition to the 1.5 grams of protein in a half-cup serving of arils, this fruit also supplies 3.5 grams of filling fiber. Plus, they’re also rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins. These arils pop with pomegranate juice, which may help counteract inflammation, improve blood sugar and protect your heart.

How to Incorporate Fruit and Protein into Your Diet

Fruit pairs perfectly with a variety of foods, both sweet and savory, to increase the nutrient density of your meals. Combining fruits with protein also increases the total fiber content of your meal. “Protein and fiber are a powerful combo to help stave off hunger while providing essential nutrients your body requires,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S. RDN, founder of Nutrition Starring You and author of The Everything Easy Pre-Diabetes Cookbook.

Follow these dietitian-approved tips to get the most nutritional bang-per-bite out of your meals:

  • Add blackberries to Greek yogurt, cereal, cottage cheese, oatmeal or on top of avocado toast. 
  • Swap out jelly and add slices of fresh apples, strawberries or pomegranate arils onto toast, such as our Peanut Butter and Pomegranate Toast.
  • Love tuna but feeling tired of the same old salad? Mix canned tuna with avocado instead of mayo, and add pomegranate for a pop of color. Serve the salad in the avocado skin instead of a bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Try our Avocado Tuna Salad for inspiration.
  • Looking to upgrade your turkey sandwich? Layer a hearty whole-grain bread with turkey, super-thin slices of raw guava and sharp Cheddar or Brie. 

The Bottom Line

Eating more fruit in your diet is not just good for your antioxidant intake, it also can add a few grams of protein to your daily goals, too. While fruits like jackfruit, guava, avocado, blackberries and pomegranate have more protein per typical serving compared to other fruits, they are not a high source of protein. Nutrition experts advise pairing fruits with other protein sources to reap the full nutritional benefits of both foods. 

Read Next: 10 Hight-Protein Vegetables

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