Although not traditionally thought of as a protein source, many fruits contain some amount of protein! Added to a varied diet, fruits containing protein can be a complimentary addition to your other protein sources!
Besides protein, fruit is an important part of the diet, often high in essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Consumption of fruit is associated with improved digestive health, protection against certain types of cancers, lower blood pressure, and bone health. Additionally it is associated with a reduced risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes or becoming obese.
Some fruits with higher amounts of protein include:
Dried apricots are one of the highest protein fruit sources. Generally one serving of fruit is 1 cup, but due to the density of dried fruit, one serving is a half of a cup. In a single half cup serving of dried apricots there are 3 grams of protein, 151% of the daily requirement for vitamin A, 21% of your daily iron and 31% of your daily potassium needs! Due to the density and lack of water, people can easily overeat dried fruit because, even though there is still the same amount of calories, it is just less filling without the water! A single serving of dried apricots is 190 calories vs. a half cup of fresh apricot halves at only 37 calories! Calories are not everything, just enjoy dried fruits in appropriate serving sizes. You can imagine one half cup serving as the same size as a computer mouse.
Similarly dried peaches, currants, bananas, litchis and prunes are also high in protein!
A delicious fruit that in a fresh 1 cup serving provides 4 grams of protein! If you haven't tried this fruit before, you will be in for a delicious treat. There are a variety of guavas but you will most commonly find greenish-yellow skinned guavas with either pink or whitish insides. Little crunchy seeds on the inside can be eaten or spit out. Although a bit less flavorful then the inside, the skin is also edible and nutritious. When choosing ripe guavas, you want to choose ones that are firm but slightly soft to the touch, the insides will be suppler than the protective skin.
One serving provides 112 calories, 9 grams of fiber, and 628% the average person's daily needs for vitamin C!
Although commonly eaten and added as savory element to meals, avocados are botanically considered fruits (classified as a large berry with a single seed!). A single medium sized avocado has on average about 365 calories, 17 grams of fiber, 88% of daily vitamin C needs and 7 grams of protein! Additionally, one avocado has an Amino Acid Score of 129, which indicates that it is a high-quality protein. Avocados contains almost all the amino acids, except hydroxyproline which is not even an essential amino acid. It also contains monounsaturated fats including omega-3s and 6s, making a good selection for strict vegetarians who want plant based omega-3/6 alternatives.
Additional fruits to try that have protein include kumquats, custard apples, jackfruit, and passion fruits!
Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.