Finding foods high in protein is of high importance to those seeking muscle hypertrophy. Ensuring that our diet contains an abundance of amino acids, particularly branched chain amino acids, is a fundamental step towards hypertrophy.
We all know the classic sources: dairy, meat, fish, the list goes on. We’ve all tried eating a kilogram of chicken breasts, scoffing pot after pot of cottage cheese, and for some brave souls (me included) doing GOMAD.
But there are loads of foods out there high in protein that don’t get as much publicity in the health and fitness industry. Here are three of them:
1) Halibut – 22g per 100g
With an ultra-low fat content compared to salmon, halibut may be a good bet for those who want a high-protein meal with a seafood taste. (However, I’ll explain in a later article why protein and fat often make a successful marriage.)
This fish has a lovely firm texture, and fish lovers among you may already eat this on a regular basis. If you’ve been to America, you may even have had the rare joy of eating a pan-fried piece of caught-that-same-day pacific ocean halibut.
But for you and me, halibut can be expensive and difficult to find. For example, here you’ll have to fork out over £50 for 1kg of halibut, while this particular fishmonger sells at a slightly more modest price. I’d still encourage you to try this though – it’s expensive for more than one reason.
2) Lobster – 26g per 100g
Pretty much the byword for fine dining, everyone will be aware of this crustacean’s apparent prestige. If you’ve ever tried lobster with some melted butter, you’ll understand why the lobster dish is often the most expensive at a restaurant.
Nutritionally speaking, lobster is a great hypertrophy food, with lots of protein, zinc (4mg per 100g), and phosphorous (185mg per 100g). However, like halibut, lobster is low fat – less than 1% fat to be precise, making it less than optimal for those looking for a complete bulking food. But hey, it’s lobster. It’s meant to be enjoyed rather than used.
Yep, you read that right. A food for the strong-hearted, spirulina tablets are between 55 and 64% protein, with a terrifying 5g of leucine per 100g (more on this amino acid later), and an abundance of pretty much every major vitamin and mineral you can think of. It has even been shown to effectively fight HIV.
This crazy foodstuff is a type of bacterium, particularly a cyanobacterium grown mainly in ponds, and occurs naturally in lakes with a high pH. It was consumed by the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans around 500 years ago, and has also been harvested in Chad.
As a complete protein, spirulina is also a great meat substitute for vegetarians in need of branched chain amino acids. It can also help your immune system. Some say it can even solve world hunger. It’s a full-on, proper super food.
Naturally, for such an amazing foodstuff, it’s expensive. 200g in powder form will set you back just less than a tenner on Amazon UK, and 180 500mg tablets cost £6.49 on the same website. But given the benefits, spirulina is definitely something you should try out for a couple of weeks.
In the next article, I’ll be writing about the holy grail of nutrition for hypertrophy.