The 7 Most Outstanding Lysine Rich Foods

The main foods rich in lysine are of animal origin. Lysine is one of the eight essential amino acids for humans, which means that it must be present in the diet because the body cannot synthesize it. Amino acids are the structural constituents of proteins and their cellular function makes them essential.

Even though there are hundreds of amino acids, proteins are made up of only 20 of them. Lysine is the limiting amino acid in most of the proteins that make up cereals, but it is abundant in the proteins of most legumes.

Foods Rich in Lysine

The limiting amino acid in a particular food refers to the essential amino acid that is found in a lower proportion in relation to the established requirement. Indeed, for protein synthesis to take place, all essential amino acids must be available in cells.

Lysine plays an important role in the construction of muscle protein, in the absorption of calcium, in the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies, in post-surgical recovery and in convalescence after a herpes simplex infection.

Foods rich in lysine

Among these foods we have certain fish such as tuna, herring, cod and sardines, as well as other seafood. In addition, meat (beef, pork and chicken), milk and its derivatives, and eggs stand out.

Legumes, soybeans, beans, beans and lentils are also an important source of lysine. The recommended daily intake is 30 mg of lysine per kg of body weight.

That is, an intake of about 2100 mg of lysine is needed for an adult of about 70 kg of weight.

Fish and other seafood

Fish is one of the main sources of lysine in the diet. Tuna stands out as a contributor since 100 grams of cooked tuna contain 2590 mg of lysine. Only tuna can cover 123% of the recommended daily value (DV) for a 70 kg adult. 

Regular consumption of salmon, mackerel, herring and cod ensures a good intake of lysine. Crabs, prawns, prawns and lobsters are also rich in lysine. For example, 100 g of cooked prawns contain 2172 mg of lysine and in this case would cover 103% of the DV.

Meat and eggs 

Its amino acid composition is very similar to that which establishes the profile of the needs determined for humans. Animal products have an average of 89 mg of lysine / g of protein.

This means that even if the portion of roast meat is small, it significantly improves the nutritional value of the dish. A 100-gram plate of lean roast beef or lamb contains 3,582 mg of lysine, which means covering 171% of the DV.

100 g of cooked chicken breast provide 3110 mg of lysine; that is, 148% of the DV. 100 grams of lean pork chop contains 2,757 mg of lysine, which covers 131% of the recommended DV. For its part, the raw whole egg contains 912 mg of lysine per 100 g; that is, 43% of the DV.


Peas, beans, kidney beans, beans, and lentils are good lysine contributors. They provide an average of 67 mg of lysine for each gram of protein.

Excellent combinations that raise the nutritional level of the dish are, for example, barley and lentil soup, wheat and bean tortilla, peanut butter and bread.

100 grams of cooked white beans provide 668 mg of lysine, which represents 32% of the DV. Legumes are par excellence the main source of lysine in people who follow a vegan diet.

Soy, an excellent proteo-oleaginous, is a great source of lysine. There are 2,634 mg of lysine per 100 g of roasted soybeans, which is equal to 125% of the DV.

Milk and derivatives

Among the sources of dairy protein, Parmesan cheese stands out as the richest source of lysine. Its content is 3306 mg of lysine for every 100 g of cheese; that is, 157% of the DV.

Although dairy does not seem to be as great lysine contributors as other foods of animal origin, its combination with cereals, for example, increases the nutritional value of the dish.

Among these combinations we have breakfast cereals with milk, rice flan (prepared with milk) and pasta with cheese. One cup of skim milk provides approximately 700 mg of lysine; that is, 33% of the DV.


Walnuts contain a good amount of lysine. On average, walnuts and pistachios provide 43.5 mg of lysine for every gram of protein. 100 grams of pumpkin seeds contain 1,386 mg of lysine, which is 66% of the DV.


They are low contributors of lysine, since they have an average of 30.5 mg of lysine for each gram of protein. In bread protein, lysine is the limiting amino acid: only 47% of the required amount of lysine is present.


On average, fruits and vegetables have 49.2 mg of lysine per gram of protein. Quinoa is an excellent source of high-quality protein.

Compared to cereals, it contains more histidine, cystine, methionine and isoleucine, and is particularly rich in lysine, which represents 6% of its protein content.

The well-balanced nature of quinoa protein (approximately 15% from fresh seeds) suggests that it may be as good as milk protein, since the protein efficiency coefficient (PER) is higher than that of casein.

Vegetable proteins vs. animal protein

Protein analyzes show that those of plant origin have an amino acid composition that is less nutritionally favorable than those of animal origin.

Proteins from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt provide the eight essential amino acids, while those from vegetables tend to be deficient in at least one of these.

In many plant-based proteins, the low contents of some of the essential amino acids limit the nutritional value of the protein.

For example, this is particularly important in cereals, where the biological quality of proteins is low due to their low levels of lysine and tryptophan. It also occurs with legumes, which have a poor methionine content.


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