Let’s face it, there are numerous options when it comes to food, but do we have enough high protein foods in Nigeria? You probably have an answer in your minds as I do right now, and the answer is yes.
Quick Facts About Protein
Nigeria is blessed with people of different ethnicity and culture and it is expected that this diversity in culture comes with different culinary preferences. Foods that are fascinatingly popular in the middle belt region of Nigeria are not so common in the South-western region, neither will they be so common in the north.
However, the migration of northerners, southerners, the igbos from the east, and Yoruba from the west has made the different delicacies peculiar to these different regions present in other areas they have been taken to.
This article is focused on highlighting the different protein foods in Nigeria, regardless of their origin. You will also get to see why you need protein as part of your diet and how easy it is to come by the protein foods in Nigeria.
Protein Foods in Nigeria
The importance of protein is what we have been familiarized with from our primary education. If, by chance, you need a reminder, you will get just that as you read on.
Foods that provide the body with protein are rich in amino acids. These foods range from animal sources to plant sources. There are quarters that believe animal proteins are better than plant proteins, and there are others who believe otherwise. We say, they are both excellent sources of protein and, depending on what your fitness goal and feeding preference is, choose either or combine both.
Without further ado, here are the best protein foods in Nigeria!
Eggs are a great source of many nutrients, one of them being protein. Egg yolks are rich in vitamins and minerals while the white part of the egg is abundant in protein. One egg white contains about 6g of protein and equating that to 100g of egg white means you will have 16 g of protein.
Chicken meat is another poultry-sourced protein. It is the most talked about protein source among bodybuilders due to its availability. The protein content of chicken meat varies depending on whether it is white or dark meat. A Chicken Dark meat, usually found in the legs, contains 28.99g of protein per 100g of serving while Chicken White meat, found in the breasts and wings, contain 16.79g of protein.
With such high protein figures, chicken meat is one of the best protein foods in Nigeria, and the world.
Turkey is less commonly consumed in Nigeria compared to Chicken despite its potential to make its consumer healthier. Turkey meat is an excellent protein food in Nigeria and its protein can be gotten from different sources in the turkey. Turkey white meat contains 28.48 g of protein per 100g, turkey dark meat contains 23g. Turkey liver has 20g, its heart contains 21.47g, and its gizzard provides 21.72g of proteins, all in 100g of serving.
Quite commonly consumed all over the country but more in the riverine areas like Lagos and the South-south. Fishes of different kind have different levels of protein they provide to the body. they also provide a range of nutrients such as the B-vitamins and important minerals like magnesium, selenium, and many more.
The commonly eaten fishes in Nigeria, Salmon, mackerel, herring, contain 23g, 18.5g, and 15.2g of protein respectively.
Crayfish is mostly overlooked when it comes to protein. Probably because it is minute compared to other animal protein sources. However, it is a proof that significance is not by size. Crayfish is one of the protein foods in Nigeria, and a very rich one as 100g of crayfish contains a whopping 87% protein.
Little wonder they are grounded and added to infants’ pudding.
Peculiar and mostly consumed by peeps from Delta down to Port Harcourt and Bayelsa. They are small-sized and hard-shelled but rich in protein. The drama that goes into eating the meat is another experience. It will please you to know that when you see a southerner suck the meat out of the shell of 100g of periwinkle serving, she must have gotten 16g of protein into her body. this makes it one of the best protein foods in Nigeria.
Crabs used to be very common food while we were younger, not so much anymore. A crab’s protein content is influenced by the size of the crab as bigger crabs weigh more and you get more meat out of them. As one of the best protein foods in Nigeria, a king crab contains 19g of protein per 100g serving.
Snails are a delicacy in Nigeria, they are usually eaten and accompanied with the local palm wine or beer (for those who love alcohol). Some people prefer they have them with chilled juice. Whichever way you love to eat your snail, it must be peppered and I encourage you to continue eating them. Not just because they are tasty, but because they are one the best protein foods in Nigeria with 16g of protein per 100g serving.
Rightly called the king of protein as it gives enormous amount of protein from different parts of its provider, cow. Beef protein is gotten from briskets, tenderloin, and other parts of a cow. Beef protein is 36.12g per 100g serving; the best protein food in Nigeria as it is the most consumed protein source.
There are different types of milk, both from animal and plant sources. However, for the animal-sourced milk types, they are high in protein and are consumed in every part of the country. Goat milk contains 3.56g of protein while cow milk contains 7.7g of protein per 100g.
Goat meat is a common delicacy among Nigerians that frequently visit cool spots for relaxation and meeting up with friends. The popular Goat meat pepper soup is a delicacy that allows most Nigerian men access to protein. Goat meat enriches the body with about 24.4g of protein per 125g serving and we, Nigerians, know that you don’t stop at just one serving of goat meat pepper soup. This makes it one of the common protein foods in Nigeria.
In as much as eating pork is a religious taboo among the Muslims of the country, it is still widely eaten among the Christians and from personal experience, in the North central, Benue State to be precise.
Pork meat contains 30.48g of protein and with its tastiness, it is one of the best protein foods in parts of Nigeria.
Kefir is quite common in the northern part of Nigeria. It is produced by fermenting cow or goat milk and it looks and tastes like yogurt. It is even said to be of more nutritional quality than yoghurt. Since it is made from cow or goat milk, it contains protein of about 6g per 100g.
Popularly called peanuts in the western countries, groundnut is a good and common source of protein in Nigeria. It is usually boiled or roasted and can be eaten alone or with other foods like banana, eggplant, garri, and many more. Groundnut is a protein food in Nigeria that contains about 25.8g of protein in 100g of serving.
Beans are common in Nigeria. They are sold cooked in local restaurants as beans, to be eaten with bread or in other forms such as moi moi or akara, also to be eaten with bread, pudding (pap), or garri.
As one of the best and most common protein foods in Nigeria, beans have about 13g of protein content in one cup.
Widely grown in the middle belt region of Nigeria, Soybean is a primary source of protein in states like Benue, Jos, Kwara, Abuja, and other parts of the country. Soybeans have other derivatives, which are also protein foods in Nigeria, such as soya milk and soybean cake.
Soybeans provide 36g of protein per 100g, an excellent plant protein that can compete with beef.
Popularly called Iru among the West, Dawa dawa in the north, and ogiri in the east, locust bean is a condiment that gives a unique taste to many African dishes. It is rich in protein, fiber and vitamins. Its protein content amounts to 6.56% of its total nutritional composition.
Okra is a vegetable that is high in fiber and antioxidants. It contains low calories and that qualifies it as a healthy food choice in Nigeria. It is also a major plant protein food in Nigeria as it contains 1.9g of protein per 100g; that is 4% of its nutritional content.
Millet is a grain that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It is mostly grown in the norther part of Nigeria and as a protein food, it contains 11g of protein per 100g.
Here is another protein-dense food. The pumpkin seed is gotten from pumpkin plant, popularly called Ugu in thus part of the world. It is common among the Igbos and is found everywhere they are found in the country.
Pumpkin seeds contain 36.5g of protein per 100g.
Potatoes are excellent sources of nutrients and stand in well in place of yam. They are mostly grown in Jos and contain protein of up to 3.1g per 100g. with this figure, it is one of the commonest protein foods in Nigeria.
Wheat is common food consumed by Nigerians. The grain is usually grounded into flour and made into paste to be eaten with delectable soups. It is widely accepted because it is a food high in fiber and carbohydrates but it is also rich in protein. As a protein food in Nigeria, wheat contains 11% protein in 100g of wheat flour.
Cashew nuts are rich in energy as they contain 553 calories in 100g of serving. It is therefore advisable not to eat too many of the nuts in a day. However, in the same 100g serving, cashew nut has 18.22g of protein. It is one of the best protein foods in Nigeria because it is common to come by, even in traffic.
Broccoli is an exotic vegetable but also consumed in Nigeria. Due to its cultivation requirements, it is mostly grown in Jos. It is a protein food in Nigeria with the value of 2.8g protein per 100g.
Most people will think egusi (Melon Seeds) is a carbohydrate food. It is actually highest in oil and protein. Its carbohydrate content is quite low. Egusi, a major and popular soup ingredient, contains 28.4g of protein per 100g. it is undoubtedly a protein food in Nigeria, and West Africa.
Most Nigerian foods are known to be rich sources of carbohydrates and fats. However, this list of protein foods in Nigeria are easy to come by and purchase. In our infancy and younger days, some of these foods, especially the nuts, were what we consumed on a daily basis.
Give your body the nutrient it needs to build and repair muscle tissues, lose unnecessary weight and help you build cells. Include more of these Nigerian protein foods in your diet and you’ll be happy you did.