14 Foods High in Arginine (to Add to Your Diet)

Updated in April 2024

Foods that are high in arginine can be plant-based or of animal origin. Common examples include peanuts, cashews, cheese, chicken, salmon, brown rice, black beans, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid, because the body can produce it, but it can also be obtained by eating certain food. It is important for strengthening the immune system and promoting healing. 

Arginine can also be found in pharmacies and health food stores in the form of powder or capsule supplements. These are mainly indicated to reduce muscle fatigue and improve physical performance in athletes.

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Foods with arginine

Foods that are naturally high in arginine include:

1. Peanuts

Peanuts are one of the foods that contain the highest levels of arginine. 100g of this nut contains abut 3g of arginine.

Peanuts are also rich in omega-3 and fiber, which are nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular diseases, constipation and diabetes.

Also recommended: 35 High Fiber Foods: Food List, Health Benefits & Recommendations tuasaude.com/en/high-fiber-foods

2. Cacao powder

Every100g or 18 tablespoons of cacao powder, contains about 1.1g of arginine.

Cacao powder also has excellent amounts of flavonoids, tyramine and theobromine, which are bioactive compounds that help improve mood, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Read more about the health benefits of cacao and how it can be consumed.

3. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds contain the highest proportion of arginine, as 100 g of pumpkin seeds contains 5.2 g of arginine.

Pumpkin seeds are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that are important for maintaining eye health and preventing cardiovascular diseases. Check-out the other health benefits of pumpkin seeds and recipes they can be added to.

4. Gouda cheese

Gouda cheese is rich in protein and therefore contains 1g of arginine for every 100g. Because it has excellent amounts of calcium, gouda cheese also improves heart health and strengthens the bones, which can help prevent fractures and osteoporosis.

5. Cashew nuts

Every 100g of cashews contains 2g of arginine. They are also rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in serotonin production, and can therefore help to improve sleep quality.

6. Black beans

Because they are naturally high in protein, black beans contain 0.6g of arginine in every 100g or 5 full tablespoons.

Black beans are also rich in anthocyanins, fiber and saponins. These are nutrients and bioactive compounds with lipid-lowering and laxative action that can be beneficial for managing constipation and cholesterol levels.

7. Salmon

Every 100g of cooked salmon contains 1.5g of arginine. Salmon is also rich in omega-3, which is a type of healthy fat that promotes brain health and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.

Also recommended: Omega-3 Foods: 14 Natural Sources, Daily Dose & Recipes tuasaude.com/en/omega-3-foods

8. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are one of the foods with the highest amounts of arginine. 100g of Brazil nuts contains 2.1g of this amino acid.

Brazil nuts are also an excellent source of selenium, potassium and zinc, which are minerals that are essential maintaining heart health and strengthening the immune system. Read more about the health benefits of Brazil nuts and how to consume them.

9. Chickpeas

Because they contain excellent amounts of protein, every 100g of chickpeas contains 0.8g of arginine. Chickpeas are legumes that are also naturally rich in fiber, and can be addd to a balanced, healthy diet to combat constipation and prevent diabetes.

10. Walnuts

Walnuts are also rich in arginine, and 100g of this nut contains 4g of arginine.

Because they are rich in omega 3 and polyphenols, walnuts can also help to control blood cholesterol, and play a role in preventing diseases like atherosclerosis and heart attack. 

Also recommended: Are Walnuts Good For You? 10 Health Benefits (& Recipes) tuasaude.com/en/walnuts

11. Low-fat yogurt

Because it is a great source of protein, every 100g of low-fat yogurt contains 0.2 g of arginine. Yogurt also contains vitamin A, which is a nutrient that is important for maintaining eye and skin health.

12. Chicken breast

Every 100g of cooked chicken breast contains 1.7 g of arginine. Because it is an important source of protein for the body, this food can also contribute to the formation of antibodies, hormones and muscles.

Also recommended: What Foods Are High in Protein? 36 Animal & Plant-Based Sources tuasaude.com/en/high-protein-foods

13. Seaweed

Seaweed is another great protein source, and every 100g of this food contains 0.8g of arginine. Seaweed additionally contains omega-3, and can therefore also help to improve brain and heart health.

14. Lentils

Every 100g of lentils, or 5 full tablespoons, contains 0.7 g of arginine.

Lentils are also a great source of lignans, which are a bioactive compound with properties that are similar to estrogen hormones. Therefore, they can be consumed to relieve symptoms of menopause and PMS. Check-out the other health benefits of lentils and how to cook them.