Top 10 Foods Highest in Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed for general growth and development, producing niacin, and creating serotonin in the body. Serotonin is thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood which is why tryptophan in turkey is sometimes attributed to making people sleepy. The truth, however, is that lots of other foods contain more tryptophan than turkey and do not cause drowsiness.

High tryptophan foods include nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs. The recommended daily intake for tryptophan is 4mg per kilogram of body weight or 1.8mg per pound. So a person weighing 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume around 280mg of tryptophan per day.

Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in tryptophan with the %RDI calculated for someone weighting 70kg (154lbs). For more high tryptophan foods see the extended list of tryptophan rich foods.


#1: Seeds & Nuts (Pumpkin & Squash Seeds)
Tryptophan 100g Per cup (129g)Per ounce (28g)
576mg (206% RDI)743mg (265% RDI)161mg (58% RDI)
Other Seeds & Nuts High in Tryptophan (%RDI per ounce): Chia Seeds (44%), Sesame Seeds (39%), Sunflower Seeds (35%), Flaxseeds (30%), Pistachio Nuts (29%), Cashew Nuts (24%), Almonds (21%), and Hazelnuts (Filberts) (19%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#2: Soya Foods (Soybeans, roasted)
Tryptophan 100g Per cup (93g)Per ounce (28g)
575mg (205% RDI)535mg (191% RDI)161mg (57% RDI)
Other Soya Foods High in Tryptophan (%RDI per ounce): Koyadofu (Dried-frozen Tofu) (75%), Sprouted Soybeans, stir-fried (30%), Tofu, fried (27%), Soybeans, boiled (24%), and Tempeh (19%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#3: Cheese (Reduced Fat Mozzarella)
Tryptophan 100g Per cup, diced (132g)Per ounce (28g)
571mg (204% RDI)754mg (269% RDI)160mg (57% RDI)
Other Cheeses High in Tryptophan (%RDI per ounce): Parmesan & Cheddar (56%), Mozzarella (51%), Romano (43%), Gruyere (42%), Swiss (40%), Fontina (36%), Edam, Gouda, and Tilsit (35%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#4: Lamb, Beef, Pork & Game (Lamb Shoulder, cooked)
Tryptophan 100g Per 3oz (85g)Per chop (55g)
415mg (148% RDI)353mg (126% RDI)228mg (81% RDI)
Other Meats High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Rabbit (133%), Lean Roast Beef & Ground Pork (124%), Goat (123%), Beef Steak (121%), Pork Tenderloin (117)%, Wild Boar (115%), and Veal (113%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#5: Chicken & Turkey (Chicken Breast, cooked)
Tryptophan 100g Per piece (181g)Per 3oz (85g)
404mg (144% RDI)731mg (261% RDI)343mg (123% RDI)
Other Chicken & Turkey Meats High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Chicken Stewing Meat (117%), Turkey Wing (113%), Turkey breast (110%), Chicken Wing (108%), Chicken Drumstick (102%), Fat-Free Ground Turkey (99%), Turkey Drumstick (98%), and Ground Turkey (94%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#6: Fish (Tuna, cooked)
Tryptophan 100g Per 3oz (85g)Per ounce (28g)
335mg (120% RDI)285mg (102% RDI)95mg (34% RDI)
Other Fish High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Halibut (102%), Salmon (98%), Rockfish & Trout (90%), Snapper (89%), Mackerel (88%), Haddock (79%), and Cod (70%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#7: Shellfish (Crab, cooked)
Tryptophan 100g Per 3oz (85g)Per ounce (28g)
330mg (118% RDI)281mg (100% RDI)94mg (33% RDI)
Other Shellfish High in Tryptophan (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Spiny Lobster (112%), Octopus (101%), Clams (87%), Prawns (Shrimp) (79%), Lobster (75%), Crayfish (71%), Oysters (64%), and Scallops (53%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#8: Uncooked Oat Bran & Oats (Oat Bran)
Tryptophan 100g Per cup (94g)Per ounce (28g)
335mg (120% RDI)315mg (113% RDI)94mg (34% RDI)
Other Uncooked Brans and Wholegrains High in Tryptophan (%RDI per cup): Wheat Germ & Whole Oats (130%), Buckwheat (116%), Wheat Bran (59%), Oat Cereal, regular and quick cook (53%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#9: Beans & Lentils (White Beans, cooked)
Tryptophan 100g Per cup (179g)Per tablespoon (11g)
115mg (41% RDI)206mg (74% RDI)13mg (5% RDI)
Other Beans & Lentils High in Tryptophan (%RDI per cup, cooked): Cranberry (Roman) Beans (70%), Yellow Beans & Small White Beans (68%), Pinto Beans & Kidney Beans (66%), Pink Beans, Navy Beans & Black Beans (65%), and Lentils (57%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#10: Eggs (Whole)
Tryptophan 100g Per 2 eggs (100g)Per egg (50g)
167mg (60% RDI)168mg (60% RDI)84mg (30% RDI)
Also High in Tryptophan (%RDI per egg): Poached eggs, Omelette, Fried Eggs & Scrambled Eggs (30%), and Hard Boiled Eggs (28%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.






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Click each heading below for more information from HealthAliciousNess.com

Spirulina 929mg (332% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1040mg (371% RDI) per cup (112 grams) 65mg (23% RDI) per tablespoon (7 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Spirulina
Goose (Cooked) 403mg (144% RDI) per 100 gram serving 2382mg (851% RDI) per 1/2 Goose (591 grams) 576mg (206% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Goose
Duck (Cooked) 380mg (136% RDI) per 100 gram serving 361mg (129% RDI) per breast (95 grams) 323mg (115% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Duck
Canned Fish 326mg (116% RDI) per 100 gram serving 557mg (199% RDI) per can (171 grams) 277mg (99% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned Fish
Caviar 323mg (115% RDI) per 100 gram serving 90mg (32% RDI) per ounce (28 grams) 52mg (19% RDI) per tablespoon (16 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Caviar
Dried Herbs (Spearmint) 306mg (109% RDI) per 100 gram serving 6mg (2% RDI) per tablespoon (2 grams) 3mg (1% RDI) per teaspoon (1 gram) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Herbs
Cocoa Powder 293mg (105% RDI) per 100 gram serving 252mg (90% RDI) per cup (86 grams) 15mg (5% RDI) per tablespoon (5 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cocoa Powder
Peanuts & Peanut Butter (Smooth Peanut Butter) 231mg (83% RDI) per 100 gram serving 596mg (213% RDI) per cup (258 grams) 74mg (26% RDI) per 2 tablespoons (32 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Peanuts & Peanut Butter
Whey (Sweet) 205mg (73% RDI) per 100 gram serving 297mg (106% RDI) per cup (145 grams) 16mg (6% RDI) per tablespoon (8 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whey
Soy Sauce (Tamari) 181mg (65% RDI) per 100 gram serving 33mg (12% RDI) per tablespoon (18 grams) 11mg (4% RDI) per teaspoon (6 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Soy Sauce
Bacon & Ham (Bacon, cooked) 464mg (166% RDI) per 100 gram serving 42mg (15% RDI) per slice (9 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Bacon & Ham
Soy Chips 376mg (134% RDI) per 100 gram serving 105mg (38% RDI) per ounce (28 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Soy Chips
  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.
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