Top 10 Foods Highest in Cysteine

Cysteine is an amino acid which can generally be manufactured by the body, but may be necessary for infants or the elderly. Among its many functions cysteine helps create anti-oxidants in the body, and can reduce the severity of hang-overs. High cysteine foods include soybeans, beef, lamb, sunflowers seeds, chicken, oats, pork, fish, cheese, eggs, legumes, and kamut. The recommended daily intake for cysteine is 4.1mg per kilogram of body weight, or 1.9mg per pound. A person weighting 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume around 287mg of cysteine per day. Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in cysteine with the %RDI calculated for someone weighting 70kg (154lbs). For more high cysteine foods see the extended list of cysteine rich foods.

#1: Soya Foods (Roasted Soybeans)
Cysteine 100g Per cup (93g)Per ounce (28g)
638mg (222% RDI)593mg (207% RDI)179mg (62% RDI)
Other Soya Foods High in Cysteine (%RDI per ounce): Koyadofu (Dried, frozen tofu) (65%), Soy Flour (54%), Soy Chips (42%), Fried Tofu (23%), Natto (22%), Tempeh (19%), Sprouted Soybeans, stir-fried (15%), and Silken Tofu (9%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#2: Beef & Lamb (Beef Round Top, cooked)
Cysteine 100g Per piece (267g)Per 3oz (85g)
460mg (160% RDI)1228mg (428% RDI)391mg (136% RDI)
Other Cuts of Beef & Lamb High in Cysteine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Lean Steak (133%), Beef Pot Roast (132%), Beef Brisket & New Zealand Lamb (129%), Lamb Shoulder (125%), Australian Lamb (122%), Stewing Lamb (119%), and Beef Ribs (117%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#3: Seeds & Nuts (Sunflower Seeds)
Cysteine 100g Per cup (140g)Per ounce (28g)
451mg (157% RDI)631mg (220% RDI)126mg (44% RDI)
Other Nuts & Seeds High in Cysteine (%RDI per ounce): Watermelon Seeds & Sesame Seeds (43%), Chia Seeds (40%), Pistachio Nuts (35%), Flaxseeds (33%), Pumpkin Seeds (32%), Brazil Nuts (30%), and Pine Nuts (28%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#4: Chicken & Turkey (Chicken, light stewing meat, cooked)
Cysteine 100g Per cup, chopped (140g)Per 3oz (85g)
423mg (147% RDI)592mg (206% RDI)360mg (125% RDI)
Other Poultry High in Cysteine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Chicken Breast (117%), Chicken Wing (116%), Chicken Dark Meat (111%), Chicken Drumsticks (109%), Chicken Thighs (107%), Fat-Free Ground Turkey (99%), Roast Chicken, with skin (95%), and Turkey Wings (94%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#5: Oats & Oat Bran
Cysteine 100g Per cup (156g)Per 1/2 cup (78g)
408mg (142% RDI)636mg (222% RDI)318mg (111% RDI)
Other Oats & Brans High in Cysteine (%RDI per cup): Oat Bran (189%), Wheat Germ (184%), Rice Bran (130%), Oatmeal, dry (129%), Oat Bran, cooked (76%), and Wheat Bran (75%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#6: Pork (Tenderloin, cooked)
Cysteine 100g Per piece (73g)Per 3oz (85g)
388mg (135% RDI)283mg (99% RDI)330mg (115% RDI)
Other Pork Cuts High in Cysteine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Bacon (130%), Cured Ham (123%), Pork Loin Chops & Roasted Ham (111%), Spareribs (110%), Roast Loin of Pork (109%), and Low Fat Ground Pork (108%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#7: Fish & Shellfish (Clams, cooked)
Cysteine 100g Per 20 clams (190g)Per 3oz (85g)
335mg (117% RDI)637mg (222% RDI)285mg (99% RDI)
Other Fish & Seafood High in Cysteine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Tuna (95%), Mussels (92%), Salmon & Snapper (84%), Mackerel (83%), Shrimp & Halibut (80%), and Pollock (79%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#8: Cheese, Dairy & Eggs (Hard Boiled Eggs)
Cysteine 100g Per cup, chopped (136g)Per egg (50g)
292mg (102% RDI)397mg (138% RDI)146mg (51% RDI)
Other Cheese & Dairy High in Cysteine (%RDI per cup): Swiss Cheese (133%), Feta & Fat-Free Natural Yogurt (44%), Grated Parmesan (31%), Natural Yogurt (27%), Skimmed Milk (18%), and Whole Milk (16%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#9: Legumes (Split Peas, cooked)
Cysteine 100g Per cup (196g)Per tablespoon (12g)
127mg (44% RDI)249mg (87% RDI)15mg (5% RDI)
Other Legumes High in Cysteine (%RDI per cup, cooked): Chickpeas (68%), White Beans (66%), Roman (Cranberry) Beans (63%), Yellow Beans (62%), Pink Beans & Kidney Beans (58%), Broad (Fava) Beans (57%), and Lentils (41%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#10: Wholegrains (Kamut, cooked)
Cysteine 100g Per cup (172g)Per 1/2 cup (86g)
120mg (42% RDI)206mg (72% RDI)103mg (36% RDI)
Other Wholegrains High in Cysteine (%RDI per cup, cooked): Teff (61%), Cous Cous (59%), Bulgar (45%), Quinoa & Millet (41%), Buckwheat Groats (34%), Pearled Barley (28%), Wild Rice (27%), and Brown Rice (19%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.






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Spices (Ground Mustard Seed) 680mg (237% RDI) per 100 gram serving 41mg (14% RDI) per tablespoon (6 grams) 14mg (5% RDI) per teaspoon (2 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Spices
Dried Fish (Cod) 673mg (234% RDI) per 100 gram serving 538mg (187% RDI) per piece (80 grams) 572mg (199% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Fish
Spirulina 662mg (231% RDI) per 100 gram serving 741mg (258% RDI) per cup (112 grams) 46mg (16% RDI) per tablespoon (7 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Spirulina
Liver (Beef, cooked) 526mg (183% RDI) per 100 gram serving 358mg (125% RDI) per slice (68 grams) 447mg (156% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Liver
Baker's Yeast 500mg (174% RDI) per 100 gram serving 60mg (21% RDI) per tablespoon (12 grams) 20mg (7% RDI) per teaspoon (4 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Baker's Yeast
Caviar 449mg (156% RDI) per 100 gram serving 126mg (44% RDI) per ounce (28 grams) 72mg (25% RDI) per tablespoon (16 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Caviar
Goose & Duck (Goose, cooked) 445mg (155% RDI) per 100 gram serving 2630mg (916% RDI) per 1/2 goose (591 grams) 636mg (222% RDI) per unit (143 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Goose & Duck
Game Meats (Rabbit) 415mg (145% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1241mg (432% RDI) per piece (299 grams) 353mg (123% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Game
Granola Bars 304mg (106% RDI) per 100 gram serving 85mg (30% RDI) per ounce (28 grams) 64mg (22% RDI) per bar (21 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Granola Bars
Shiitake Mushrooms 196mg (68% RDI) per 100 gram serving 29mg (10% RDI) per 4 mushrooms (15 grams) 8mg (3% RDI) per mushroom (4 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Shiitake Mushrooms
Sun Dried Tomatoes 183mg (64% RDI) per 100 gram serving 99mg (34% RDI) per cup (54 grams) 4mg (1% RDI) per piece (2 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sun Dried Tomatoes
Carrots 83mg (29% RDI) per 100 gram serving 60mg (21% RDI) per large carrot (72 grams) 106mg (37% RDI) per cup, chopped (128 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Carrots
Protein Powder (Soy Based) 722mg (252% RDI) per 100 gram serving 325mg (113% RDI) per scoop (45 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Protein Powder
Cuttlefish (Cooked) 426mg (148% RDI) per 100 gram serving 362mg (126% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cuttlefish
Sprouted Lentils 334mg (116% RDI) per 100 gram serving 257mg (90% RDI) per cup (77 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sprouted Lentils
  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.
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