zinc in Food – 10 Best zinc food sources

Zin in food – 10 Best zinc in food sources

Zinc is an important essential micronutrient that is important for health.

300 different types of enzymes require zinc for proper function

It helps in the metabolism of different nutrients, boosts the immune system, and enhances wound healing.

Some people like children, the elderly, women, teenagers, or breastfeeding women are at risk of zinc deficiency because their food lacks the proper amount of zinc

Zinc is not stored in the body, so an adequate level of zinc should be taken in food to maintain a normal level of zinc.

The daily amount of zinc needed

Now the question is raised that how much zinc is required for an individual per day.

According to the National Health Institute, the daily recommended intake of zinc for people is given below.

  • For men age 14 or older: 11 mg per day
  • For women age 14 or older: 8 mg per day
  • For pregnant women: 11 mg per day
  • For breastfeeding women: 12 mg per day

If you did not consume an adequate amount of zinc you will face many medical consequences like

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eczema
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Delay wound healing
  • Decreased sense of taste and smell
  • Lack of alertness
  • Cracks on skin etc

In this article, you will know about the top 10 best zinc food sources

Zinc in food sources


Shellfish are a good source of zinc with low calories. According to the National Institute of health:

3 ounces of shellfish contains= 74 mg of zinc or

Or 6 medium oysters contain = 32 mg zinc or 291% of the DV

3.5 ounces of Alaskan crab contain = 7.6 mg of zinc  or 69% of the DV

Smaller shellfish like shrimp and mussels have 7 mg or 14% of the DV (3.5 ounces)

Pregnant women should make first sure that shellfish is cooked well or not to avoid food poisoning.


Red meat is a good source of zinc. The content of zinc in meat varies according to the type of meat.

  • 3.5 ounces of beef contains 4.8 mg of zinc or 44% of the DV
  • Red meat includes different types of meat like pork, beef, lamb, etc.
  • 3 ounces of cook pork meant contains = 2.9 mg of zinc


For vegetarians, nuts are a good source of zinc. Nuts contain not only zinc but are also a rich source of vitamins, fats, and fibers.

Edible nuts include peanuts, cashews, almonds, and pine nuts which can raise your zinc intake.

Cashews are a good source of zinc in the nuts family.

1 ounce contains 15% of the DV

Nuts are essential to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It is also a good source of snacks.

Dairy foods

Dairy products are awesome sources of zinc.

Cheese and milk are the two sources of zinc that are like to teenagers and women.

100 grams of cheddar cheese contains = 28% of the DV

A single full cup of full-fat milk contains = 9% of the DV

Dairy products are a good source of other nutrients also like calcium, proteins, minerals, etc.


Seeds contain a significant amount of zinc and are available everywhere.

Besides zinc seeds also contain a huge amount of fats, fiber, and protein. Seeds that have a high content of zinc include.

  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Squash seeds etc.

For example

30 grams of hemp seed contain 31% of the DV

To obtain zinc daily intake includes these seeds in your snacks or meal.


To compensate for your daily recommended intake of zinc then eggs are the best choice. Because eggs contain a considerable amount of zinc.

For example

One large egg contains 5% of the DV for zinc.

Eggs are a rich source of many nutrients like fat, proteins, choline, vitamins, and selenium.


Legumes contain some amount of zinc but luckily legume is available in every home meal.

Along with zinc legumes contains minerals, fat, protein, carbs, vitamins, and fibers.

100 grams of cooked lentils contain 12% of the DV for zinc.

It is important to know that legumes contain phytates that inhibit the absorption of zinc from the gastrointestinal tract. These phytates are anti-nutrients.

So plants are a poor source of zinc as compared to animal products. But still, it is considered the best choice for vegetarians.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are the best choice for those following vegans or vegetarian diets.

It contains a good amount of zinc and facilitates the daily recommended intake of zinc.

Like legumes, whole grains have phytates that reduce the absorption of zinc in the body.

Whole grains that contain a considerable amount of zinc includes

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Wheat

Whole grains have many health benefits because it reduces the risk of obesity, constipation, heart disease, and type two diabetes.

Whole grains are a rich source of iron, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, magnesium, B vitamins, and fibers.

Dark chocolate

It is astonishing that dark chocolate contains a high amount of zinc.

Besides zinc content, it is also a rich source of nutrients and has high calories.

For example

100 grams of dark chocolate contains 70%-85% of the DV for zinc.

100 grams of dark chocolate contains 600 calories. So it is high nutritive food with high calories.

It should be kept in mind that it contains high calories and sugar so eat it in moderation and it keeps it as a primary source of zinc.


Vegetables and fruits are not good sources of zinc but it can contribute to your daily intake of zinc.

For example

Potatoes, both regular and sweet varieties have 1 mg per potato or 9% of the DV for zinc.

100 grams of kale contains 3% of DV zinc

In short, vegetables are not a good source of zinc but it is a good source of other nutrients.

Vegetables should include in your diet because they have plenty of health benefits.

Zinc deficiency risk factors

There are various factors that lead to zinc deficiency. Some people develop zinc deficiency without any reason because of their genetic makeup.

The most common factors that cause zinc deficiency include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Purely vegetarian
  • Taking zinc deficit food frequently
  • A huge intake of alcohol also reduces zinc levels in the body
  • Medications like thiazide diuretics, proton pump inhibitors PPI, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors ACIs reduce the level of zinc in the body.

Zinc Warning

You should intake only the recommended dose of zinc per day which is 40 milligrams per day.

According to the Center for disease control and prevention CDC excess level of zinc causes vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

If you know that you have an excess of zinc then immediately call medical help.

At any time human body contains only 2-3 grams of zinc. Zinc is distributed throughout the body.

If you are unable to fulfill the amount of zinc various zinc supplementations are available in the market to use to achieve a zinc adequate amount.


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