10 Best Food Sources of Zinc

Zinc is essential for good health. It is vital for new-borns, children, and pregnant women since it promotes growth and development.

Although zinc is present in many foods, the body does not absorb zinc in the same way.

Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to suffer from zinc insufficiency because people who ingest protein are more likely to absorb zinc. People who eat a lot of grains and legumes need more zinc than meat eaters. Breastmilk also contains zinc.

Role of Zinc

Your body uses zinc, an essential metal, in various ways.

  • All cells contain zinc, the second most common mineral in your body after iron.

  • Zinc is required to operate about three hundred enzymes involved in several activities, including digestion, neuronal function, and metabolism.

  • It is also essential for immune cell development and function.

  • This mineral is essential for synthesizing proteins, DNA, and healthy skin.

  • Zinc is crucial for body growth and development due to its role in cell division and proliferation.

  • Zinc also affects how you perceive taste and smell. Since one of the enzymes required for typical taste and smell is zinc-dependent, a zinc deficit may impair your ability to taste or smell.

How Much Zinc Does a Body Need?

Most people will get enough zinc through a healthy, balanced diet. However, patients using certain medications, the elderly, those suffering from certain gastrointestinal illnesses, and pregnant and breastfeeding women may require more.

Most men need 14 milligrams (mg) of zinc daily, whereas most women need 8mg. This article on zinc and your health will tell you how much zinc you need based on your age and stage of life.

Benefits of Zinc

  • Boosts immunity

  • Increases the speed of recovery

  • Reduces the risk of age-related diseases

  • Treats acne

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency can first create eczema-like skin problems. Cracks and a glazed appearance on the skin are prevalent, particularly around the mouth, diaper area, and hands. Moisturizers, steroid creams, and lotions are ineffective in treating the rash.

People with zinc deficiency may experience the following −

  • Hair loss

  • More infections

  • Loss of appetite

  • Lack of taste and smell

  • Weight loss

  • Eye problems

  • Wounds will take much longer to heal

Best Food Sources of Zinc


Shellfish are filling, low in calorie intake, and high in zinc. Oysters and Alaskan crabs are primarily high in zinc. Smaller shellfish, such as mussels and shrimp, are also good sources. If a woman is pregnant, she must ensure that the shellfish is thoroughly cooked before eating it. This reduces the possibility of foodborne illness.


Another excellent source of this mineral is seeds. Seeds are a powerful supplement that may be included in a person's diet to increase zinc intake. Sesame and pumpkin seeds are two more seeds that contain a lot of zinc. Seeds can aid in lowering blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels.


A great source of zinc is meat. Although different forms of meat can contain considerable quantities, red meat is a fantastic source, including hog, beef, and lamb. Zinc is high in critical minerals such as creatine, iron, and B vitamins. But consuming large quantities of red meat, mainly processed meat, can increase the risk of heart disease and various malignancies.

Dairy products

Milk and cheese contain a variety of minerals, including zinc. Milk and cheese are the two most significant zinc suppliers because they have high levels of accessible zinc, meaning that the body can receive most of the zinc from such meals.


It has a significant quantity of zinc, and it can make someone meet their daily needs for zinc. One big egg contains calories, protein, good fats, and vitamins and minerals such as selenium and B. Full eggs also include choline, a vitamin most people do not receive enough of. If you enjoy eggs, you should continue to consume them in moderation to meet part of your daily zinc requirements.

Vegetables (not all)

Zinc content in fruits and vegetables is frequently low. Contrarily, few veggies have adequate amounts and can help a person meet their daily needs, mainly if they don't eat meat. Even though veggies don't contain much zinc, a diet rich in vegetables has decreased the risk of chronic illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.


Nuts are high in protein, fiber, healthy fats, and other essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, nuts contain different amounts of zinc. Consumption of different types of nuts, like peanuts and almonds, increases a person's zinc intake. Cashews are an excellent source of zinc if you're seeking a nut. Additionally, nuts high in zinc are an easy-to-grab snack that may help lower risk factors for specific disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Furthermore, those who eat nuts survive longer than those who do not, making nuts an extremely healthful component of a person's diet.

Whole Grains

Zinc is found in whole grains such as oats, wheat, quinoa, and rice. Grains, in contrast, include phytates, which, like legumes, bind to zinc and decrease consumption. Phytate content in whole grains is higher than in processed carbs and probably lower in zinc. They have many vital elements, including vitamin B, fiber, iron, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, and manganese, and are much healthier overall. Consuming whole grains has increased lifespan and other health advantages, including a lower risk of obesity and heart disease.


Tofu, made from soybeans, is an excellent protein source and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, and zinc. Tofu is commonly used to supplement creatine by vegans and vegetarians because it acquires the taste efficiently.


Zinc may be found in legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans.

They are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals such as zinc. Legumes include phytates, which may interfere with zinc intake. Cooking, fermentation, or germinating them reduces phytates, allowing the body to take zinc more easily.

Zinc toxicity

Zinc has numerous health benefits, but consuming mush can sometimes be harmful. It may cause −

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Hair loss

  • Headaches

  • Diarrhea


Getting adequate zinc is essential for maintaining good health since it is a mineral. Eating a diversified diet rich in zinc-rich foods, including meat, fish, legumes, seeds, nuts, and dairy, is the best approach to ensure you receive enough zinc. These items could make easy additions to your diet that are also delicious. If your doctor determines that you are not receiving enough zinc from your regular diet, you should take a supplement.

Updated on: 17-Jan-2023


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