Diet & Nutrition 5 MIN READ 154 VIEWS November 25, 2022 Read in Hindi

The 10 Best Dietary Sources of Zinc

Written By HealthKart

Sources of zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that is required for various bodily functions. Since the body is unable to store zinc, meeting the daily requirement through dietary sources every day is necessary. The everyday requirement of adult men is 11 mg and for women, it is 8 mg. Pregnant and lactating women require 12 mg of zinc daily.  Older persons, children, and pregnant and lactating women are more susceptible to zinc deficiency. Including either animal or plant sources of zinc in your diet is crucial if you have to avoid zinc deficiency.

Best Sources of Zinc

Zinc provides various health benefits. It is required for over 300 enzyme functions and other crucial body processes. It breaks down food, keeps your immune system strong, and builds and repairs bodily tissues. Restoring zinc daily becomes essential as our body does not store zinc. There is an array of foods that contain zinc and a list is provided below for your reference:

1. Shellfish

Shellfish are low-calorie sources of zinc. All varieties of shellfish are excellent sources of zinc but oysters are comparatively higher in zinc. 6 medium oysters contain 33 mg of zinc which is a fairly good amount. 100 grams of Alaska king crab contains 7.62 mg of zinc. Other smaller shellfish like shrimp and mussels contain zinc to the extent of  15% of the DV for men and about 20% of DV for women.

Though shellfish is an excellent source of zinc you should exercise caution. It has to be thoroughly cooked to avoid food poisoning, especially when pregnant women consume it.

2. Meat

Meat is a top-notch source of zinc. Red meat is particularly a good source. However, all types of meat, like beef, lamb, and hog, contain ample zinc.

A 100-gram serving of raw ground beef contains 4.79 mg of zinc which constitutes 43.5% of  DV for men and 59.9% of  DV for women. A diet with meat will also have other nutrients like protein and fat in addition to a good calorie count.

But it would help if you kept in mind that consuming a large quantity of red meat, more importantly, red meat,  poses a risk of cardiovascular diseases though it is nutrient-dense.

You can minimise the quantity of processed red meat and plan a diet with unprocessed meat and other zinc foods like vegetables and fruits.

3. Seeds

Seeds provide you with the required intake of zinc. Most seeds like pumpkin, hemp, squash, and sesame are a healthy addition to your diet and are considered good zinc foods as they provide a considerable amount of zinc.  Of the lot, hemp seeds are the best. A 30-gram serving of hemp seeds will provide 27% of  DV for men and 30% of  DV for women.

Furthermore, seeds contain fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and other minerals, making them a nutritious addition to your diet. Making seeds a part of your diet will help manage your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

You can make the consumption of seeds interesting by topping your salads and soups with them.

4. Nuts

You can increase your intake of zinc by eating nuts like almonds, cashews, and pine nuts. Another good source is peanuts, which are technically a legume. Nuts also provide other essential vitamins and minerals in addition to fibre and healthy fats. If you’re looking for a nut that has a lot of zinc, cashews are a fantastic option. 14.9% of DV for men and 20.5% of DV for women both present a 28 to 35-gram serving.

For a speedy snack, nuts are the best option. Consuming nuts reduces the risk of various diseases like cancer and heart disease. This is a perk you get by including nuts in your diet.

5. Legumes

Legumes including lentils, beans, and chickpeas, all have significant zinc content.  A 100-gram serving of cooked lentils contains 15.9% of the DV for women and 11.5% of the DV for males. But phytates that inhibit the bioavailability of zinc and other elements are also present in legumes.

Despite this, for those who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, beans can be a significant source of zinc. They are a great source of fibre and protein that you can incorporate into salads, soups, and stews. You can, however, increase the bioavailability of zinc by sprouting, fermenting, cooking or soaking legumes. The same applies to other plant-based sources of zinc as well.

6. Dairy Products

Zinc is one of many minerals found in dairy products. The two significant sources are milk and cheese. They are rich in bioavailable zinc, meaning most of it can be absorbed by the body.

For instance, 9.5% of the DV for men and 13.1% of the DV for women are both present in 28 grams of strong cheddar cheese. Whole milk contains 9.1% of the male DV and 12.5% of the female DV in just one cup, i.e., 244 ml. Protein, calcium, and vitamin D, the elements crucial for bone health, are found in dairy products.

7. Eggs

A considerable amount of zinc is included in eggs, which can help you reach your daily goal. One large egg, for instance, has 6.6% of DV for women and 4.8% of DV for men. In addition, a large egg has 77.5 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of good fats, and a variety of additional vitamins and minerals, such as selenium and B vitamins. Choline, a vitamin that most people don’t get enough of, is another crucial component in whole eggs.

8. Whole Grains

Some grains like wheat, quinoa, rice, and oats are zinc rich foods.  Grain products, like legumes, contain phytates that bind to zinc and inhibit its absorption. In comparison to refined grains, whole grains have a higher phytate content and probably supply less zinc. They are, nevertheless, much healthier for your health. You will have the additional benefit of serving various other essential nutrients like fibre, vitamin B, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium by including whole grains in your diet.

Consuming whole grains is associated with a higher life expectancy and a number of positive health effects, such as a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

9. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has a reasonable zinc content. A 100-gram bar of 70 to 75% dark chocolate contains 3.31 mg of zinc, or 30.1% of the DV for men and 41.4% of the DV for women. But 100 grams of dark chocolate also contains loads of sugar and calories i.e, 24 grams of sugar and 598 calories which is not a good idea if you are watching your sugar and calorie intake, especially, if you have a weight loss goal.

Even while you might gain some extra nutrients from this delicacy, including this as a zinc food  in your diet is not the best option.

10. Vegetables

Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables are not the best foods that contain zinc. If you don’t consume meat, some veggies can help you meet your daily needs because they contain reasonable protein levels. A large normal potato, for instance, has 1.08 mg, or 9.8% of the  DV for males and 13.5% for women. Other zinc rich vegetables, such as kale and green beans, each contain about 2.5% of the DV for males and over 3.5% of the DV for women in 100 grams of each.

Despite not being a considerably good source of zinc, vegetables are nutritious additions to a balanced diet as they provide various health benefits.


Consuming adequate amounts of zinc is crucial for sustaining robust health. Eating a diversified diet that includes dietary sources of zinc such as meat, fish, legumes, seeds, nuts, and dairy is the best approach to be sure you’re receiving enough. You may easily and delectably include these meals into your diet.

Yet, if you are concerned about not getting the required zinc level from your diet, consuming zinc supplements is the other best option. There are various premium brands providing zinc supplements. However, it is recommended to consult a physician or a health provider before taking a supplement.

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