Is your diet lacking in zinc? Time to think about it! Vitamins and minerals are indispensable for the maintenance of overall health. One mineral that often misses our attention is zinc. Though needed by the body in small amounts, this mineral is vital for maintaining the sense of smell, building a healthy immune system, triggering enzymes and for the formation of DNA. It also contributes to other aspects of health like vision, taste, hair and skin. It is believed to improve testosterone production in men and lessen PMS symptoms in women as well as boost the health of prenatal babies. Deficiency of zinc can lead to diarrhoea, impotency, stunted growth, loss of appetite, hair loss, eye and skin lesions, and impaired immunity. The best way to improve your zinc intake and prevent zinc deficiency is to incorporate foods rich in zinc in your daily diet.
|Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Zinc|
|0–6 months||2 mg*||2 mg*|
|7–12 months||3 mg||3 mg|
|1–3 years||3 mg||3 mg|
|4–8 years||5 mg||5 mg|
|9–13 years||8 mg||8 mg|
|14–18 years||11 mg||9 mg||12 mg||13 mg|
|19+ years||11 mg||8 mg||11 mg||12 mg|
* Adequate Intake (AI)
Nearly 90% of the zinc in our body is found in the bones and muscles. The recommended daily amount of this mineral is 15 milligrams which is quite easy to obtain as zinc is present in a variety of foods. Given below is the list of foods which are the best sources of zinc.
Top 13 Zinc Rich Foods:
Fortified cereals like bran, whole grain and multigrain cereals contain high amounts of zinc. It should be kept in mind that such cereals also contain phytates which bind with the zinc in them and prevent proper absorption. Cereals with high sugar levels should also be avoided as the high sugar content is enough to neutralize the health benefits of zinc.
Per 100 gram serving – 52mg
2. Wheat germ:
Wheat germ is also an excellent source of zinc with a 100 gram serving providing 17 mg of zinc, equivalent to about 111% of the recommended daily allowance of this mineral. You can make it a part of your diet by sprinkling some toasted wheat germ on your salad.
Per 100 grams serving – 17mg
3. Pumpkin Seeds:
Besides being extremely high in zinc, pumpkin seeds help prevent prostate cancer and support a healthy immune system. A 100 gram serving of pumpkin seeds contains about 10.3 mg of zinc, contributing 69% daily value (DV) of this mineral. To obtain maximum zinc, it is advisable to eat them raw as roasting them can deplete the zinc content.
Per 100 grams serving – 10.3mg
4. Sesame seeds:
Sesame seeds are rich in many minerals, zinc being one of them. Whether eaten raw, roasted or ground into tahini butter, a 100 gram serving of sesame seeds provides about 10 mg of zinc. Sesame seeds can be incorporated in your diet by using more hummus (a Middle Eastern dip made from tahini butter) or using sesame seed flour instead of wheat flour in baked goods or breads.
Per 100 grams serving – 10.2mg
If you are a meat eater, you are less likely to suffer from zinc deficiency as meats are one of the best foods rich in zinc. The meats that have the highest concentration of zinc include beef, lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. A 100 gram serving of cooked lean beef contains 12.3 mg or 82% DV of zinc. Similarly, 100 grams of cooked lean pork provides 5 mg or 33% DV of zinc. Chicken is also a good source with one cooked drumstick providing 15% DV of this mineral. Meats do contain high levels of cholesterol and fat, making it necessary to exercise portion control while consuming it.
Shellfish like crabs, clams, lobsters and mussels are powerful sources of zinc that are prior included in the zinc rich foods list. A serving of 6 oysters contains 76 mg of zinc which is nearly seven times the recommended daily allowance of this mineral. Shellfish is not easily available. Since it is exceptionally high in zinc, it is advisable to eat it occasionally. Excess intake of zinc can lead to impaired immunity and difficulties in metabolizing other minerals.
Per 100 grams serving – 76mg
7. Squash Seeds:
These popular Middle Eastern seeds are a good source of zinc, providing 10 mg of this mineral in a 100 grams serving. These seeds can be removed from the squash and eaten in raw, dried and roasted forms.
Per 100 grams serving – 10.3mg
Fruits generally do not contain abundant amounts of zinc but there are certain fruits that are the richest sources of this mineral. Pomegranates top the list with one fresh pomegranate providing 1 mg of zinc. Avocados are also high in zinc providing 1.3 mg in one medium fruit. Berries are good sources of zinc too. A cup of blackberries contain about 0.8 mg while raspberries and loganberries each contain 0.5 mg of zinc. A cup serving of dates provides 0.4 mg of zinc.
Certain vegetables are also good sources of zinc. These include soybeans, lima beans and peas. A cup serving of soybeans contains about 9 mg while the same amount of peas and lima beans contain 2 mg of zinc each. Other vegetables that contain zinc include green beans (1 mg) and Brussels sprouts or asparagus (0.5 mg) in a cup serving. A cup of corn provides 0.7 mg while potatoes and pumpkin provide 0.6 mg of zinc. Among the leafy green vegetables, Swiss chard is a good source of zinc, providing about 0.2 mg in a cup serving.
10. Dark Chocolate:
A square of dark chocolate can greatly boost your zinc level. A 100 gram serving of unsweetened dark chocolate provides 9.6 mg of zinc. 100 grams of cocoa powder provides 6.8 mg or 45% DV of zinc. Occasional indulgence in a square of dark chocolate is a great way to improve your zinc intake!
Per 100 grams serving – 6.8mg
Spinach is a super food which is rich in every nutrient and zinc is no exception. A cup of cooked spinach provides 1.4 mg of zinc, contributing 9% DV of this mineral. This gives you more reason to incorporate this leafy veggie in your diet!
Per 100 grams serving – 0.8mg
Among the vegetables, mushroom also deserves special mention because of its high content of zinc. They are another wonder foods rich in zinc. A cup serving of cooked white mushrooms provides 1.4 mg or 9% DV of zinc. This is similar to spinach. If you don’t like spinach, you can replace it with mushroom to get the same amount of zinc.
Per 100 grams serving – 0.9mg
Nuts can also be considered as good sources of zinc. Cashews, in particular, are rich in this mineral with 100 grams serving providing 5.6 mg or 37% DV of zinc. Other nuts containing zinc include pine nuts (12% DV), pecans, (9% DV), almonds, peanuts and walnuts (6% DV each) and hazelnuts (5% DV).
If zinc deficiency is the cause of your concern, make haste in incorporating these zinc rich foods in your dietary routine. Do ensure not to consume excess amounts of zinc as this can also cause adverse effects.
|SL NO||Top 10 High Zinc Foods by Nutrient Density||Per 100 Grams|
|#1.||Oysters (Cooked)||78.6mg (524% DV)|
|#2.||Wheat Germ (Toasted)||16.7mg (111% DV)|
|#3.||Beef (Lean, Cooked)||12.3mg (82% DV)|
|#4.||Veal Liver (Cooked)||11.9mg (79% DV)|
|#5.||Pumpkin & Squash Seeds (Roasted)||10.3mg (69% DV)|
|#6.||Sesame Seeds||10.2mg (68% DV)|
|#7.||Dark Chocolate||3.3mg (22% DV)|
|#8.||Dried Herbs & Spices (Chervil)||8.8mg (59% DV)|
|#9.||Lamb (Lean, Cooked)||8.7mg (58% DV)|
|#10.||Peanuts (Roasted)||3.3mg (22% DV)|
|Other Zinc Rich Foods|
|#11.||Fortified Cereals||52mg (345% DV)|
|#12.||Low Fat Yogurt with Fruit||0.7mg (4% DV)|
|#13.||Milk||0.4mg (3% DV)|
|#14.||Chicken Breast||1mg (7% DV)|
|#15.||Cheddar Cheese||3.1mg (21% DV)|
|#16.||Mozzarella||2.9mg (19% DV)|
|#17.||Watermelon Seeds||10.2mg (68% DV)|
|#18.||Venison (Cooked)||8.6mg (58% DV)|
|#19.||Veal||7.4mg (49% DV)|
|#20.||Fortified Peanut Butter||15.1mg (101% DV)|
|#21.||Alfalfa Sprouts||0.9mg (6% DV)|
|#22.||Asparagus (Cooked)||0.6mg (4% DV)|
|#23.||Rice Bran||6.0mg (40% DV)|
|#24.||Hearts of Palm||3.7mg (25% DV)|
|#25.||Seaweed (Kelp)||1.2mg (8% DV)|
|#26.||Napa Cabbage (Cooked)||0.1mg (1% DV)|
|#27.||Green Peas||1.2mg (8% DV)|
|#28.||Sesame Seeds (Tahini)||10.5mg (70% DV)|
|#29.||Flat Fish (Flounder or Sole)||0.6mg (4% DV)|
|Source : healthaliciousness|
Selected Food Sources of Zinc
|per serving||Percent DV*|
|Oysters, cooked, breaded and fried, 3 ounces||74.0||493|
|Beef chuck roast, braised, 3 ounces||7.0||47|
|Crab, Alaska king, cooked, 3 ounces||6.5||43|
|Beef patty, broiled, 3 ounces||5.3||35|
|Breakfast cereal, fortified with 25% of the DV for zinc, ¾ cup serving||3.8||25|
|Lobster, cooked, 3 ounces||3.4||23|
|Pork chop, loin, cooked, 3 ounces||2.9||19|
|Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, ½ cup||2.9||19|
|Chicken, dark meat, cooked, 3 ounces||2.4||16|
|Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces||1.7||11|
|Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce||1.6||11|
|Chickpeas, cooked, ½ cup||1.3||9|
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||1.2||8|
|Oatmeal, instant, plain, prepared with water, 1 packet||1.1||7|
|Milk, low-fat or non fat, 1 cup||1.0||7|
|Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce||0.9||6|
|Kidney beans, cooked, ½ cup||0.9||6|
|Chicken breast, roasted, skin removed, ½ breast||0.9||6|
|Cheese, cheddar or mozzarella, 1 ounce||0.9||6|
|Peas, green, frozen, cooked, ½ cup||0.5||3|
|Flounder or sole, cooked, 3 ounces||0.3||2|
Also you can check out the list of high potassium, iron, magnesium and protein rich foods list —
- Top 10 High Potassium Rich Foods
- Top 10 High Iron Rich Foods
- Top 10 High Magnesium Rich Foods
- Top 20 High Protein Rich Foods