20 Best Zinc Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet

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zinc rich foods - livayur

Zinc is a vital and useful mineral that supports multiple physiological processes in the human body. It is involved in immune system function, protein synthesis, DNA repair, cell division, and wound healing. [1] It is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is required for the proper functioning of many enzymes. Thus it plays a crucial role in the metabolic hormone regulation of growth, among several other key functions of the body. [2] In Ayurveda, Rasaka or Kharpara, Yasada, and Puspanjana are zinc-containing minerals also used as therapeutic agents. They have a cooling nature (sheeta virya) and an astringent taste. They are particularly beneficial in treating imbalances related to Kapha and Pitta doshas in the body. [3] Obtaining an adequate amount of this mineral through our diet is imperative. Incorporating zinc-rich foods into our meals is an excellent way to ensure optimal health and well-being. This article will let you know 20 of the best zinc rich foods you can easily include in your diet.

20 Best Zinc-Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet

Vegetarian Food Options:

  1. Pumpkin seeds:

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are considered zinc rich foods and make a delicious and nutritious snack. Just 28 grams of roasted pumpkin seeds contain about 2.2 milligrams of zinc.

  1. Sesame seeds:

Sesame seeds are a flavorful addition to the diet and provide about 5.5 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams. [4]

  1. Almonds:

Nuts like almonds are a popular item that offers various health benefits, including around 4.1 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams. [4]

  1. Peanuts:

peanuts - zinc rich foods for vegetarians

Peanuts are a delicious and nutritious nut, containing around 0.8 milligrams of zinc per 50 grams of dry-roasted peanuts. They are also considered sources of foods rich in magnesium and zinc.

  1. Lentils:

Lentils are a great plant-based zinc rich foods, with just a half cup of boiled lentils offering around 1.3 milligrams.

  1. Cereals:

Cereals such as oats are nutritious whole grains that contain approximately 2.3 milligrams of zinc per cup when cooked with water.

  1. Brown rice:

Brown rice is a healthier and nutritious alternative to white rice and contains about 0.7 milligrams of zinc in just half a cup of cooked long-grain brown rice serving.

  1. Kidney Beans:

Kidney beans are considered a zinc rich food for vegetarians and a delicious and nutritious legume, providing approximately 0.6 milligrams of zinc per 100-gram serving.

  1. Bread:

Whole wheat bread is another food source that provides a good amount of zinc, delivering approximately 0.6 milligrams per slice of bread.

Non-Vegetarian Food Options:

  1. Oysters:

Oysters are among the most outstanding zinc rich foods, containing more of this mineral per serving than any other food. They provide approximately 74 milligrams of zinc per serving, making them a powerhouse for meeting your daily zinc needs.

  1. Beef:

Beef is a popular and easily accessible source of foods rich in iron and zinc. It supplies around 3.8 milligrams of zinc from nearly 100 grams of cooked beef. The bottom sirloin in roasted form offers a healthier option.

  1. Cheese:

Various types of cheese such as cheddar are rich in zinc. With approximately 1.5 milligrams of zinc per 50-gram serving, cheese is a great addition to your diet.

  1. Sardines:

Sardines canned in oil are major zinc rich foods, providing approximately 1.1 milligrams per 100 grams of fish.

  1. Yogurt:

Plain Greek yogurt is not only an excellent source of probiotics but also contains approximately 1 milligram of zinc per 200-gram serving.

  1. Crab:

A blue crab is a seafood option that provides zinc, supplying about 3.2 milligrams per 100 grams of cooked crab.

  1. Pork:

Pork is a versatile type of meat that can be consumed in various forms such as center loin (chops), bone-in, or broiled, and offers around 1.9 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams of cooked meat.

  1. Shrimp:

Shrimp is a luxurious seafood choice that supplies around 1.4 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams of cooked shrimp.

  1. Turkey:

Turkey breast is a lean meat option that contains about 1.5 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams of cooked meat.

  1. Eggs:

eggs - foods rich in magnesium and zinc

Eggs are considered zinc-rich foods in India and a versatile and nutrient-dense food, offering approximately 0.6 milligrams of zinc per large egg. [1]

  1. Milk

Milk with 1 percent milkfat is a good source that offers around 1 milligram of zinc in just a one-cup serving.


What health problems can you face if you suffer from zinc deficiency?

A deficiency in zinc can lead to various health problems and impair the proper functioning of the body. Some common signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency include:
Impaired Immune Function: Zinc deficiency can weaken your immune system, making you more prone to infections. 
Delayed Wound Healing: Inadequate zinc levels can slow down the wound-healing process and lead to chronic wounds.
Skin Problems: Zinc deficiency may cause skin issues like acne, dermatitis, and dry skin.
Loss of Appetite: Zinc plays a role in taste perception, and a deficiency can lead to a loss of appetite.
Hair Loss: Insufficient zinc levels may contribute to hair loss and thinning.
Impaired Growth: Zinc is vital for growth and development, and a deficiency can lead to stunted growth in children.
Cognitive Function: Zinc deficiency has been associated with cognitive impairments and learning difficulties.

What is the recommended upper limit of daily zinc intake?

The recommended upper limit of daily zinc intake is 40 mg for adults and for infants under the age of 6 months, the upper limit is 4 mg of zinc per day.

Can zinc be taken daily?

Taking zinc daily is generally considered safe, as your body doesn’t require a large amount of this mineral. While it’s common to have slightly low zinc levels, combining a balanced diet with a multivitamin should provide you with the necessary zinc intake.


Ensuring an adequate intake of zinc is vital for maintaining optimal health and supporting various physiological processes in the body. Including zinc-rich foods in your diet can help meet your daily zinc needs and contribute to your overall well-being. Whether you prefer animal-based or plant-based sources, there are plenty of delicious options available to help you achieve a balanced and nutritious diet. Consume a variety of zinc-rich foods along with a well-rounded diet to support your health and vitality.


This article is written from a health and wellness perspective only and is not a piece of medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a certified medical practitioner before initiating any treatment. 


  1. Zinc
  2. Reported Dietary Intake and Food Sources of Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamins A, E and C in the Spanish Population: Findings from the ANIBES Study
  3. Zinc in ayurvedic herbo-mineral products
  4. Zinc and vegetarian diets


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