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In this blog, we will be discussing the top 10 Zinc-rich foods that you should include in your diet to meet your daily recommended intake of this essential nutrient.

Zinc is a crucial mineral that is essential for maintaining good health. 

It plays a vital role in the proper functioning of over 300 enzymes. It is involved in various important processes within your body, such as metabolizing nutrients, supporting your immune system, promoting the growth and repair of body tissues. 

Since your body doesn’t store zinc, it’s necessary to consume enough every day to meet your daily requirements. 

For men aged 19 and above, the recommended daily intake is 11 milligrams (mg) of zinc, while women in this age group need 8 mg. For pregnant individuals, the recommended intake is 11 mg per day, and if you’re breastfeeding or chestfeeding, you’ll need 12 mg daily. (Ref)

ConditionsRecommended daily intake of Zinc
Men 19years or above11mg of Zinc
Women 19years or above8mg of Zinc
Pregnant women11mg of Zinc
Breastfeeding12mg of Zinc

Individuals who may be at risk of zinc deficiency include:

  • children
  • older adults
  • pregnant people
  • people who are breastfeeding or chestfeeding

For most individuals, consuming a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet that incorporates foods rich in zinc should adequately fulfil their zinc requirements.

Here are Top 10 Zinc Rich Foods


Meat, including beef, lamb, and pork, is an excellent dietary source of zinc. 

Red meat, in particular, is a great source of zinc, but all types of meat contain ample amounts of this essential mineral. 

For example, a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of raw ground beef provides 4.79 mg of zinc, which is 43.5% of the Daily Value (DV) for men and 59.9% of the DV for women. (Ref)

This serving size also supplies 176 calories, 20 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat, along with many other vital nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins, and creatine.

Excessive red meat, especially processed, links to cancer and heart disease. Therefore, limit your intake of processed meats, and eat balanced with fruits, veggies, and fiber.


Shellfish, such as oysters, crab, shrimp, and mussels, are beneficial sources of low-calorie zinc.

Oysters are rich in zinc, with six medium oysters providing 33 mg, equivalent to 300% of the daily value (DV) for men and 412.5% of the DV for women. (Ref)

Although other types of shellfish contain less zinc than oysters, they are still good sources. For example, 100 grams of Alaska king crab contains 7.62 mg of zinc, which is 69.3% of the DV for men and 95.3% of the DV for women. (Ref)

Smaller shellfish, such as shrimp and mussels, also provide nearly 15% of the DV for men and around 20% of the DV for women in a 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving. (Ref)

If you are pregnant, ensure that you cook shellfish thoroughly before consuming it to minimize the risk of food poisoning.


Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans are rich sources of zinc. 

100-gram serving of cooked lentils can provide 11.5% of the DV for men and 15.9% of the DV for women. 

Legumes also have phytates, which can reduce the absorption of zinc and other minerals. This means that the body may not be able to absorb the zinc in legumes as well as it can absorb zinc from animal products.

Nonetheless, they offer zinc, protein, and fiber for individuals following vegan or vegetarian diets. 

To enhance the bioavailability of zinc and other minerals, one can try methods such as heating, sprouting, soaking, or fermenting. (Ref)


Dairy products are an excellent source of many essential nutrients, including zinc, which is crucial for maintaining good health.

Foods like cheese and milk contain high levels of bioavailable zinc, and your body can easily absorb most of the zinc present in these foods.

For instance, a single serving of sharp cheddar cheese (1 oz or 28 grams) can provide 9.5% of the daily value (DV) of zinc for men and 13.1% DV for women. Similarly, one cup (244 grams) of whole milk can offer 9.1% DV of zinc for men and 12.5% DV for women. (Ref)

Also, dairy products are also an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. By including dairy products in your diet, you can ensure that you are meeting your daily nutritional requirements, including the DV for essential nutrients like zinc.

Nuts (and peanuts)

Nuts like pine nuts, cashews, almonds, and even peanuts (type of legumes) are great sources of zinc, fiber, good fats, vitamins and minerals. 

If you want to boost your zinc intake, cashews are a good choice. A 1-ounce serving of cashews contains 14.9% of the Daily Value (DV) for men and 20.5% of the DV for women. (Ref)

They also make for a quick and easy snack. Eating nuts has been linked to lower risks of diseases like cancer and heart disease. People who eat nuts and peanuts tend to live longer. So, including nuts in your diet is a healthy choice.


If you’re looking to add a healthy addition to your diet, consider incorporating seeds! Not all seeds are created equal when it comes to nutritional value, though. 

For example, 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds can provide 27% of the daily recommended intake of zinc for men and 37.1% for women. (Ref)

Other zinc-rich seeds include pumpkin, squash, and sesame seeds.

Adding seeds to your diet has many benefits beyond just increasing your zinc intake. Seeds are also rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to any meal. Plus, incorporating seeds into a balanced diet has been linked to reduced blood pressure and cholesterol. (Ref)

To make it easy to add seeds to your diet, try sprinkling them on top of salads, soups, yogurts, or other favorite dishes. Your body will thank you for the added nutritional boost! (Ref)

Dark Chocolate

Although dark chocolate is usually thought of as a sweet treat, it actually contains a good amount of zinc. 

A 100-gram bar of 70%–85% dark chocolate can give you 30.1% of the daily recommended intake of zinc for men and 41.4% for women. However, it’s important to remember that dark chocolate is also high in sugar and calories, with 24 grams of sugar and 598 calories per 100 grams. (Ref)

While it can be a tasty way to add some extra nutrients to your diet, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking to get most of your zinc from your food.


Adding eggs to your diet can help you reach your daily recommended intake of zinc. 

One large egg contains 4.8% of the daily recommended intake of zinc for men and 6.6% for women. That’s not all, though – eggs are also packed with other nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins. They even contain choline, an important nutrient that many people don’t get enough of. (Ref)

In addition to being a good source of zinc, eggs are also versatile and easy to prepare. Whether you like them scrambled, fried, or boiled, there are plenty of ways to incorporate eggs into your meals. So, if you’re looking for a nutritious and delicious addition to your diet, consider adding some eggs. 

Some Vegetables: Zinc Rich Foods

While fruits and vegetables aren’t typically the best sources of zinc, there are some exceptions. 

Certain vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, and green beans can provide a reasonable amount of zinc and help you meet your daily needs, especially if you don’t eat meat. 

For example, a large regular potato contains (1.08 mg) 9.8% of the daily recommended intake of zinc for men and 13.5% for women, while a large sweet potato provides (0.576 mg) 5.2% for men and 7.2% for women. (Ref)

Even though vegetables don’t contain large amounts of zinc, they are still important for a healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. (Ref)

So, if you’re looking to add more zinc to your diet, consider incorporating some of these zinc-rich vegetables into your meals.

Whole Grains

Whole grains such as wheat, quinoa, rice, and oats do contain some zinc, but they also contain phytates, which can bind to zinc and reduce its absorption. (Ref)

Compared to refined grains, whole grains have higher levels of phytates, which means they may provide less zinc. However, despite this, whole grains are still a better choice for your overall health.

Whole grains are a rich source of various essential nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium. 

Eating a diet rich in whole grains has been linked to a longer life and several health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. So, while whole grains may not be the most reliable source of zinc, they are still an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. (Ref)


To maintain good health, it’s important to consume enough zinc, an essential mineral. The key to achieving this is by incorporating a variety of zinc-rich foods into your diet, such as meat, seafood, legumes, seeds, nuts, and dairy. 

Not only are these foods tasty, but they can also be easily integrated into your meals. If you’re concerned about not meeting your zinc needs through your diet, consulting a healthcare professional about the possibility of taking supplements might be a good idea.

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