Top 10 Foods Highest in Zinc You Should Add to Your Diet

Top 10 Foods Highest in Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral that is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, wound healing, and DNA synthesis.

If you're looking to increase your zinc intake, there are many foods that are rich in this mineral.

In this article you'll learn about the top 10 foods highest in zinc that you can easily incorporate into your diet.


What is Zinc?

Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, meaning that your body can’t produce or store it 1. For this reason, you must get a constant supply through your diet 1. 

Zinc is required for numerous processes in your body, including gene expression, enzymatic reactions, immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, wound healing, growth and development 1. 

Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods 1. 

Foods that don’t naturally contain this mineral, such as breakfast cereals and snack bars, are often fortified with synthetic forms of zinc 1. 

You can also take zinc supplements or multi-nutrient supplements that provide zinc 1. 

Because of its role in immune function, zinc is likewise added to some lozenges and other natural cold treatments 1.


Why is Zinc So Important?

Zinc is an essential mineral found in a variety of plant and animal foods, along with supplements 1. 

This mineral is so important because it plays a key role in skin health, immune function, and cell growth and may protect against acne, inflammation, and other conditions 1. 

Zinc is necessary for numerous processes in your body, including gene expression, enzymatic reactions, immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, wound healing, growth and development 1. 

Benefits of Zinc - Woodwell Supplements


Which Foods are Highest in Zinc?

Now that we have an idea of what zinc is and why it's so essential, let's take a look at some of the foods highest in this mineral.


Oysters are the ultimate zinc superfood, with just one serving providing over 500% of your daily recommended intake of zinc.

Not only are they high in zinc, but they also contain other important nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you're not a fan of oysters, other seafood like crab and lobster are also good sources of zinc.


Beef and lamb are both excellent sources of zinc, with a 3-ounce serving of beef providing about 30% of your daily recommended intake and a 3-ounce serving of lamb providing about 20%.

These meats also contain other important nutrients like protein, iron, and vitamin B12.

Opt for lean cuts of beef and lamb to keep your overall saturated fat intake in check.



Meat is a great source of zinc, with ample amounts found in all kinds of meat including beef, lamb, and pork.

For instance, a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of raw ground beef contains 4.79 mg of zinc, which is 43.5% of the Daily Value (DV) for men and 59.9% of the DV for women . One serving also provides 176 calories, 20 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat.

Meat is also a great source of many other important nutrients like iron, B vitamins, and creatine . However, it’s worth noting that eating large amounts of red meat, especially processed meat, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and some cancers.

If you keep your intake of processed meats to a minimum and consume unprocessed red meats as part of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, this probably isn’t something you need to worry about.



Seeds are a healthy addition to your diet and can help increase your zinc intake.

Some seeds are better choices than others. For instance, 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds contain 27% of the DV for men and 37.1% of the DV for women.

Other seeds containing significant amounts of zinc include pumpkin, squash, and sesame seeds.

In addition to boosting your zinc intake, seeds contain fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and other minerals, making them an excellent addition to your diet.

Eating them as part of a balanced diet has also been linked to various health benefits, including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol.

To get more seeds into your diet, try adding them to salads, soups, yogurts, or other foods.



Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans all contain substantial amounts of zinc.

For instance, 100 grams (3.5 oz) of cooked lentils contain 11.5% of the DV for men and 15.9% of the DV for women.

However, legumes also contain phytates which inhibit the absorption of zinc and other minerals, which means zinc from legumes isn’t as well absorbed as zinc from animal products.

Despite this, legumes can be an important source of zinc for people following vegan or vegetarian diets.

They are also an excellent source of protein and fiber that you can easily add to soups, stews, and salads.

Heating, sprouting, soaking, or fermenting legumes and other plant sources of zinc can increase the mineral’s bioavailability.


Nuts like pine nuts, cashews, and almonds can boost your intake of zinc. Peanuts, which are technically a legume, are also a good source.

Nuts also contain other nutrients, including fiber, good fats, and a number of other vitamins and minerals. They have been linked to a reduction in risk factors for some diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Additionally, people who consume nuts and peanuts tend to live longer than those who don’t, which makes these food choices a very healthy addition to your diet.


Dairy products are a good source of zinc. Cheese and milk are two notable sources.

They contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc, which means your body can absorb most of the zinc in these items.

Dairy products also provide several other nutrients considered important for bone health, including protein, calcium, and vitamin D.



Eggs contain a moderate amount of zinc and can help you meet your daily target.

For instance, one large egg contains 4.8% of the DV for men and 6.6% of the DV for women.

One large egg also provides 77.5 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of healthy fats, and a host of other vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and selenium.

Whole eggs are also an important source of choline, a nutrient most people aren’t getting enough of.


Whole Grains

Whole grains like wheat, quinoa, rice, and oats contain some zinc.

Like legumes, grains contain phytates which bind to zinc and reduce its absorption.

Whole grains contain more phytates than refined grains and will likely provide less zinc. However, they’re considerably better for your health.

They’re also a good source of many important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium.

Eating whole grains has been linked to a longer life and many other health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.


Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains reasonable amounts of zinc.

For instance, a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar of 70%–85% dark chocolate contains 3.31 mg of zinc, or 30.1% of the DV for men and 41.4% of the DV for women.

One hundred grams of dark chocolate also contain 24 grams of sugar and 598 calories.

It’s a high calorie food, so while you may get some added nutrients with this treat, it’s not a food you should rely on as a primary source of zinc.


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