If you’re looking for nutritional information on food with zinc vegetarian and great recipes, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re a team of nutritionists and chefs who love food—but more than that, we care about the power that eating has to change our lives for the better. Food isn’t just fuel: it can have incredible effects on your body, your mind, and even your soul if you know how to make it work for you. That’s why we created this blog: to share our knowledge with people like you so we can all make the most of our meals.
We’re glad you’re here!
Food With Zinc Vegetarian
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in many processes throughout your body. It keeps your immune system healthy, aids in wound-healing, and helps keep your senses of smell and taste sharp. The mineral is especially vital during pregnancy, infancy, and childhood for proper growth and development.
The best sources of zinc are meat and dairy. This means if you’re a vegetarian and don’t eat meat, or vegan and don’t eat any animal products, you may not be getting enough zinc in your diet.
A majority of multivitamins contain zinc; you can also take a zinc supplement. But there are several plant sources of zinc, too, which help vegans and vegetarians meet their recommended daily intake. It’s important to note, though, that some of these plant foods contain phytates, which may bind to zinc, preventing proper absorption.
Getting enough zinc as a vegan or vegetarian helps your body fight off bacteria and viruses, heal from injuries, and more.
Why You Need Zinc
Your body doesn’t store zinc, so you need to get enough every day to avoid a deficiency. While rare in the U.S., symptoms of a zinc deficiency include:
- Appetite loss
- Poor immune function
- Delayed healing
- Hair loss
- Difficulty tasting properly
Children, teens, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with conditions such as digestive disorders or sickle cell disease, and those who eat a plant-based diet are most at risk for zinc deficiencies.
The amount of zinc you need varies based on factors such as age and sex. On average, adult women need 8 milligrams (mg) of zinc daily, and adult men need 11 mg a day. Women who are pregnant require at least 11 mg daily, and those who are breastfeeding should aim for 12 mg daily.
Zinc plays many important roles in your overall health. It’s necessary for:
Zinc is an essential mineral for your immune system. Too little zinc may increase your risk of developing a cold, pneumonia, or infection. Zinc helps activate T-cells, which control and regulate your immune response and attack and destroy infected cells.
Your skin holds about 5% of your body’s total zinc content. The mineral plays a role in cell growth, collagen formation, and inflammatory responses, making it essential for proper wound healing.
Oxidative stress, which occurs as a result of free radicals in the body, contributes to increased inflammation in the body. This raises your risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Zinc can help decrease oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body.
Reduced Risk of Certain Age-Related Diseases
Zinc may reduce your risk of developing certain age-related conditions like pneumonia and age-related macular degeneration. Studies show that zinc, combined with antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, can help decrease vision loss.
Foods with Zinc
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you might have a greater risk of a zinc deficiency. But there are plenty of plant foods to help you meet your daily requirements. These five plant foods are good sources of zinc:
Legumes—including lentils, beans, and chickpeas—are high in protein and important vitamins and minerals like zinc. A half-cup of chickpeas has 1.3 mg of zinc, and a half-cup of kidney beans has 0.9 mg. Keep in mind that they do contain phytates, which can affect the absorption of zinc. Cooking, sprouting, or fermenting legumes can help reduce phytates, making it easier for your body to absorb the mineral.
Nuts are full of protein, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals. They can provide varying amounts of zinc, too. For instance, a 1-ounce serving of cashews has 1.6 mg, while the same amount of dry-roasted almonds has 0.9 mg.
Seeds are another excellent source of zinc. An ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 2.2 mg. Sesame seeds have 0.6 mg per tablespoon, and a 3-tablespoon serving of hemp seeds has almost 3 mg.
Oats provide many important vitamins and minerals, and they’re linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other health issues. A half-cup of oats provides 1.5 mg of zinc. Like legumes, oats (and other whole grains) contain phytates, which can affect how well your body absorbs the mineral.
Made from soybeans, tofu is an excellent source of protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. A 4-ounce serving has 1.8 mg of zinc. Since it absorbs flavors well, many vegans and vegetarians use tofu to replace meat in various types of recipes.
Zinc rich foods for skin
Zinc is one ingredient that has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years thanks to its incredible health and beauty benefits. Especially beneficial for people with oily skin, it is also found in a number of popular skincare products like cleansers and toners for oily skin. But this doesn’t mean that those of us with other skin types cannot benefit from this star ingredient.
Á good way to consume zinc and meet the required dietary amount would be through supplements. But if you are someone who prefers holistic methods before moving onto supplements, then we have just the perfect thing for you! The other common yet highly effective way to meet the zinc requirements for healthy skin is to include foods that are high in zinc. There are a number of common veg and non-veg zinc-rich food options that you must start including in your diet today to control oily skin problems and achieve the clear and glowing skin that you’ve always wanted.
But before starting with the food options, let’s take a look at the sheer number of skincare benefits of including zinc-rich foods in your diet.
Benefits of zinc for the skin
1. Has antioxidant benefits –
Even though zinc is not an antioxidant in itself, it does deliver some amazing antioxidant benefits. It plays a very important role in protecting your skin against free radicals in the environment and protects the skin’s lipids for healthier skin.
2. Reduces inflammation –
Another amazing benefit of zinc is its anti-inflammatory properties. When combined with antioxidants, it helps in preventing your skin against oxidative damage that can end up causing inflammation and skin irritations. Additionally, the antibacterial, astringent and barrier-protective abilities of zinc work really well for people with
3. Prevents and heals acne –
The anti-inflammatory properties of zinc is the main reason why it is so successful at reducing and controlling acne. It improves your body’s immune function and prevents the inflammatory response that causes acne.
4. Delays visible signs of ageing –
Zinc is a great ingredient to prevent and reduce premature signs of ageing. This is because it helps in improving cell turnover, protects skin against sun damage, aids in collagen building and DNA repair to keep your skin youthful, healthy and glowing.
Top zinc rich food
After looking at the benefits of zinc for skin, we are sure you are excited to find out about the various zinc-rich foods available, right? So let’s get started!
1. Pumpkin seeds
A plant-based source of zinc to add to your diet ASAP is pumpkin seeds. A tablespoon of pumpkin seeds contains 2.2 milligrams of zinc, which is about 28% of the recommended amount for an adult woman. Additionally, this amount also delivers 8.5 grams of protein, making it an excellent choice for your overall health, skin and hair maintenance. If you can’t eat pumpkin seeds directly, you can add a tablespoon to your smoothies, salads or fruit bowls for a yummy crunch.
If you needed one more reason to include oats in your diet, then here it is. This breakfast staple is not only an excellent source of dietary fibre, but about half a cup of oats contains 1.3 mg of zinc. This makes up about 16% of the daily requirement for women. Additionally, consuming oats is extremely simple and hassle-free. Have about half a cup each morning by adding them to your milk. Throw in some of your favourite fruits for a yummy, healthy treat.
If you are a non-vegetarian who loves seafood, then you’d be delighted to know that crabs are one of the richest sources of zinc rich foods. One serving of zinc contains a whooping 7 mg of zinc (88% of daily requirement). While the exact amount of zinc depends on the type of crab you are consuming, generally speaking, crabs are a source of zinc and one that you should definitely not miss out on.
Another great plant-based option for your daily zinc needs are chickpeas. Even though most beans and legumes are rich sources of zinc, chickpeas are particularly brimming with the mineral. A cup of boiled chickpeas alone delivers over 30% of your everyday requirement, apart from being an excellent source of vegetarian fibre and protein. Munching on boiled chickpeas in between meals is a fun way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and energy.
5. Greek yogurt
Apart from being an excellent probiotic food, Greek yogurt is also on the top of our list when it comes to foods rich in zinc. A small bowl of plain Greek yogurt once a day delivers a major chunk of your zinc needs. Ensure that you consume Greek yogurt after your meals to aid digestion and boost the probiotic lining in your gut.
Oysters are one of the best and richest sources of zinc and if you are a seafood lover, this is one food you must include in your diet. Did you know that consuming just one oyster compensates for about 50 percent of your zinc requirement, apart from delivering countless other skin and hair benefits and nutrients, including vitamin B12. This is why we say consuming oysters a must if you want healthy, glowing skin.
If you are looking for a low-calorie source of zinc that is great for people wanting to lose weight, then you need to add mushrooms (especially shiitake mushrooms) to your diet. Even though one unit of shiitake mushrooms only delivers about three percent of your daily zinc needs, having a handful does do the job quite well. Additionally, there are so many fun ways to include mushrooms to your diet. Simply toss them in butter, add to them your salads, wraps or even make a curry out of it; the options are endless
The 10 Best Foods That Are High in Zinc
Zinc is a mineral that’s essential for good health.
It’s required for the functions of over 300 enzymes and involved in many important processes in your body.
It metabolizes nutrients, maintains your immune system and grows and repairs body tissues.
Your body doesn’t store zinc, so you need to eat enough every day to ensure you’re meeting your daily requirements.
It’s recommended that men eat 11 mg of zinc per day, while women need 8 mg. However, if you’re pregnant, you’ll need 11 mg per day, and if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need 12 mg.
Some people are at risk of a zinc deficiency, including young children, teenagers, the elderly and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
However, eating a healthy balanced diet that includes zinc-rich foods should satisfy everyone’s needs.
Here are 10 of the best foods that are high zinc.
Meat is an excellent source of zinc.
Red meat is a particularly great source, but ample amounts can be found in all different kinds of meat, including beef, lamb and pork.
This amount of meat also provides 176 calories, 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat. Plus, it’s a great source of many other important nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins and creatine.
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.
However, as long as 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.
Meat is an excellent source of zinc. A 100-gram serving of raw ground beef provides 44% of the DV.
Shellfish are healthy, low-calorie sources of zinc.
Oysters contain particularly high amounts, with 6 medium oysters providing 32 mg, or 291% of the DV.
Other types of shellfish contain less zinc than oysters but are still good sources.
In fact, Alaskan crab contains 7.6 mg per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), which is is 69% of the DV. Smaller shellfish like shrimp and mussels are also good sources, both containing 14% of the DV per 100 grams (3.5 ounces)
However, if you are pregnant, make sure shellfish are completely cooked before you eat them to minimize the risk of food poisoning.
Shellfish like oysters, crab, mussels and shrimp can all contribute to your daily zinc needs.
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans all contain substantial amounts of zinc.
In fact, 100 grams of cooked lentils contain around 12% of the DV
However, they also contain phytates. These antinutrients inhibit the absorption of zinc and other minerals, meaning zinc from legumes isn’t as well absorbed as the zinc from animal products
Despite this, they can be an important source of zinc for people following vegan or vegetarian diets. They are also an excellent source of protein and fiber and can be easily added to soups, stews and salads.
Heating, sprouting, soaking or fermenting plant sources of zinc like legumes can increase this mineral’s bioavailability
Legumes contain high amounts of zinc. However, they also contain phytates, which reduce its absorption. Processing methods like heating, sprouting, soaking or fermenting can help improve its bioavailability.
Seeds are a healthy addition to your diet and can help increase your zinc intake.
However, some seeds are better choices than others.
For example, 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds contain 31% and 43% of the recommended daily intake for men and women, respectively.
Other seeds containing significant amounts of zinc include squash, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
In addition to boosting your zinc intake, seeds contain fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition to your diet.
Including them as part of a healthy diet has also been linked to some health benefits, including reduced cholesterol and blood pressure
To add hemp, flax, pumpkin or squash seeds into your diet, you can try adding them to salads, soups, yogurts or other foods.
Some seeds like hemp, pumpkin, squash and sesame seeds contain significant amounts of zinc. They are also a good source of fiber, healthy fats and vitamins, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
Eating nuts such as pine nuts, peanuts, cashews and almonds can boost your intake of zinc.
Nuts also contain other healthy nutrients, including healthy fats and fiber, as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals.
If you’re looking for a nut high in zinc, cashews are a good choice. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 15% of the DV
Nuts are also a quick and convenient snack and have been linked to a reduction in risk factors for some diseases, like heart disease, cancer and diabetes
What’s more, people who eat nuts tend to live longer than those who don’t, making nuts a very healthy addition to your diet
Nuts are a healthy and convenient snack that can boost your intake of zinc and many other healthy nutrients.
Dairy foods like cheese and milk provide a host of nutrients, including zinc.
Milk and cheese are two notable sources, as they contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc, meaning most of the zinc in these foods can be absorbed by your body
These foods also come with a number of other nutrients considered important for bone health, including protein, calcium and vitamin D.
Dairy foods are good sources of zinc. They also contain protein, calcium and vitamin D, all of which are important nutrients for bone health.
Eggs contain a moderate amount of zinc and can help you meet your daily target.
For example, 1 large egg contains around 5% of the DV .
This comes with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 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 that most people aren’t getting enough of.
One large egg contains 5% of the DV for zinc, as well as a host of other nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, B vitamins, selenium and choline.
Whole grains like wheat, quinoa, rice and oats contain some zinc.
However, like legumes, grains contain phytates, which bind to zinc and reduce its absorption (29Trusted Source).
Whole grains contain more phytates than refined versions and will likely provide less zinc.
However, they are considerably better for your health and a good source of many important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and selenium.
In fact, eating whole grains has been linked to a longer life and number of other health benefits, including a reduced risk of obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease
Whole grains can provide a source of zinc in your diet. However, the zinc they provide may not be absorbed as well as other sources due to the presence of phytates.
In general, fruits and vegetables are poor sources of zinc.
However, some vegetables contain reasonable amounts and can contribute to your daily needs, especially if you don’t eat meat.
Potatoes, both regular and sweet varieties, contain approximately 1 mg per large potato, which is 9% of the dv.
Other vegetables like green beans and kale contain less, at around 3% of the DV per 100
Although they don’t contain a lot of zinc, eating a diet rich in vegetables has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer
Most vegetables are poor sources of zinc, but some contain moderate amounts and can contribute to your daily needs, especially if you don’t eat meat.
Perhaps surprisingly, dark chocolate contains reasonable amounts of zinc.
In fact, a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar of 70–85% dark chocolate contains 3.3 mg of zinc, or 30% of the DV .
However, 100 grams of dark chocolate also contain 600 calories. So while it provides some healthy nutrients, it is a high-calorie food.
While you may get some added nutrients with your treat, it’s not a food you should be relying on as your main source of zinc.
Dark chocolate can be a source of zinc. However, it’s also high in calories and sugar, so it should be eaten in moderation and not as a primary source of zinc.
Zinc is an essential mineral, and eating enough is important for maintaining good health.
The best way to ensure you are getting enough is to eat a varied diet with good sources of zinc, such as meat, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes and dairy.
These foods can be easy and delicious additions to your diet.
If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough zinc through your diet, consider speaking to your healthcare provider about the possibility of taking a supplement.
The Importance of Getting Enough Zinc on a Vegan Diet and How to Do it
Macronutrients (carbs, fats, protein) tend to be on the forefront of most people’s minds when they consider how to care for their health directly through what they eat. And this isn’t a bad thing— macronutrients are absolutely necessary for energy, muscle maintenance, health appetites and satisfaction, neurotransmitter function, and growth, preventing malnutrition, etc. However, micronutrients are also vital and often improve how well macronutrients are used or respond in the human body. Micronutrients are minerals, individual amino acids, and vitamins that direct cells just like macronutrients do. Found in all foods, these speak to our cells on quite a large level; without enough micronutrients, our bodies will cease to thrive.
Micronutrients: The Overlooked Nutrients to be Aware Of More Often
One of the most overlooked micronutrients is magnesium, a mineral that builds the bones, aids with nervous system and mood health, the ability to rest and recover after workouts, and more. Thankfully, magnesium is receiving just as much attention as calcium or iron used to in terms of meeting nutritional needs. Yet one mineral that seems to be easily overlooked, especially in plant-based nutrition, is zinc. And this is a huge mistake we should pay more attention to. Zinc supplementation is often implemented during pregancy or when we’re sick because zinc is vital to a healthy preganancy, and enhances immune health, but these are not the only times we should consider taking in enough zinc. In fact, it’s quite easy to do through our diets, despite a vegan — and even vegetarian — diet being naturally lower than animal-food based diets are. However, one benefit of plant-based nutrition is that the forms we derive our nutrients from are overall friendlier to the body than a diet heavy in animal-based products. While you may not be 100 percent plant-based, you can certainly achieve adequate amounts of zinc without beef, poultry, liver, or fish where it’s so commonly found.
Zinc deficiencies can result in: loss of hair, more susceptibility to colds and the flu, hormone imbalances, acne, and even change how the body uses and handles insulin in the body. Zinc assists with carbohydrate metabolism, efficient production of testosterone to prevent estrogen dominance, helps enhance the skin and nails, helps enhance your sense of smell, healthy growth, healthy eyesight, wound healing, and a well-functioning immune system.
Sources of Zinc in a Plant-Based Diet
Now that you know why you need it and that it’s easy to get enough of, focus on these zinc-rich foods below daily unless you prefer taking a supplement:
1. Beans and Legumes
This includes tofu, tempeh, black and green soybeans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, peanuts, etc. All beans and legumes offer great amounts of zinc, however, do be aware that they contain a large amount of phytates on their skin, which are meant to protect them in nature. Phytates, however, have been linked to a reduced absorption of important minerals and occur heavily in beans, legumes, and grains. Be sure you soak your beans and legumes first, or buy from brands that pre-soak theirs first. Then cook them thoroughly until they’re very soft. These steps reduce the phytates, which also makes them easier to digest. You should also rely on more than just beans for your zinc needs. And while not thought of as a bean, cacao and coffee beans are also great sources of zinc and do not need special preparation. However, raw cacao is more nutrient dense than chocolate and cocoa powder, so do keep this in mind.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds also offer excellent sources of zinc, some of the best being pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Eat a variety of these daily here and there in order to add more zinc to your meals. As a bonus, these foods are also great sources of magnesium, B vitamins, and iron which will assist with micronutrient health even further.
Oats are one of the few grains that offers a large amount of zinc. Oats are also great sources of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Soak your oats overnight to make them easier to digest and assimilate, or cook them throughly on the stove top if you prefer.
4. Wheat Germ
If you’re not gluten-free, wheat germ is also a good source of zinc, protein, and vitamin E. A sprinkle on your oatmeal with some seeds is a nice zinc-rich way to start the day!
5. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a great source of nutrients for plant-based eaters, particularly protein, vitamin B12, and yes, … zinc too! It actually has 20 percent of your needs in just 2 tablespoons. Not a shabby side effect of enjoying a cheesy-flavored delight, right? Nutritional yeast is also great for your blood sugar, with zinc, protein, and B vitamins being just one of the reasons why.