What Vegetables Have Zinc


What Vegetables Have Zinc? Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in the immune system and wound healing. Zinc occurs naturally in many foods, especially organ meats, seafood, shellfish, nuts, beans and seeds. When buying vegetables, buy the fresh form instead of frozen or canned. Many of the beneficial nutrients are lost when vegetables are cooked or processed into canned or frozen varieties. Vegetables high in zinc include:

What Vegetables Have Zinc

The best mineral for enhancing immunity is zinc. For your fix, turn to these meals.

Have you heard that getting a sufficient amount of zinc in your diet has been linked to a stronger immune system and quicker healing of wounds? Getting enough zinc has additional advantages.

According to research, zinc may be beneficial in the following circumstances:

the duration of the common cold.According to a meta-analysis, zinc supplements used over the counter lessen the severity and length of the common cold.Zinc supplementation may potentially shorten the duration of the common cold by 2.25 days, according to a comprehensive review that was published in July 2020 in The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Keep heart disease at bay.Researchers discovered that zinc may be crucial in controlling the heartbeat in a preliminary lab study that was published in July 2015 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This finding may help in the fight against arrhythmia-related heart failure. Before it is certain that consuming meals containing zinc will result in these consequences for individuals, more research in humans is required. For the study, researchers employed cardiac tissue from sheep hearts when observing these benefits. Although the study was small, with only 60 participants, and the authors noted that more research is required, it found that supplementing with zinc and magnesium for 12 weeks helped people with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease decrease insulin and fasting blood sugar levels and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Take care of hypothyroidism.In a small trial of overweight women with hypothyroidism that was published online in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2015, researchers found that zinc had a favorable impact on thyroid function.

promote eye health.According to the National Institutes of Health, more zinc may specifically help decrease the progression of age-related macular degeneration. (NIH).

aid in the healing of wounds.As previously indicated, research highlighted in an article published in January 2018 in Nutrients suggests that zinc may speed up the healing of wounds by lowering inflammation and stimulating immune cells around the site of injury.

Can Adding These Foods to My Diet Help Prevent Illnesses Like the Novel Coronavirus?

However, it appears that if you do test positive for COVID-19, having a zinc deficiency could make your symptoms worse. According to a short study that was published in November 2020 in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, many COVID-19 patients also had zinc deficiencies, and these individuals experienced more difficulties than those who did not. Nevertheless, additional research is required to determine the precise connection between a zinc shortage and COVID-19.

Unfortunately, it appears that starting to take zinc after a diagnosis will be ineffective. In a trial that was published in February 2021 in JAMA Network Open, zinc supplementation did not help patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 have fewer symptoms.

How Much Zinc Should You Take to See Benefits?

According to MedlinePlus, zinc is an essential trace mineral, meaning that our bodies only require a minimal amount of it to stay healthy. The recommended daily limit is 8 milligrams (mg) for adult women and 11 mg for adult men, according to the NIH. Do not undervalue the strength of this powerful mineral, even though only a small quantity may be required.

10 Best Sources of Zinc

Oysters Pack Zinc and Other Key Vitamins and Minerals


The US Department of Agriculture claims that this bivalve is a zinc powerhouse, with each raw oyster containing 5.5 milligrams of zinc. (USDA). Therefore, oysters are a fantastic supply of the element. According to the USDA, this mollusk is also low in calories, containing only 7 calories per oyster, and is rich with numerous essential vitamins and minerals, such as selenium and vitamin B12.

Oysters can be eaten raw, cooked, or on the half shell. You’re going to like them no matter how you serve them, and their zinc content may even help you have a stronger immune system.


Crab and Lobster Make It Easy to Meet Your Zinc Needs

Lobster is a good source of zinc

Both lobster and crab are superior sources of zinc. The USDA estimates that a small steamed or boiled lobster contains 4.7 mg and that 3 ounces (oz) of cooked Alaskan king crab provides 6.5 mg. According to Harvard Health Publishing, seafood is a fantastic supplement to any heart-healthy diet, while shellfish doesn’t offer as many advantages for the heart as salmon and sardines do.


Meat and Poultry Serve Up Protein and Zinc

Meat and poultry is a good source of zinc

In addition to being high in protein, chicken, pork, and beef also offer a respectable amount of zinc. According to the USDA, lean meats like boneless chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, and 90% lean beef are the most nutrient-dense cuts. The USDA estimates that just 1 cup of chopped skinless, roasted chicken breast contains 2.13 milligrams of zinc. As a result, chicken is a beneficial source of the mineral.

While it’s unclear which came first, eggs also contain zinc, which is best consumed today to increase your levels. According to the USDA, large eggs contain roughly 0.6 mg of zinc.

According to research, if you properly manage your diet, vegetarians and vegans can still receive enough zinc. Having said that, use caution: According to the NIH, those who follow these plant-based diets may require 50% more zinc than is advised. There are lots of non-meat sources of zinc on this list, so you can get your fill. Additionally, by heaping your plate with vegetables, you’re benefiting your health: According to a study that was published in April 2018 in The Journal of Nutrition, eating a nutritious plant-based diet has been associated with lower mortality risks among American adults.


Vegetables Such as Mushrooms and Kale Are Low-Calorie Sources of Zinc

Mushrooms are a good source of zinc

Did you know that zinc, along with other essential vitamins and minerals, may be found in wholesome veggies like mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic? The USDA estimates that 0.36 mg of zinc can be found in a cup of sliced raw mushrooms.In 1 cooked cup of kale, about the same amount (0.3 mg) is provided.

You can increase your intake of zinc by include these foods in your diet while consuming less additional calories each day. According to the USDA, mushrooms offer just 20 calories in 3 oz. and a very high concentration of the B vitamin riboflavin.

According to the Mayo Clinic, kale provides zinc along with vitamins A, K, B6, and C as well as calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese for only 33 calories per cup. Take a bite of this delectable mushroom risotto from Pinch of Yum!


Legumes Are a Vegetarian-Friendly Source of Zinc

Beans and legumes are a good source of zinc

Although zinc is frequently present in animal products, Krista Linares, RDN, who founded Nutrition con Sabor in Raleigh, North Carolina, emphasizes that vegans and vegetarians are not without options.She adds that zinc can also be found in legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans. For more zinc and other health advantages, include foods like hummus, edamame, and black beans in your meals.

Excellent sources of these foods are 1 cup of lentils, which provide 2.52 mg per cup, as well as the equivalent serving sizes of cooked edamame (2.13 mg), black beans (1.93 mg), and canned chickpeas.(1.66 mg).

According to a research published in Clinical Diabetes in October 2015, legumes are an excellent low-fat, high-protein food filled with vitamins, minerals, and a lot of dietary fiber for relatively little calories.


Versatile Nuts and Seeds Make It Easy to Up Your Zinc Intake

Nuts and Seeds are a good source of zinc

Add an ounce of pumpkin seeds or pine nuts to your salad the next time you make it for more crunch. According to the USDA, they will offer 2.17 mg (an excellent source) and 1.8 mg (a decent source), respectively.

Or buy some nuts at your local supermarket. Consider adding nuts like peanuts, cashews, or pecans—which are technically legumes—to low-fat or fat-free yogurt or oatmeal. According to the NIH, 1 oz of dry-roasted cashews has 1.6 mg of zinc, making them a good source of zinc.

Have you ever tried chia seeds? These little fellows are a good source as well; according to the USDA, 1 ounce has 1.3 mg of the mineral.From Janie Hoffman’s The Chia Cookbook, here is a dish for linguine al limone with grilled chia-chicken meatballs.


Whole Grains Deliver Fiber and Key Vitamins and Minerals Like Zinc

Whole grains are a good source of zinc

There are many health advantages to eating whole grains. One cup of cooked brown rice is a good source of zinc, containing 1.38 mg, while the same quantity of raw oats is an outstanding source, with 2.95 mg. Both foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and — you guessed it — zinc. Additionally, if you enjoy making sandwiches with whole-wheat bread, be aware that two slices contain 1.12 mg of the mineral. Cooked quinoa, which contains 1.85 mg of zinc per cup, is another whole grain that is a rich source of zinc. Try this quinoa chili recipe from Damn Delicious if you’ve never used that ingredient before and need some cooking ideas.


Fortified Breakfast Cereals Can Provide a Quarter of Your Zinc Needs — But Watch for Sugar

Fortified breakfast cereals are a good source of zinc

Many breakfast cereals are supplemented with zinc as well as other vitamins and minerals. According to the NIH, 1 cup generally gives 2.8 mg, which is a very good source. To find out just how much of your preferred brand you’ll be getting, look at the nutrition label.

Look at added sugar as well as the nutrition label when examining the food.The majority of cereals, with an average of 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving, are too sweet to be regarded as healthy, according to a survey of 1,556 cereals by the Environmental Working Group.Ryan Andrews, RD, a professional nutritionist and advisor with Precision Nutrition based in Norwalk, Connecticut, suggests searching for a cereal that lists whole grains as the first ingredient on the label and has no more than 6 g of sugar per serving (again, often 1 cup). He suggests some pretty nutritious options, including Total, Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, and Rice Chex.


Milk and Dairy Foods Help You Meet Your Calcium and Zinc Goals

Milk and dairy is a good source of zinc

Milk and yogurt are delightful and nourishing sources of zinc in addition to being rich sources of calcium. The USDA estimates that 1 cup of nonfat milk or low-fat milk provides 1.1 mg and 1.05 mg of the mineral, respectively. In the meanwhile, 1 cup of plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt is a fantastic source, providing 2.38 mg and 2.2 mg, respectively.

When making smoothies, cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt, use low-fat or fat-free milk. You can also try topping yogurt with granola and fresh fruit.

Again, if you cannot consume dairy, do not worry. This list demonstrates that there are several ways to obtain zinc without using animal products.


Try Decadent Dark Chocolate for a Zinc-Filled Dessert

Dark chocolate is a good source of calcium

Such a lovely surprise! The fact that dark chocolate contains zinc is yet another intriguing aspect of this treat. And it’s best if it’s darker: According to the USDA, cultivars of cacao that are 60 to 69 percent cacao typically yield some per ounce (almost 0.75 mg), while those that are 70 to 85 percent cacao have a little bit more (0.9 mg).

But that’s not all:Due to its flavanol concentration, dark chocolate may have certain vascular benefits, including decreasing blood pressure and enhancing blood flow, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Remember that there are other sources of zinc besides dark chocolate, even though it may be your favorite. Try to limit your intake to no more than 1 oz each day to control calories and sugar.


Eating vegetables has a lot of health benefits, and homegrown food is a great source of zinc and other important vitamins and minerals.

This mineral might be most frequently associated with fighting off colds, but what other functions does it serve in our bodies besides boosting our immune systems, and how can we increase our intake of it through home vegetable gardens?

What You’ll Learn

What Is Zinc?

Mineral, slightly brittle metal, and important nutrient, zinc can be found in nature.

Why does this matter? We must get it from our diets because our bodies cannot generate it and we require it for a number of vital processes.

For healthy adult males aged 19 to 50, the recommended daily limit is 11 milligrams, whereas for healthy adult females it is 8 milligrams. The daily need for pregnant women is 11 milligrams.

How It Functions

Because our bodies cannot store zinc, it’s crucial to get the recommended amount each day. In addition to promoting wound healing, DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, and cell division, it also supports our immune systems.

Additionally, it supports development and growth, particularly during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. It also helps to preserve the integrity of our skin and our senses of taste and smell.

At the onset of a cold, some people could use zinc supplements or other items that contain zinc.

If used as soon as symptoms appear, even though its efficacy has not been conclusively demonstrated, it may help shorten and lessen the severity of a cold. Zinc accomplishes this by joining forces with the cold virus prior to its cellular attachment.

A close up horizontal image of shiitake mushrooms in a wicker basket and set on a wooden surface.

Supplements can aid in the treatment of deficiencies or the prevention of colds, but for the average healthy person, food sources are sufficient.

Although fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and even fungi can give large amounts of this mineral, meat, poultry, and shellfish are often the principal sources of zinc in the diets of many people.

For those who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, these sources are particularly crucial.

Homegrown Sources of Zinc

Whole grains, legumes, certain seeds, fungus, and some vegetables are examples of plant-based supplies.

Phytates are found in grains and legumes. These substances reduce the bioavailability of zinc when coupled with it. This indicates that the body will have a harder time absorbing it.

Fortunately, the majority of garden veggies and mushrooms don’t include phytates, so they’re a good alternative.

In order of highest to lowest amount per serving, these are my favorite locally cultivated sources of zinc:

1. Pumpkin Seeds

2.2 milligrams of zinc, or more than 25% of the daily value for males and 20% for women, are present in one ounce of pumpkin seeds.

More information on the health advantages of pumpkin seeds is available here.

My personal preference when choosing a pumpkin variety to cultivate is the traditional “Jack-O-Lantern.”

A close up square image of 'Jack-O-Lantern' pumpkins set in a wicker basket.

‘Jack-O-Lantern’ Pumpkin

It is a great choice for both carving and cooking, and provides plenty of seeds that you can scoop and save for snacking.

Seeds to grow your own are available from Burpee.

And you can learn how to grow pumpkins in our guide.

2. Shiitake Mushrooms

The mineral is present in many different kinds of mushrooms, but the shiitake kind has the highest concentration. One mg of zinc can be obtained from half a cup of cooked, chopped mushrooms.

If you regularly consume mushrooms or want to get your kids interested in eating fungi, growing your own is a good alternative.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Purchasing a starter kit gives you everything you need to get going.

Check out this one from 2funguys, available via Amazon or read our full review of the best fungi-growing kits.

3. Spinach

This leafy green is a nutritional powerhouse and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Cooked spinach has 0.7 milligrams of zinc per half cup.

To get the same mineral payout from raw spinach for a salad or sandwich, you would need a significantly bigger quantity. When spinach is cooked, it greatly condenses.

A close up square image of 'Bloomsdale Long Standing' spinach, freshly harvested and set on a wooden surface.

‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’ Spinach

When choosing a variety to grow in your garden, I like ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing.’ It yields large, dark green leaves that are full of flavor.

Seeds are available in a variety of packet sizes from Eden Brothers.

Don’t forget to read our growing guide for the best spinach harvests!

4. Peas

When I was a child, dinner always included sweet green peas. A half cup contains 0.5 milligrams of the potent mineral, which is a beneficial addition to your daily requirement.

Growing your own peas is often very easy. Try growing these “Garden Sweet” peas if you like a sweeter flavor or perhaps if you live with some picky eaters.

A close up square image of 'Garden Sweet' peas with foliage and flowers set on a dark surface.

‘Garden Sweet’ Peas

They taste more sugary than other peas, but still contain all of those precious nutrients.

Seeds are available from Burpee.


Certainly! Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about zinc:

  1. What is zinc? Zinc is an essential mineral that is required for numerous physiological processes in the body. It is a trace mineral, which means that it is needed in small amounts but is still important for overall health.
  2. What are the dietary sources of zinc? Zinc is found in a variety of foods, including meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Some examples of high-zinc foods include oysters, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, beans, lentils, fortified cereals, and dairy products.
  3. What are the health benefits of zinc? Zinc plays a crucial role in many physiological processes in the body, including:
  • Immune function: Zinc is essential for the normal functioning of the immune system, and it is involved in the development and activation of immune cells.
  • Growth and development: Zinc is important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy. It is necessary for proper DNA synthesis, cell division, and protein synthesis, which are critical for growth and development.
  • Wound healing: Zinc is involved in the process of wound healing and tissue repair, as it plays a role in cell division and protein synthesis.
  • Antioxidant activity: Zinc acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  • Taste and smell: Zinc is required for normal taste and smell perception.
  1. How much zinc do I need? The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc varies depending on age, sex, and life stage. For most adults, the RDA for zinc is around 8-11 milligrams (mg) per day. Pregnant and lactating women may require higher amounts. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate zinc intake for your specific needs.
  2. Can I consume too much zinc? Yes, it is possible to consume too much zinc, which can result in adverse health effects. The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for zinc is set at 40 mg per day for adults. Excessive zinc intake can interfere with the absorption of other minerals, such as copper and iron, and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headaches. Long-term excessive zinc intake can also lead to copper deficiency and impaired immune function.
  3. Who may be at risk of zinc deficiency? Certain populations may be at risk of zinc deficiency, including:
  • Vegetarians and vegans: Plant-based diets may be lower in bioavailable zinc, as plant-based zinc is less easily absorbed by the body compared to zinc from animal sources.
  • Older adults: Older adults may have reduced zinc absorption due to changes in stomach acid production and decreased zinc intake.
  • Pregnant and lactating women: Pregnancy and lactation increase the demand for zinc, and inadequate zinc intake during these periods can lead to zinc deficiency.
  • Those with certain health conditions: Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders that affect nutrient absorption, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, may have increased risk of zinc deficiency.
  1. Can zinc supplements be beneficial? Zinc supplements may be beneficial for individuals with confirmed zinc deficiency or those at risk of zinc deficiency due to dietary restrictions, health conditions, or other factors. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplements, as excessive zinc intake can have adverse effects. Zinc supplements should be taken as directed, and it’s best to obtain nutrients from a well-balanced diet whenever possible.
  2. Can zinc help with colds or other respiratory infections? There is some evidence that zinc supplements, when taken at the onset of a cold, may help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

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