Foods Containing Zinc

Leena Palande Oct 27, 2018
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We will inform you about the advantages of zinc rich foods, and also guide you about the easily available sources of the mineral zinc. Read on, to know how these foods can help improve your health...
A wide variety of zinc rich food is naturally available; which actually can cater to the zinc requirements of our body. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc (symbol: Zn) is about 11 milligrams per day for an adult man and 8 milligrams for an adult woman.
Obviously, a lactating or a pregnant woman requires a little more than the stipulated quantity, about 11 milligrams per day. About 5 milligrams per day is the RDA of Zn for 4-8 year old children and 8 mg for 9-13 year old children. The RDA of this dietary element per day for infants is about 3 mg.

Foods Rich in Zinc

  • Whole grains are the best sources of this mineral.
  • Zn from meat is four times more bio-available than Zn from grain foods.
  • Your daily food should include pecan, cashew and pine nuts to have adequate amount of the mineral.
  • About 4-5 mg zinc (about 25-30 % of RDA) can be obtained from 100 gm of lean pork pieces.
  • About 3 mg can be obtained from 100 gm of nuts or dried fruits.
  • Fresh fruits, potatoes, pumpkin seeds are some of the common sources.
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt (250 ml of yogurt provides 15 percent of RDA) are also good sources.
  • 100 gm chicken can give you about 2 mg of zinc with one medium-sized chicken leg catering to about 15-20 % of the RDA.
  • The non vegetarian foods that are packed with this important dietary element include calf's liver, lamb, shrimp, and fish.
  • Vegetarian foods like spinach, crimini mushrooms, thyme, basil, yeast, asparagus, miso, maple syrup, peas, broccoli, mustard greens, and sesame seeds also contain high Zn amounts.
  • 100 gm of red meat contains 5.2 mg of zinc. Beef in the diet can fulfill about 30 - 60 % of the daily zinc requirement.
  • Shellfish (100 gm contain 20 mg Zn) and egg yolk (100 gm contain about 1.5 mg Zn) are the foods that can be easily incorporated in your diet.
  • 148 mg Zn can be obtained from 3.5 ounce serving of oysters. 100 gm of oysters can offer about 25 mg Zn. As an example, six medium-sized oysters in the diet can fulfill the daily Zn requirement.

Health Advantages

  • The mineral helps in the production process of hundreds of enzymes in our body.
  • It is required for various enzymatic and biochemical reactions during the process of metabolism.
  • It strengthens the immune system.
  • It maintains our senses of smell and taste.
  • It is imperative for DNA synthesis.
  • It helps address Crohn's disease and Wilson's disease as it bars copper absorption.
  • Zinc supplements are prescribed to care for those having recent burn injuries.
  • Persons with high level of alcohol consumption are suggested to take the supplements.
  • The supplements are beneficial for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It has been observed that the Zn levels in Alzheimer's patients are much lower than normal. Zn deficiency can lead to destruction of nerve cells.
  • Such deficiency in children can cause dwarfism or abnormal growth along with mental and psychological problems.
  • This type of deficiency can lead to anorexia, slow wound healing, skin disorders, night blindness, hypogonadism, skin problems, weight loss, diarrhea, joint and hip pain, hair loss, and emotional instability.


Too much of any dietary element is harmful to our body. So, zinc supplements should be carefully taken, under the guidance of a physician. If the Zn intake exceeds 50 milligrams, it can lead to serious disorders like overload on liver, altered iron function, reduction of HDL (good cholesterol), and reduced immune function, leading to various complications.
Our body absorbs only 15%-40% of the zinc consumed, no matter how much you consume. The dietary fibers and phytic acid in the brain prevent excessive absorption of Zn, especially when it comes from some non-meat food source. But an increased intake of vitamins C, E, and B6 along with minerals like magnesium helps enhance zinc absorption in the body.
In the milling and cooking processes, zinc is often lost, resulting in low Zn consumption. So a healthy and balanced diet replete with zinc-rich foods is required to maintain proper and sufficient zinc level in the body.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.
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