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Top 10 Foods High in Zinc

Get more zinc in your diet


Despite being at the bottom of most alphabetical nutrient lists, zinc is crucial to keeping your health in check, especially your immune system and metabolism.

While zinc supplements are widely available, many foods can help to achieve the recommended zinc intake of 40 milligrams a day. Here are 10 foods high in zinc.



Oysters on stone plate with ice and lemon

Known for their aphrodisiac qualities, oysters are also one of the food sources highest in zinc. One raw, wild, eastern oyster provides 39.3 milligrams of zinc per serving, with the canned format providing 91 milligrams per serving. Studies have also shown that oysters and other types of seafood can improve sleep patterns.

For those looking to incorporate more oysters into their diet, try this Oyster Po’ Boy Sandwich with Zesty Yogurt Sauce.



Grilled beef steak with spices on cutting board. Top view

Beef and other varieties of red meat provide a significant amount of zinc for many American diets. As consumers seek out healthier animal products, grass-fed beef has grown more popular. Choosing options such as grass-fed beef not only offers leaner cuts of meat, but also provides extra nutrients, including higher levels of iron and zinc.

Adding more zinc to your diet is easy with this Sweet Potato and Orange Beef Stew.


Black beans

Black bean salad on white background.

For those looking to lower cholesterol while also achieving their daily zinc intake, black beans and other types of legumes are a great plant-based option.

Incorporating black beans into your diet can offer treatment for inflammation and assistance in managing diseases related to the immune system. Black beans also offer an ample intake of protein and high levels of fiber and iron.

These Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers are a delicious and healthy way to raise your daily zinc intake.


Fortified Breakfast Cereal

Bircher muesli or overnight oatmeal with apple, banana and blueberries in a gray bowl, copy space.

In national surveys conducted throughout North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia, it was revealed that for most countries, their primary source of zinc came from cereal or meat products. Oat- and barley-based cereals have also been proven to potentially lower cholesterol concentrations as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.

Try fortified cereals as part of your afternoon pick-me-up with this Strawberry Muesli Pudding.



A simple scene of lentil curry bowl

While lentils technically fall into the same category as beans, they hold their own as a food high in zinc and iron. Categorized into three main types—red, green, and brown—lentils contain phytochemicals that protect against diabetes and high blood pressure. Show lentils (and your zinc intake) some love by adding this Curry Lentil Loaf to your weeknight dinner rotation.



Fresh quinoa tabbouleh salad with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers

Incorporating whole grains into your diet can help you to achieve your daily zinc intake, with quinoa offering a healthier option over refined grains. With many grain-based products increasingly being stripped of fiber and vitamins because of today’s milling and processing practices, consuming quinoa can add nutrients lost throughout the stripping process.

Weekly meal preps become elevated with the addition of Quinoa Taco Salad to your lineup.



Happy brunette woman drinking milk and looking away while standing in kitchen

Milk does the body good by helping you to receive a thorough intake of zinc! Providing a wealth of benefits to your overall health, dairy milk includes high levels of calcium, iron, and zinc.

For consumers of plant-based diets, plant-based milk offers a fantastic alternative to dairy milk. Fortified plant-based milks can range from cereal-based options, including oat milk and rice milk, to more common nut-based formats, such as almond milk and coconut milk.

When opting for nondairy milk, ensure you shake your carton before pouring as added vitamins and minerals may settle at the bottom of the carton. These Vegetarian Omelette Rolls are a great source of milk (dairy or unsweetened plant-based milk) and vegetables.



Rack of lamb , raw meat with bone on rustic kitchen table at wooden background, side view

Lamb is yet another animal product rich in zinc. Researchers discovered that consuming lamb on a weekly basis may have the potential to improve long-term cognitive outcomes for those living with Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re looking to get a bit more experimental in adding lamb to your meal, while also increasing your zinc intake, try this recipe for Cozy Lamb and Lentils with Gremolata.



Bowl with tasty almond on gray wooden background

You may go a bit nutty over the amount of zinc in almonds. One recent study demonstrated that consuming whole foods such as almonds can help to improve your diet. When replacing carb-rich snack foods with almonds, they may potentially assist in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels too. Try this delicious recipe for Almond Tamari Stuffed Mushrooms when looking to add more almonds at mealtime.


Zinc supplements

Vitamin C and Zinc - Orange flavored effervescent tablets to be dissolved in water

Finally, zinc supplements are a great way to achieve your daily intake. Recognized for its potential to ward off colds, zinc is readily available in most multivitamins and cold products. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any new supplement.



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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD