Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. Zinc also helps the cells in your body communicate by functioning as a neurotransmitter. A deficiency in zinc can lead to stunted growth, diarrhea, impotence, hair loss, eye and skin lesions, impaired appetite, and depressed immunity. Conversely, consuming too much zinc can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches in the short term, and can disrupt absorption of copper and iron in the long term. The current daily value (DV) for Zinc is 15mg. If you have a zinc deficiency, then animal foods are better sources of zinc than plant foods.
Below is a list of the top ten foods highest in Zinc by common serving size.
#1: Seafood (Cooked Oysters)
|Zinc in 100g||Per 3oz (85g)||Per 6 Oysters (42g)|
|78.6mg (524% DV)||66.8mg (445% DV)||33.0mg (220% DV)|
Other Seafood High in Zinc (%DV per 3oz cooked): Crab (43%), and Lobster (41%).
#2: Beef and Lamb (Cooked Lean Beef Shortribs)
|Zinc in 100g||1 Rack of Ribs (315g)||1 Lean Ribeye Fillet (129g)|
|12.3mg (82% DV)||38.7mg (258% DV)||14.2mg (95% DV)|
Lamb is also a good source of Zinc (%DV per 3oz cooked): Lean Foreshank (49%), Lean Shoulder (46%) and Lean Cubed Lamb for Stewing (37%).
#3: Wheat Germ (Toasted)
|Zinc in 100g||Per Cup (113g)||Per Ounce (28g)|
|16.7mg (111% DV)||18.8mg (126% DV)||4.7mg (31% DV)|
Crude or Untoasted Wheat Germ is also a good source of Zinc providing 94% DV per cup:.
|Zinc in 100g (Cooked)||Per Cup (Cooked – 180g)||100g (Raw)|
|0.8mg (5% DV)||1.4mg (9% DV)||0.5mg (4% DV)|
Other Green Leafy Vegetables High in Zinc (%DV per cup): Amaranth Leaves, cooked (8%), and Endive and Radiccio, raw (2%).
#5: Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
|Zinc in 100g||Per Cup (64g)||Per Ounce (28g)|
|10.3mg (69% DV)||6.6mg (44% DV)||2.9mg (19% DV)|
Other Seeds High in Zinc (%DV per ounce): Sunflower (10%), Chia (9%), and Flaxseeds (8%).
#6: Nuts (Cashews)
|Zinc in 100g (Roasted)||Per Cup (137g)||Per Ounce (28g)|
|5.6mg (37% DV)||7.7mg (51% DV)||1.6mg (10% DV)|
Other Nuts High in Zinc (%DV per ounce): Pine nuts (12%), Pecans (9%), Almonds (6%), Walnuts (6%), Peanuts (6%), and Hazelnuts (5%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#7: Cocoa and Chocolate (Cocoa Powder)
|Zinc in 100g||Per Cup (86g)||Per Tablespoon (5g)|
|6.8mg (45% DV)||5.9mg (39% DV)||0.3mg (2% DV)|
Dark baking Chocolate is also high in Zinc providing 85% DV per cup grated and 19% DV per 29g square.
#8: Pork & Chicken (Cooked Lean Pork Shoulder)
|Zinc in 100g||Per Steak (147g)||Per 3oz (85g)|
|5.0mg (33% DV)||7.4mg (49% DV)||4.3mg (28% DV)|
Chicken is also High in Zinc providing 15% DV per cooked drumstick.
#9: Beans (Cooked Mung Beans)
|Zinc in 100g||Per Cup (124g)||Per 3oz (85g)|
|0.5mg (3% DV)||0.6mg (4% DV)||0.4mg (2.5% DV)|
Other Beans High in Zinc (%DV per cup cooked): Baked Beans (39%), Adzuki (27%), Chickpeas (17%) and Kidney Beans (12%).
#10: Mushrooms (Cooked White Mushrooms)
|Zinc in 100g||Per Cup Pieces (156g)||Per Mushroom (12g)|
|0.9mg (6% DV)||1.4mg (9% DV)||0.1mg (1% DV)|
Other Mushrooms High in Zinc (%DV per Cup Pieces): Morel, raw (9%), Brown, raw and Portabella, grilled (5%), Oyster, raw (4%), and White, raw (2%). Four Dried Shitake mushrooms contain 8% DV and 4 raw shitake contain 4% DV.