Foods Rich In Zinc: The 15 Best Plant Sources

Zinc is a fundamental mineral for human health at any age. Here are the foods rich in zinc (from plant sources) and the contained doses to avoid deficiencies. Foods rich in zinc are very important for our organism’s correct development and functioning, playing a primary role in health starting from very early childhood. Foods containing zinc allow the fetus’s development, avoiding the onset of deficits or pathologies affecting organs that have not yet been fully formed.

Foods rich in zinc also help us to make our metabolism work and, therefore, to better assimilate the nutrients we introduce with food. Together with other minerals, it constitutes an essential element of voluntary muscles and bones and contributes to protein synthesis. In addition to choosing foods rich in zinc, to respect the daily requirement (about 12 mg for an adult man and 9 mg for a woman), it is essential to introduce vitamin C that increases its bioavailability. In cases of zinc deficiency that cannot be overcome by diet, it is advisable to take a zinc supplement, being careful not to exceed the doses, to avoid intoxication phenomena.

Zinc: What It Is Used For

We mentioned that foods that contain zinc are a source of well-being from an early age. During pregnancy, zinc is involved in forming all cells in the body. Furthermore, its role in the constitution of proteins, fundamental for the muscular system, has been studied. That’s not all. Foods rich in zinc are ideal for producing antibodies that protect us against infections. Zinc also allows us to assimilate sugars and carbohydrates correctly since it normalizes insulin secretion, preventing it from increasing excessively, causing diabetes.

This mineral also preserves skin health: zinc-rich foods and applications of zinc-containing products are recommended for those suffering from acne and skin inflammations. Zinc is also a fundamental mineral for hair health and hair growth. Among the symptoms of zinc deficiency, there are also alopecia and the weakening of the hair. Specific zinc-based supplements are recommended, and zinc-rich foods such as millet are consumed.

Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

Zinc deficiency is visible in children due to their susceptibility to infections and stunted growth. However, an insufficient intake can also be found in adults whose greater needs. In these cases, a zinc supplement is usually used. But what are the symptoms of a deficiency of this mineral? In reality, these are very general symptoms, such as loss of appetite, the fragility of the veins, difficulty in fighting infections, and hair loss. Informing your doctor and doing specific tests can show us a picture of our conditions so that we can immediately introduce in the diet all those foods rich in zinc, useful to fill any deficiencies.

Foods Rich In Zinc: 15 Plant Sources

Changing your diet in favor of health is a simple gesture. To do this, it is good to know which foods contain zinc in greater quantities; among these, stand-out dried fruit and legumes.

Bitter Dark Chocolate

It may seem strange, but among the foods rich in zinc, in the first place, we find chocolate with 9.63 mg (per 100 g). Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols and flavonoids with antioxidant and protective properties for the cardiovascular system. Let’s consume two squares a day, associating it with other sources of zinc.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are not only foods rich in zinc (6.45 mg per 100 g) but also have considerable concentrations of magnesium, potassium, and copper, which make them excellent tonic in periods of severe weakness. Perfect as a snack, accompanied by other dried fruit and oilseeds.

Pumpkin Seeds

They can be used to create bread and crackers or enjoyed as a snack: pumpkin seeds. The zinc content is around 7.81 mg, while the presence of other minerals such as magnesium (262 mg) makes it a natural antidepressant.

Sesame Seeds

Other extremely healthy seeds are sesame seeds, which contain 7.75 mg of zinc; they are among the foods rich in zinc that, together with phosphorus and potassium, allow the normal development of children. They can be used as bread, enrich yogurt, salads, and soups, or make gomasio (excellent salt substitute).


Cashews are an ally against cholesterol and diabetes. They consist of zinc ( 5.78 mg ), copper (2.1 g), which prevents joint pain, and antioxidants that protect the eyes from UVA rays.


Millet is a food with a percentage of zinc equal to 2.2 mg, together with B vitamins and vitamin E. It is often used to form supplements to strengthen nails and hair as a food rich in zinc.


Let’s now turn to legumes, other well-known foods rich in zinc. Depending on the type of beans, the zinc content changes: azuki (boiled) has 1.77 mg, black beans 1.12 mg, cannellini beans 1.03 mg, while borlotti has 1.14 mg of zinc. Beans contain macronutrients, such as carbohydrates and proteins, and an important percentage of fiber (6-7 g) which keeps cholesterol and hyperglycemia at bay.


Zinc in foods such as lentils is more absorbed after up to 24 hours of soaking. In this way, the zinc present in lentils ( 1.27 mg per 100 g) increases their bioavailability. We use lentils to make meatballs, burgers, and soups, combined with other vegetable sources of zinc such as millet.


Another type of legumes and foods containing zinc (1.53 mg) are chickpeas to prepare hamburgers and from which a flour used for flour and creative omelets is obtained. They protect the heart and regulate blood pressure.


They are mainly consumed as a protein snack, containing 36 grams of proteins, together with which we find zinc ( 1.38 mg ) and phosphorus (440 mg), which support the immune system against external attacks. Better to choose natural, unsalted lupins.


Nuts are the type of dried fruit and zinc-rich foods, which we use most often in the kitchen. The mineral is present for 3.37 mg. Another variety of nuts in which we find an even higher zinc content is pecans with 5.07 mg. They are an indisputable source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which counteract bad cholesterol.

Oat Flakes

Ideal for a high-fiber breakfast of crunchy biscuits, oat flakes have 3.97 mg of zinc and regulate the functions of the gastrointestinal system, helping us to stay in shape.

Dried Mushrooms

They contain a high amount of zinc, about 7.66 mg, and many other minerals, including iron, manganese, and copper. They, therefore, possess anti-anemic, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.


Together with millet, it is a cereal that does not contain gluten. Therefore, it is easily digestible, gives a sense of satiety, and regulates intestinal functions. Contains 3.1 mg of zinc.

Dried Almonds

We conclude the list of foods rich in zinc in sweetness with almonds, which have a quantity of this mineral equal to 3.3 mg (per 100 gr). A handful of almonds a day protects the heart arteries and gives us a lot of energy to consume for our activities.


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