Zinc Deficiency? Top 10 Zinc Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements

Zinc Deficiency? Top 10 Zinc Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements

Zinc deficiency, or having a lower than optimal level of zinc in the body, can be a serious health issue that may branch off to other far more serious illnesses. Since this mineral helps keep your immune system at its optimum condition—along with keeping your metabolism, senses, and growth properly functioning—it is logical to think then how significant zinc is. The symptoms you should definitely observe in yourself to check if you’re already experiencing zinc deficiency include: 1) thinning hair or bald patches; 2) a face covered in acne or even rashes in skin; 3) wounds which take longer to heal than usual; 4) difficulty in your sense of hearing, tasting, or trouble with your vision; and 5) diseases that seem to be chronic, mostly because your immunity is weakening.

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A combination of these symptoms must persist as only one can signify other conditions. But while it is important to have a consultation with your doctor and have prescribed zinc supplements to compensate for the zinc deficiency, being natural is still among, if not the best way to treat and especially prevent this condition. In the list of zinc foods below, information on how much zinc each of them contains and the corresponding DV is usually given. DV, which stands for Percent Daily Value that is regularly seen in a Nutrition Facts label, tells you the amount of nutrient you are getting in relation to the amount of that nutrient you need each day per one serving of food. A 20% DV of zinc, for example, means a serving of that food gives you 20% of the zinc your body needs per day.

Top 10 Zinc Foods You Have to Try before Taking Zinc Supplements

Nuts and Seeds

Seeds and Nuts

The first group of zinc foods in our inventory is also the smallest, though the size of their benefits can go head to head with other zinc foods in this list; enough to make you think of whether to go on taking zinc supplements or not. Pumpkin seeds, for example, boast an 8.4 mg of zinc per half a cup of serving, so that’s 57% DV. It is better to eat them raw than roasted. Sesame seeds, in addition, offer 10 mg for a hundred gram of serving. You can definitely mix them into your other dishes. Squash seeds lastly provide 10.3 mg per the same amount of serving while an ounce of hemp seeds has 3 mg or 19% DV. Cashew nuts, on the other side, provide 3.8 mg or 25% DV per half a cup of serving. These small but terrible convenient snacks include peanuts, pine nuts, and of course, almonds.

Whole Grains

Whole Grains

Wheat, rice, oats, and quinoa—all potent zinc foods—are all whole grains. Bursting with fiber, zinc, vitamin, and other essential nutrients, whole grains offer myriads of health benefits ranging from reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity, and even cardiovascular illnesses like heart disease. Consume half a cup of steel-cut oats and you will get 6% DV of zinc, or approximately 1 gram. If you’re fond of cooked brown rice, then good for you, as half a cup also gives 0.6 mg or 4% DV. A slice of whole wheat bread brags 0.5 mg or 3% DV of zinc too. You can definitely eat them for your breakfast, preferably mixed in with fruits such as berries that will be discussed thoroughly later on this list.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate

With (literally!) countless benefits cocoa powder can give, there really should be no wonder why it’s considered as one of the best superfoods out there. In fact, the same 100 grams serving of cocoa powder by itself provides 6.8 mg of zinc, covering 45% DV. This by-product of cacao fruits is used to make dark chocolates, making them beneficial zinc foods too. With 3.3 mg of zinc from a hundred grams or 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate, supplying 30% of the recommended DV of zinc now shouldn’t be a problem. Simply opt for those variants containing 70 to 85% cacao and be careful with its 600 calories content for a hundred grams. With this that it’s usually recommended to consume just an ounce of serving per day.

Mushrooms as a Source of Vitamin D


Mushrooms are among the most well-known in this group of zinc foods. And since they technically don’t belong among the vegetable family, all the more in the fruit group, they deserve their own spot in this list. They are a special kind of fungus by the way, which might put it in an awkward situation to some people. And though there are some poisonous variants, mushrooms, in general, should not be left out by hook or by crook in your dietary program against zinc deficiency, even before taking any zinc supplement. A cup alone of cooked shitake mushrooms, in particular, can offer up to 1.9 mg—13% DV of zinc; or 1mg of zinc per hundred grams of serving, which is 9% DV.



Legumes are versatile zinc foods like vegetables that include lentils and beans. They have a high amount of folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and of course, zinc. And since they are low in fat content and have no cholesterol, they can be considered one of the most nutritious foods there is. Chickpeas and garbanzos both contain 2.5 mg or 17% DV of zinc per 1 cup cooked. A hundred grams of lentils, on one hand, has 12% DV while hummus offers 7%, so that’s 1.1 mg per quarter cup. Edamame and black beans meanwhile have 0.5 mg. These legumes are found to have phytates though, which lessen the mineral’s absorption. So you can either heat, soak, or ferment them to increase its bioavailability or the chance of being fully absorbed by the body.

Dairy Products

Dairy Products

We all love milk and cheese, right? Except maybe for those who are lactose intolerant. Anyway, when it comes to zinc foods, dairy products should not at all be left behind. The mineral is guaranteed to be mostly, if not fully, absorbed by the body. Cheddar or mozzarella cheese, say, for example, contains approximately 1 gram per ounce so that’s 6% DV while Swiss cheese gives you 1.2 grams per the same serving, meaning an 8% DV. Low-fat yogurt, on the other hand, or even kefir, a kind of fermented milk, offers 10% DV of zinc with 1.4 mg per one cup of serving. Other dairy products effective as zinc foods include low-fat ricotta, grated parmesan, and Gouda among others. Consume them naturally before taking zinc supplements to get the most out of your zinc experience.

Oily Fish

Shellfish and Other Seafood

Cholesterol notwithstanding, seafood is potent zinc foods to fight off zinc deficiency. The bivalve oysters are brimming with 5.3 mg for a medium-sized. You need not worry too about calories since they contain low levels of such; this is aside from zinc, vitamin, and other minerals that are all beneficial for the health. You can try them canned, on the half-shell, or even fully cooked. Alaskan king crabs and lobsters, on the other side, offer 6.5 mg and 3.4 mg of zinc, respectively; while shrimps and mussels are great additions as well. Fishes like salmon, sole, and sardines, though in lesser dosages, still are great natural zinc supplements, aside of course from its omega-3 fatty acids content.

Lean Meat

Meat and Poultry

Red meats, in particular, are excellent zinc foods, though the mineral is also found in other kinds of meat such as beef, pork, and lamb. In fact, a hundred gram of cooked lean beef provides 12 mg of zinc while the same serving of cooked lean pork has 5 mg. A 100 gram of raw ground beef meanwhile has 4.8 while a 4-ounce of lamb gives 5.2 mg. Grass-fed beef, lean cut with removed fats is certainly the best option here. Included in this discussion is of course poultry, with a skinless chicken breast that is roasted giving roughly a gram of zinc per 3-ounce of serving. A roasted thigh and leg also provide 5 mg or 36% DV of zinc. Even their eggs are helpful, providing 0.6 mg for a large-sized one.

Dark Leafy Green Vegetables as a Anti-Inflammatory Food


There is no denying the rich nutrients content of vegetables. One of these minerals—obviously the zinc—however, is not that greatly abundant. Some, nonetheless, are worthy of being must-have zinc foods. Potatoes and pumpkins, for instance, each present roughly 0.6 gram of zinc per large-sized one; be it sweet or regular for potatoes. A cup of raw kale, on one hand, provides 0.4 mg while the same serving of Brussels sprouts and asparagus each give half a milligram. Corn also contains 0.7 mg per cup. In addition, Swiss chard, a green leafy vegetable, offers 0.2 mg per cup. The chief in this batch though is spinach, giving off an astounding 1.4 mg of zinc per cup of cooked ones. No wonder Popeye loved them.



The last group of zinc foods in our list of battling against zinc deficiency are fruits. Most in this family are not generally teeming with zinc. Some, however, are potent sources of the precious mineral. Take avocados, for example, a fruit most of us just tend to avoid, which actually are the number one source for containing about 1.3 mg of zinc for a medium-sized fruit. A fresh pomegranate also boasts a milligram of zinc. And of course, the berries family shouldn’t be left out of this conversion. A cup of blackberries, for instance, offer 0.8 mg while the same serving of loganberries and raspberries each give you a half milligram. Even a cup of guavas provides 0.38 mg of zinc. So you see, instead of directly taking any form of zinc supplements, try the easiest and most natural way first. It guarantees no side effects.

Zinc Deficiency? Top 10 Zinc Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements