What Foods Have Alot Of Zinc In Them

Zinc is found naturally in modest amounts in plant foods. Those rich in protein are often the type of Foods Have Alot Of Zinc. Zinc intake is important in terms of its functions in our body, but a balanced vegan diet makes it easy to meet our needs.

What Foods Have Alot Of Zinc In Them

Frequently Asked Questions

Zinc requirements

Group RNP (in mg / d) *
Adult men 9.4-14
Adult women 7.5-11
* The needs increase if the intake of phytates (whole foods) is high.
Nutritional reference for the population (EFSA, 2014 & ANSES, 2016)

What foods have high zinc levels

What is zinc used for?

“Zinc is a trace element, which means that it is only found in traces in the body.

  • It is present in all cells and fluids in the body, although it is particularly concentrated in muscles, bones, eyes, prostate, and sperm.
  • Zinc is necessary for gene expression, protein synthesis, growth and wound healing, blood formation, and coagulation, immunity, reproduction, vision, taste, smell, neurological functions, etc.

What are our zinc requirements?

Can we run out of zinc or consume too much?

What you must remember

Who is at risk of developing zinc deficiency? 

The influence of genes and lifestyle

People at risk for zinc deficiency

  • Growing people: fetuses, children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people injured during the healing
  • Stressed people: people undergoing psychological or physical stress (especially high-performance athletes)
  • People with weakened immune defenses: sick, whether the condition is transient or chronic (especially AIDS)
  • People with kidney problems, digestive disorders (Crohn’s disease), alcoholism  or diabetes
  • People with a diet rich in phytates and/or relatively poor in zinc : vegetarians, vegans and people consuming little meat or fish, people consuming a lot of unfermented whole grains, elderly people
  • People who sweat a lot: Knowing that “under normal circumstances, about  0.5 mg of zinc can be lost every day through sweat.” “
  • Men: Their daily needs are higher than those of women because their reproductive system requires zinc. Everyone has their own thing, for women it’s iron and for men it’s zinc! Zinc is also a  key ingredient in food supplements intended to increase male fertility.

Many factors intervene to reduce the zinc content of food, in particular modern agricultural techniques, which have the effect of depleting zinc soils, in addition to the refining of grains. “

Worry if

    • If you are often sick
    • if your sores take too long to heal
    • if you have taste disturbances
    • if you have lost your appetite
    • if your skin is in poor condition ( dermatitis, acne )
    • if you lose your hair
    • if you are a man with fertility issues.
  • A zinc deficiency in children can cause delayed growth and susceptibility to infection (this is often the case in developing countries).
  • Zinc deficiency in pregnant women can cause the baby birth size to be too low at birth (this is sometimes the case in low-income families).

What Foods Have Zinc Vegan Resources

Special case: those who move from omnivorism to veganism.

  1. When the diet is rich in zinc, the body absorbs a good amount and also rejects a significant amount, via the kidneys, intestines, and skin.
  2. When zinc intake is low, the body adapts and rejects very little.

Thus, for those who switch from an omnivorous diet (often rich in high levels of zinc) to a vegetarian/vegan diet (often less rich in zinc content), there is a period of adaptation of the organism.

          • To avoid zinc deficiency at this time, it is therefore advisable to slowly change your diet. 
          • And for those who prefer to dot it cold turkey, it is advisable to ensure that you have high zinc intakes for a few months, by choosing your diet wisely or, with the consent of your doctor, by taking a low zinc supplementation. ( 15 mg per day).
Do not hesitate to measure your blood zinc levels

Whether during a blood test or without any prescription, it is entirely possible to request it from your analysis laboratory.

If your rate is near the lower limit, it is difficult to know if you will have problems or if you will remain in good health. If in doubt, it may be worth adding some zinc-rich foods to your menus(see at the end of the article for ideas).

Also, Watch out for excess zinc

Never take a zinc supplement (containing 40 mg or more of zinc per day) without a deficiency diagnosis confirmed by your doctor.

  • An excess of zinc (more than 28 mg per day for a child, more than 45 mg per day for a man) in the long term can disturb other elements, in particular copper (copper deficiency causes a lack of immunity, such as zinc deficiency).
  • This can be the case  if you take zinc tablets without proven deficiency, if you consume too much seafood, if your drinking water is too rich in zinc or if you use a lot of galvanized metal cooking utensils.
          • In the case of zinc food supplements , they are to be taken away from meals (1 hour before or 2 hours after) and away from the consumption of coffee or of medication hindering the absorption of zinc, in particular iron tablets.
          • Besides, it is recommended that pregnant women consuming iron and vitamin B9 (folate) supplement also take zinc supplements.

Recommended daily intake of zinc: the influence of diet

The zinc requirements, and therefore the recommended daily intake (RDA) of zinc, are different according to age, sex, level of stress, physical activity and exposure to diseases.

An additional difficulty is that not all of the zinc contained in food is absorbed!

What hinders the absorption of zinc: phytate

    • The phytate is also called Hexa-myo-inositol phosphate.

Because of its negative charges ( phosphate ) it is able to trap positively charged minerals, especially zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It, therefore, decreases their bioavailability.

Phytate is found in the husk of grains, nuts and legumes, where it is used to store phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron needed for the future plant.

Thus, the pruned seeds (white almonds, split peas, white wheat flour, etc.) contain little phytate, but also little zinc .

    • The effect of phytate is increased in the presence of calcium .

Thus, some Lacto-vegetarians whose diet is both rich in phytate and calcium, are subject to zinc deficiencies, especially during childhood.

Phytases are enzymes capable of degrading.  They transform it into inositol + mineral phosphorus.

Phytases are naturally present in the husk of seeds containing phytate as well as in fungi (bread yeast, tempeh or miso mold).

Lactic acid bacteria (those of yogurt and sauerkraut) do not contain phytase,  but their fermentation produces organic acids promoting the absorption of zinc.

Note that phytases are sensitive to heat. 

So the oatmeal phytases (usually steamed before being made into flakes) are probably definitely inactive.

But if you have raw seeds, their phytases are like sleeping princesses waiting for activation to wake up and eat phytate ^^. But how do you activate them?

    • Cereal phytases are activated by an acidic pH (around 5.5) for example during a fermentation with natural sourdough (the one that contains only bacteria, not the commercial fermentable sourdough composed of living yeasts and dead bacteria) or when soaking in water with vinegar or lemon juice ( some advise in addition to discarding the soaking water).

So if you want to absorb more nutrients from your cereal flour, choose it complete and soak it for a few hours in water with a little lemon juice before making your cake batter.

If you make natural sourdough bread, don’t change your ways. If you are making yeast or fermentable sourdough bread, add a little lemon juice to the mixture.

    • The phytases of lentils and beans are more active at a slightly acidic pH (around 4.5)  while that of peas are more active at neutral pH, even a little basic (7.5) and if possible at a slightly hot (50 ° C).

So if you want to absorb more nutrients from your legume flour, flakes or broken (broken lentils, split peas), soak them for a few hours in water or added water a little lemon juice (lentil or bean flour).

    • The phytases of all seeds are also activated by a few days of germination (the activation peak is around 5 days in general ).

So if you want to absorb more nutrients from your oilseeds, cereal seeds or legumes, choose them whole (unshelled, not broken) and germinate them for a few days (one night of soaking in water then a few days on a colander with rinsing once or twice a day).

Then, you can consume them directly or dehydrate them to store them and possibly grind them into flour.

Be careful, soaking the seeds is different from soaking the flour . When you soak the flour, you activate the phytases by providing them with ideal working conditions (water and a suitable pH). When soaking whole seeds, phytases are not accessible: they are enclosed in the seed coat. This soaking initiates the germination of the seed, and it is the seed which will itself provide good working conditions for its phytases.

  1. Germination of the seeds reduces the phytate content of the flour.
  2. The acid soaking of the flour also reduces it. Germination + soaking reduces it a lot.
  3. Soaking + fermentation makes it almost zero (even more if the seeds have been previously germinated).
  1. Germination activates the phytases of the seeds. Soaking too.
  2. Germination of the seeds + soaking o activates the phytases of the seeds AND gives them time to act.
  3. On the other hand, fermentation causes phytases of bacteria and / or fungi to act.
  • To greatly reduce the phytate content of your seeds, germinate them, then dehydrate them and reduce them to flour.
  • To further reduce the phytate content of your flour, soak it in slightly acidic water, possibly with (freshly) sprouted seeds.
  • Finally, for an almost total reduction, ferment the flour (in the form of porridge or in the form of bread).

And if you don’t want to grind the seeds, make them germinate anyway (activation of the phytases of the seed) then continue with a fermentation (activation of the phytases of bacteria or fungi). An example of this technique is tempeh .

Thus germination, soaking, and fermentation of certain foods (bread, tempeh) greatly increases the bioavailability of zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium, which is important when unrefined grains/seeds form the basis of food.


Note That

Some believe that diets too rich in phosphorus interfere with the absorption of zinc, iron, calcium and copper. Consider this if you consume an excessive amount of cola sodas (acidified with phosphoric acid E 338 ).

Recommended daily intake of zinc

I will spare you the method of calculating the recommended daily intake of zinc taking all the factors into account. Note that the  table below defines them in particular according to your diet :

  1. Food where zinc is very bioavailable: consisting of processed foods low in fiber and phytate, with a protein intake mainly from meat and fish. Anyway, you know who I’m talking about ^^.
  2. Food where zinc is moderately bioavailable: flexitarianism, lacto-ovo-vegetarianism, ovo-vegetarianism, veganism containing a large proportion of pure, germinated, or fermented cereals.
  3. Food where zinc is scarce: veganism where the cereals are whole, not germinated, and not fermented. Food where at least 50% of calories are provided by seeds (cereals, oilseed legumes). Food that is very rich in mineral calcium (more than 1 g per day).

Then it’s up to you to add or subtract 25% depending on your particular situation (see above, people at risk). Thus, a stressed vegan man could add 14.0 x 25/100 = 3.5 mg to his zinc RDI, for a total of 14.0 + 3.5 = 17.5 mg of zinc per day.

Vegan rich food sources of high levels of zinc content

“The oyster  is the alpha food that contains the most zinc, but most meats (but not fish) and nuts contain interesting quantities.

Legumes and whole grains also provide significant amounts of zinc. Here is a list of vegan foods with their zinc content.

WHEAT GERM 12 mg I just bought it for the first time… and in fact it’s good! So I put it everywhere (yes, also in cookies ^^). I am even tempted to make this energy bar recipe with wheat germ and dried fruit…
WHOLE SQUASH SEEDS 10 mg Sprinkled on vegetable or fruit salads, ground in vegetable patties.
WHOLE SESAME SEEDS 10 mg On salads, in cookies and crackers
CHOCOLATE 10 mg Hey, normally you know how to consume it!
COCOA POWDER 7 mg In cakes, especially to camouflage those containing green vegetables ( here in camouflaged version and there in non-camouflaged version) or containing legumes
PEANUT PUREE 7 mg At the base of the jelly sandwich, in the peanut mash & black raisin puree sandwich
WHITE TAHIN (PEELED SESAME PUREE) 5 mg In hummus or other spreads, in béchamel sauce
LINSEED 4 mg In pastries, porridge, crackers, on vegetables
OATMEAL 4 mg In granola, in cookies, in vegetable patties
WHOLEMEAL DURUM FLOUR 4 mg Mixed with its weight in common wheat flour and water, to make fresh pasta
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR 3.5 mg In bread, cakes, pancakes
ALMONDS 3 mg All over! In yogurt, in vegetable milk, with chocolate…
MISO 3 mg To give a meaty taste to dishes
WHOLE RICE FLOUR 2.5 mg In pastries, béchamel and dessert creams
DRIED TOMATOES 2 mg Chopped in sauces and spreads
COOKED CHICKPEAS 1.5 mg In salads, hummus, fondant, panisses …
COOKED LENTILS 1 mg In salads, in vegetable steak, in fondant, in cookies, in spreads…
COOKED BLACK BEANS 1 mg In salads, in vegetable steak, in fondant, in cookies, in spreads…
TEMPEH (SMOKED) 1 mg Cubed with pasta in white sauce, sauteed with vegetables, replacing bread for small salty toasts
SHIITAKES = OAK LENTILS 1 mg Pan-fried with vegetables or rice
SPINACH, SPROUTED ALFALFA, ZUCCHINI, BROCCOLI, LEEK, CABBAGE, MUSHROOMS, ONIONS, POTATOES, AROMATIC HERBS, KOMBU, NORI, KELP, DULSE 0.5-1 mg In salads, stir-fry, mashed potatoes, green smoothies, stashed in muffins…


Please note, this list is completely subjective!

What Foods Have Zinc In Them

In my kitchen, no taste or by choice, there are not these vegetarian foods sources of zinc (I indicate their zinc content per 100 g of food):

  • cottonseed flour (12 mg)
  • seeds of watermelon (10 mg)
  • poppy seeds (8 mg)
  • wheat bran (7 mg)
  • rice bran (6 mg)
  • whole rye flour (6 mg)
  • cashews (6 mg)
  • parsley or basil or thyme (6 mg)
  • pecan (5 mg)
  • sunflower seeds (5 mg)
  • lupine seeds (5 mg)
  • ginger (5 mg)
  • coriander (5 mg)
  • maple syrup (4 mg )
  • soy protein concentrate or soy flour or soy pasta (4 mg)
  • Swiss cheese (4 mg)
  • natto (3 mg)
  • cooked azuki beans (2 mg).

For info, here is an estimate of my minimum zinc consumption on a day:

– 300 g of legumes: 4.5 mg of zinc
– 100 g of whole rice: 0.5 mg of zinc
– 50 g of whole wheat flour: 1.5 mg of zinc
– 50 g of almonds: 1.5 mg of zinc
– 100 g of spinach: 100 g = 0.5 mg of zinc

Knowing that these zinc contents are possibly underestimated and that we must add the small amounts of zinc brought by the other foods that we eat during the day.

For those who want to increase their zinc intake, one simple way is to incorporate more sesame into their diet.

– Spreads and mixes of ground spices
– Crackers and rolls
– Cookies, and donuts
– Curry and exotic sauces
– Grilled vegetables, caramelized fruits

For taste bonds, here are some savory and then sweet ideas:

– Sesame/salt: as in gomashio
– Sesame/brewer’s yeast/garlic: as in crackers
– Sesame/dried tomatoes: as in crackers
– Sesame / rosemary
– Sesame / nutmeg
– Sesame / soy sauce
– Sesame / lemon juice
– Sesame / chickpea / garlic / lemon juice: as in hummus
– Sesame / sumac / thyme: as in za’atar
– Sesame / cumin: as for  the potato dumplings or flavored potatoes
– Sesame / honey or date / lemon “honey”: as in pasteli or tilgul
– Sesame / date / vanilla: as in cookies
– Sesame / lemon: as in cereal bars
– Sesame / orange blossom: as in cookies (you can remove the egg from the dough and replace the egg yolk with sweet oil)
– Sesame / prunes / maple syrup: as in this spread
– Sesame / nuts / raisins: as in energy bars
– Sesame / almond: as in cookies
– Sesame / almond / cinnamon / vanilla: as in spreads
– Sesame / chocolate: because absolutely everything goes with chocolate ^^
– Sesame / coffee
– Sesame / dried apricots/tea: as in cakes
– Sesame / cardamom / saffron / coconut: as in soft cheeses

For the pumpkin seeds, it’s super easy:

– Pumpkin seeds / rosemary
– Pumpkin seeds / brewer’s yeast / lemon juice: as in cheese spreads
– Pumpkin seeds / carrot / cinnamon / dried apricot: as we could add to raw carrot cake

– In fact, you can associate almost everything with pumpkin seeds because their taste is neutral (even with their shell). Reduce the seeds to powder and use it instead of part of the flour.



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