There are many plant-based foods rich in zinc, such as legumes, whole-grains, seeds, and nuts.
Moreover, zinc deficiency may lead to fatigue. Athletes and active people need high levels of zinc!
But, in most cases, zinc supplementation isn’t necessary, if you follow a well-balanced diet. Even vegan diet can be particularly high in zinc! Zinc supplementation is necessary in severe zinc deficiency or health issues! In any case, a daily dosage up to 40 mg is considered pretty safe.
Whole-grains are high in zinc
According to the World Health Organization, lean red meat, whole-grain cereals, pulses, and legumes provide the highest concentrations of zinc.
Whole oats, wheat, rice, barley, and quinoa are the highest cereals in zinc (mg per 100g, or % Daily Value):
- Oats, 3.64 mg, 33%
- Wheat, 1.19 mg, 11%
- Rice, 0.78 mg, 7%
- Barley, 0.99 mg, 9%
- Quinoa, 1.09 mg, 10%
Don’t afraid of consuming carbs. Actually, whole cereals can help you lose weight. For instance, rice has low calories, and keeps us full for a long time.
Furthermore, quinoa and barley contain all 9 essential amino acids! Therefore, they’re a complete protein which can help you lose weight, preserve lean mass, and even build muscle mass.
Legumes are a good source of zinc
Certainly, legumes are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re particularly high in protein, fiber, and healthy carbs. Legumes keep us full for a long time, help us lose weight, and provide the body with many micronutrients, such as zinc.
Legumes containing zinc are:
- Lentils, 3.27 mg, 30%
- Lupins, 4.75 mg, 43%
- Black beans, 3.65 mg, 33%
- Soybeans, 4.89 mg, 44%
- Lima beans, 2.83 mg, 25%
- Red kidney beans, 2.79 mg, 25%
- Chickpeas, 2.76 mg, 25%
- Green peas, 1.24 mg, 11%
- Fava beans, 1 mg, 9%
You can combine beans with cereals, in order, to “create” a complete plant-based protein which builds muscle mass. The most well-known combination is lentils & rice.
Eating seeds is the easiest way to boost zinc intake!
Above all, the easiest way to increase the daily zinc intake is by eating at least 1 handful of seeds a day! Common seeds rich in zinc are (mg per 100g):
- Sesame seeds, 6.73 mg, 93%
- Sunflower seeds, 5.29 mg, 48%
- Pumpkin or squash seeds, 7.46 mg, 67%
- Hemp seeds, 9.9 mg, 90%
- Chia seeds, 4.58 mg, 41%
- Flax seeds, 4.34 mg, 39%
- Dry watermelon seed kernels, 10.24 mg, 93%
- Spices, cumin seed, 4.8 mg, 43%
- Spices, dill seed, 5.2 mg, 47%
- Spices, fennel seed 3.7 mg, 33%
Nuts are a good dietary source of zinc
Eating nuts regularly is beneficial for the body. For instance, hazelnuts can help you lose belly fat, Brazil nuts may increase male fertility, walnuts are good for brain function, and flaxseeds may prevent premature hair loss!
Last, but not least, most nuts are great dietary sources of zinc (mg per 100g):
- Almond, 3.12 mg, 28%
- Walnuts, 3.09 mg, 28%
- Brazil nuts, 4.06 mg, 37%
- Hazelnuts, 2.45 mg, 22%
- Peanuts, 2.77 mg, 25%
- Pecans, 4.53 mg, 41%
- Pistachio, 2.34 mg, 21%
- Macadamia, 1.3 mg, 11%
- Chestnuts, 0.59 mg, 3%
Other common foods containing zinc
Dark chocolate contains some amount of zinc. Prefer 85% dark chocolate. It has the highest zinc content:
- Chocolate, 45-59%, 2.01 mg
- Chocolate, 60-69%, 2.65 mg
- Chocolate, 70-85%, 3.31 mg
Moreover, bananas and potatoes contain adequate amounts of zinc! 100g of potatoes contain up to 1.56 mg of zinc.