23 High Zinc Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
Powered by USDA Nutrition Data
23 High Zinc Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians

Zinc is an essential nutrient required by the body for creating over 300 enzymes, and it is the most abundant metal in the body after iron.

Health benefits of zinc include enhanced immune function, reductions of the common cold, and faster wound healing. Beyond this, zinc is vital for the proper functioning of the human body in general.

Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, impotence, diarrhea, delayed wound healing, abnormal taste, and mental fatigue.

Vegans and vegetarians need to be especially aware of zinc since zinc availability is lower in plant foods than animal foods. Further, the amount of zinc found in vegetables and other plant foods can vary greatly depending on how much zinc is in the soil where they were grown.

Do phytates harm zinc absorption?

While phytates, which are present in whole-grain breads, cereals, and legumes, do somewhat inhibit absorption of zinc, these foods are still a good source of zinc. Vegans and vegetarians should be aware of this and aim to consume 200% of the DV to compensate for the bioavailability of zinc.

Vegan and vegetarian sources of zinc include fortified cereals, wheat germ, tofu, hemp seeds, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, wild rice, squash seeds, and milk. The daily value for zinc is 11mg per day.

Below are 23 vegan and vegetarians foods high in zinc, for more, see the articles on high zinc nuts, high zinc fruits, and high zinc vegetables. You can also create your own list using the nutrient ranking of over 200 vegetarian foods high in zinc.


List of Vegetarian Zinc Foods

A bowl of bran flakes

#1: Fortified Cereals

Zinc
per 3/4 Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
19mg
(170% DV)
64mg
(585% DV)
42mg
(377% DV)
Photo of wheat plants

#2: Toasted Wheat Germ

Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
5mg
(43% DV)
17mg
(152% DV)
9mg
(79% DV)
A block of tofu

#3: Firm Tofu

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
4mg
(36% DV)
2mg
(14% DV)
2mg
(20% DV)
Hemp Seeds

#4: Hemp Seeds

Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
3mg
(26% DV)
10mg
(90% DV)
4mg
(33% DV)
Not sure how to use hemp seeds? Sprinkle them on top of cereal, salads, or oatmeal.
See the top 10 nuts and seeds high in zinc.
Lentils

#5: Lentils

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
3mg
(23% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
2mg
(20% DV)
See the nutrient ranking of all beans and lentils high in zinc.
Plain yogurt with raspberries

#6: Low-Fat Yogurt

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(22% DV)
1mg
(9% DV)
3mg
(31% DV)
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

#7: Oatmeal

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(21% DV)
1mg
(9% DV)
3mg
(26% DV)
Wild Rice

#8: Wild Rice

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(20% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
3mg
(24% DV)
-13% DV zinc in 1 cup of brown rice.
See the nutrient ranking of grains high in zinc.
Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

#9: Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds)

Zinc
per 1oz Handful
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(20% DV)
8mg
(69% DV)
3mg
(24% DV)
Glass of milk

#10: Milk

Zinc
per 16oz Glass
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(19% DV)
0mg
(4% DV)
2mg
(18% DV)
A bowl of quinoa

#11: Quinoa

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(18% DV)
1mg
(10% DV)
2mg
(17% DV)
Shiitake Mushrooms

#12: Shiitake Mushrooms

Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(18% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
5mg
(43% DV)
Black Beans

#13: Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(18% DV)
1mg
(10% DV)
2mg
(15% DV)
Green Peas

#14: Green Peas

Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(17% DV)
1mg
(11% DV)
3mg
(26% DV)
A Bowl of Spinach

#15: Spinach

Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(7% DV)
7mg
(60% DV)
Mushrooms

#16: White Button Mushrooms

Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(8% DV)
6mg
(56% DV)
Lima Beans

#17: Lima Beans

Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(7% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
Chia Seeds

#18: Chia Seeds

Zinc
per oz(~2 Tblsp)
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
5mg
(42% DV)
2mg
(17% DV)
Pecans

#19: Pecans

Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
5mg
(41% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
Half an avocado

#20: Avocados

Zinc
per Avocado
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(6% DV)
1mg
(7% DV)
A slice of swiss cheese

#21: Swiss Cheese

Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(11% DV)
4mg
(40% DV)
2mg
(20% DV)
Flax Seeds

#22: Flax Seeds

Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(11% DV)
4mg
(39% DV)
2mg
(15% DV)
Asparagus

#23: Asparagus

Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(10% DV)
1mg
(5% DV)
5mg
(50% DV)

See All 200 Vegetarian Foods High in Zinc

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Data Sources and References

  1. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central

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