23 High Zinc Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians

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, faster wound healing, and possibly reduced duration of symptoms of the common cold. 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, as zinc availability is lower in plant foods than in animal foods. Further, the amount of zinc found in vegetables and other plant foods can vary greatly depending on the zinc content of 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 the 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 daily value (DV) to compensate for the bioavailability of zinc.

Vegan and vegetarian sources of zinc include fortified cereals, wheat germ, tofu, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, wild rice, squash seeds, and milk. The daily value (DV) 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 flakes1 Fortified Cereals
Zinc
per 3/4 Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
19mg
(170% DV)
64mg
(585% DV)
33mg
(300% DV)
Photo of wheat plants2 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 tofu3 Firm Tofu
Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
4mg
(36% DV)
2mg
(14% DV)
2mg
(20% DV)
Hemp Seeds4 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.

Lentils5 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 raspberries6 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 blueberries7 Oatmeal
Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(21% DV)
1mg
(9% DV)
3mg
(26% DV)
Wild Rice8 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 Seeds9 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 milk10 Milk
Zinc
per 16oz Glass
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(19% DV)
0mg
(4% DV)
2mg
(18% DV)
A bowl of quinoa11 Quinoa
Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(18% DV)
1mg
(10% DV)
2mg
(17% DV)
Shiitake Mushrooms12 Shiitake Mushrooms
Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(18% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
5mg
(43% DV)
Black Beans13 Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)
Zinc
per Cup
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
2mg
(18% DV)
1mg
(10% DV)
2mg
(15% DV)
Green Peas14 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 Spinach15 Spinach
Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(7% DV)
7mg
(60% DV)
Mushrooms16 White Button Mushrooms
Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(8% DV)
6mg
(56% DV)
Lima Beans17 Lima Beans
Zinc
per Cup Cooked
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(7% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
Chia Seeds18 Chia Seeds
Zinc
per oz(~2 Tblsp)
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
5mg
(42% DV)
2mg
(17% DV)
Pecans19 Pecans
Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
5mg
(41% DV)
1mg
(12% DV)
Half an avocado20 Avocados
Zinc
per Avocado
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(12% DV)
1mg
(6% DV)
1mg
(7% DV)
A slice of swiss cheese21 Swiss Cheese
Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(11% DV)
4mg
(40% DV)
2mg
(20% DV)
Flax Seeds22 Flax Seeds
Zinc
per Oz
Zinc
per 100g
Zinc
per 200 Calories
1mg
(11% DV)
4mg
(39% DV)
2mg
(15% DV)
Asparagus23 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

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

About Nutrient Targets

Setting targets can provide a guide to healthy eating.

Some of the most popular targets include:
  • Daily Value (%DV) - The %DV is a general guideline for everyone and accounts for absorption factors. It is the most common target in the U.S. and is the target on the nutrition labels of most products. It is set by the U.S. FDA.
  • Reference Dietary Intake (%RDI) - The Reference Dietary Intake (RDI) is a customized target accounting for age and gender. It is set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. The RDI for amino acids is set by the U.N. World Health Organization. The daily value (%DV) builds on the reference dietary intake to create a number for everyone.
  • Adequate Intake (%AI) - Sets a target for Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. The Adequate Intake is also set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. It represents a number to ensure adequacy but lacks the same level of evidence as the Reference Dietary Intake. In short, the number is less accurate than the RDI.
  • See the Guide to Recommended Daily Intakes for more information.

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View more food groups with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

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Data Sources and References

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