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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 CupZinc per 100g
170% DV (19mg)585% DV (64mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Ralston Enriched Bran Flakes
Photo of wheat plants

#2: Toasted Wheat Germ

Zinc per OzZinc per 100g
43% DV (5mg)152% DV (17mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Toasted Wheat Germ
A block of tofu

#3: Firm Tofu

Zinc per CupZinc per 100g
36% DV (4mg)14% DV (2mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Firm Tofu
Hemp Seeds

#4: Hemp Seeds

Zinc per OzZinc per 100g
26% DV (3mg)90% DV (10mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Hemp Seeds
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 CupZinc per 100g
23% DV (3mg)12% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Lentils (Cooked)
See the nutrient ranking of all beans and lentils high in zinc.
Plain yogurt with raspberries

#6: Low-Fat Yogurt

Zinc per CupZinc per 100g
22% DV (2mg)9% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Non-fat Yogurt
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

#7: Oatmeal

Zinc per CupZinc per 100g
21% DV (2mg)9% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Oatmeal
Wild Rice

#8: Wild Rice

Zinc per CupZinc per 100g
20% DV (2mg)12% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Wild Rice
-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 HandfulZinc per 100g
20% DV (2mg)69% DV (8mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Roasted Squash And Pumpkin Seeds (Unsalted)
Glass of milk

#10: Milk

Zinc per 16oz GlassZinc per 100g
19% DV (2mg)4% DV (0mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Low-fat Milk 1%
A bowl of quinoa

#11: Quinoa

Zinc per CupZinc per 100g
18% DV (2mg)10% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Quinoa Cooked
Shiitake Mushrooms

#12: Shiitake Mushrooms

Zinc per Cup CookedZinc per 100g
18% DV (2mg)12% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms
Black Beans

#13: Black Beans (Frijoles Negros)

Zinc per CupZinc per 100g
18% DV (2mg)10% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Black Beans
Green Peas

#14: Green Peas

Zinc per Cup CookedZinc per 100g
17% DV (2mg)11% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Green Peas
A Bowl of Spinach

#15: Spinach

Zinc per Cup CookedZinc per 100g
12% DV (1mg)7% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Spinach
Mushrooms

#16: White Button Mushrooms

Zinc per Cup CookedZinc per 100g
12% DV (1mg)8% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked White Button Mushrooms
Lima Beans

#17: Lima Beans

Zinc per Cup CookedZinc per 100g
12% DV (1mg)7% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Lima Beans
Chia Seeds

#18: Chia Seeds

Zinc per oz(~2 Tblsp)Zinc per 100g
12% DV (1mg)42% DV (5mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Chia Seeds
Pecans

#19: Pecans

Zinc per OzZinc per 100g
12% DV (1mg)41% DV (5mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Pecans
Half an avocado

#20: Avocados

Zinc per AvocadoZinc per 100g
12% DV (1mg)6% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Avocados
A slice of swiss cheese

#21: Swiss Cheese

Zinc per OzZinc per 100g
11% DV (1mg)40% DV (4mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Swiss Cheese
Flax Seeds

#22: Flax Seeds

Zinc per OzZinc per 100g
11% DV (1mg)39% DV (4mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Flax Seeds
Asparagus

#23: Asparagus

Zinc per Cup CookedZinc per 100g
10% DV (1mg)5% DV (1mg)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Asparagus (Cooked)

See All 200 Vegetarian Foods High in Zinc

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
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