Food & Diet

Low Zinc? Here Are the 8 Foods You Should Eat

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  • How important is zinc?

Zinc is one the most important essential trace elements in our diets. By essential we mean that your body cannot produce the mineral, which means it is crucial to take in enough zinc from your diet.

We may not need a lot of zinc but, for the human body to function properly, it is a crucial element.

Did you know that zinc is important for our perceptions of smell and taste? It is also important in wound healing and is especially important in the synthesis of protein and DNA. It also aids the production of testosterone and can affect your libido. It is most popular however for helping us fight against the common cold and improving immune defenses as well as minimizing inflammation.

This element is so important that a zinc deficiency can cause skin, hair and nails problems, diarrhea, oral ulcerations and impaired immunity.

  • How much of the mineral do you need every day?

Zinc isn’t fat soluble so it isn’t stored by the body, which means you will need to get some from your diet every day. The daily requirement is 8mg for women and 11mg a day for men and ladies who are expecting. Vegetarians will need twice as much as omnivores because plant-based zinc is not as readily absorbable as animal-based zinc. People who have Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis and those who have had gastrointestinal surgery are advised to increase zinc intake because they are more prone to zinc deficiency.

Foods rich in zinc

To avoid zinc deficiency (and have a great excuse to eat delicious food) here are some of the foods with the highest amount of zinc per 100g serving:


Zinc: 16-182mg

Calories: 199 calories

As if we needed more reason to eat, nay, DEVOUR oysters, right?

These popular aphrodisiacs are one of the best sources of zinc out there, besting even most types of meat. The amount of zinc greatly varies on the freshness of the catch and where the oysters were caught, but with at least 16mg of zinc per serving, you can be assured you are getting more than the daily required amount.


Dark Chocolate

Zinc: 9.6mg

Calories: 546 calories 

Another reason to reach for a bar of 70% unsweetened chocolate is the fact that it contains more zinc than most food per 100g. Rich in magnesium and anti-oxidants, there really was wisdom in the ancient Aztec’s use of the beans for health and medical purposes.


Zinc: 8.66mg

Calories: 264 calories

Lamb gets a bad rap because it can be so fatty compared to other types of meat, but people who opt for lamb over beef and pork really know what they’re doing. Lamb has more zinc than most kinds of meat and at merely 264 calories, a 100g of lamb doesn’t sound that bad.


Zinc: 7.66mg

Calories: 34 calories

Mushrooms remain to be one of the best sources of zinc for vegetarians. High in zinc but very low in calories you can add mushrooms in everything. Including, stir-fry’s, as sides to steak and even use it as a substitute for a burger patty.


Zinc: 7.27mg

Calories: 89 calories

Lobster is a great source of zinc because it contains an excellent amount of zinc per 100 grams and is a very low calorie protein bomb. The crustacean is also high in vitamin B6 and B12 and magnesium. You should probably pass on the butter sauce if you want to keep it low-cal though.


Zinc: 6.72mg

Calories: 179 calories

Pork may not exactly fall under what we would refer to as “health food” but it’s a pretty great source of dietary zinc. Pound per pound, pork (or leaner parts of it) has less fat than chicken breast. It really is the other white meat.


Zinc: 5.35mg

Calories: 553 calories

Maybe it’s time to swap out all the nuts in your recipes for cashews. The nut has 5.35mg of zinc per 100g. Be careful though as a 100g of cashews easily translates to 553 calories.

Flax Seeds

Zinc: 5mg

Calories: 534 calories

Using flax seeds is one of the best ways to get your zinc fix on the sly. Add them to soups and smoothies, sprinkle them over a salad and even use them in lieu of sesame seeds. These seeds are also a popular health food because they are rich in omega-3s and fiber.