Best natural source of zinc


Healthy protein foods

Protein is an often-discussed food topic. Stories about high-protein diets litter magazines, news sites and social media. So let’s cut through the hype and take a look at some facts.

Protein is an important part of a healthy eating pattern. It’s made up of amino acids and plays a vital role in repairing and building bones and muscles in our bodies.

Which are the best sources?

When choosing protein foods, variety is the key. Eating a diverse range of healthy proteins gives your body other important nutrients, including iron, zinc and other important minerals and vitamins (particularly B-group vitamins).

How much should you eat?

Most people should aim for 1–3 serves of either lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts or seeds, or legumes each day.

The recommended number of serves can vary depending on your age and gender. For more information on what’s right for you, visit the Australian Dietary Guidelines website or talk to an Accredited Practising Dietitian

Healthy meat, poultry and seafood

Australians eat a lot of meat and poultry, but we’re not always making the best choices. How you prepare meat, poultry and seafood for cooking makes a big difference to whether they’re healthy. Your heart health also benefits if you switch some meat dishes for fish and other seafood during the week.

Learn what makes meats, poultry and seafood healthy and how much to eat.

Vegetarian and vegan-friendly proteins

If you don’t eat meat or animal products of any kind, it can seem hard to get enough protein into your diet each day. And even if you are a meat eater, you should include plenty of other protein options as a part of your eating pattern.

Legumes, nuts and seeds

Legumes (also known as pulses) include foods like chickpeas, lentils and beans and are a great plant-based protein. Along with nuts and seeds, they can add non-animal proteins to your diet.

Find out more about eating legumes, nuts and seeds.


Some people think eggs aren’t healthy, which isn’t actually true. They’re a good source of protein.
Learn more about eating eggs healthily.

Dairy foods and alternatives

Dairy foods like low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt contain protein, but they’re beneficial in their own right.
Discover the heart-health benefits of dairy foods.

World’s Healthiest Foods rich in
zinc FoodCalsDRI/DV
Sesame Seeds20625%
Pumpkin Seeds18023%
Garbanzo Beans26923%

For serving size for specific foods see the Nutrient Rating Chart.

  • Basic Description
  • Role in Health Support
  • Summary of Food Sources
  • Nutrient Rating Chart
  • Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing
  • Risk of Dietary Deficiency
  • Other Circumstances that Might Contribute to Deficiency
  • Relationship with Other Nutrients
  • Risk of Dietary Toxicity
  • Disease Checklist
  • Public Health Recommendations

Basic Description

From a food standpoint, zinc may be a less familiar dietary mineral than iron or calcium or sodium, but it is no less important to our metabolism or our health. Like magnesium, zinc is used as a cofactor by a number of critical enzymes. (This “cofactor” status of zinc means that zinc participates directly in the activity of the enzymes.) In fact, more than 300 zinc-dependent enzymes are currently known. Even a mild dietary deficiency of zinc can have far-reaching health implications. Immunity, reproduction, skin health, and vision are just some of the areas that can be affected.

The importance of this mineral to multiple body systems makes it even more important for us to get an adequate amount of zinc in our daily diet. This task can be a very challenging one. Although there is some amount of zinc in all WHFoods, no individual food ranks as an excellent source of this mineral. Only five foods rank as very good sources, and 24 foods rank as good sources of zinc. If you are seeking to increase your dietary intake of zinc, this limited number of ranked foods means that you cannot count on any particular food to obtain your 11 milligrams of daily zinc. (This is the amount that constitutes the DRI, or Dietary Reference Intake level for this mineral.) Instead, you’ll need to depend on the many different WHFoods groups and diversity in your meal plan. Our Summary of Food Sources section will provide you with additional recommendations in this area.

Like sodium and potassium, or calcium and magnesium, zinc and copper have overlaps in transport and metabolism. For this reason, balancing dietary zinc and copper sources may help prevent deficiency or excess of either mineral.

Role in Health Support

Immune Function

Diets low in zinc can induce measureable reductions in the activity of the immune system. These reductions occur relatively quickly—in as few as four weeks after starting a low-zinc diet—and are reversible upon getting zinc back into the body.

This experimental low-zinc diet only contained 2-3.5 milligrams of zinc per day, or less than you would have in a single serving of our Mediterranean-Style Salad.

It appears that elderly individuals are especially prone to developing reduced immunity related to poor zinc nutrition. Even in this at-risk population, restoring zinc status appears to reverse the detrimental changes within weeks.

One research group has gone so far as to recommend using a Mediterranean-style diet—a diet very similar to the World’s Healthiest Foods approach—to protect against zinc deficiency in elderly individuals. We couldn’t agree more.

Skin Health

Researchers have been able to induce acne symptoms in young men by feeding them diets deficient in zinc. This effect occurs surprisingly quickly, with one research group demonstrating a significant change in skin health within 12 days of depleted zinc foods. Other researchers have been able to demonstrate a number of other skin and related symptoms, including facial rash, foot fungus, and canker sores. Again, each of these changes was reversed when zinc was brought back into the diet. While we don’t want to overgeneralize about the significance of this study—and are by no means saying that most acne is caused by zinc deficiency—it does suggest that too little zinc from a meal plan can be a factor in compromising skin health, and that it’s worthwhile building your zinc intake up to recommended levels in order to support the health of your skin.

Sensory Organs

Acute depletion of zinc can causes loss of the sense of taste and appetite. The level of zinc deficiency necessary to cause these changes appears to be more severe than the immune system changes reported above, and is often related to another factor such as cancer treatment or anorexia. One research group recently estimated that about 15% of elderly people who lost their sense of taste did so due to zinc deficiency, and some others did so due to more serious conditions; so make sure to report this symptom to your doctor if you develop it.

Like the other symptoms related to zinc deficiency, this change in sense of taste appears to be reversible in the majority of people who get back to normal zinc status. Here are a couple of recipes—Braised Red Curry Lamb and Vegetables as well as Healthy Chef’s Salad with Walnuts and French Dressing—that should help to combat zinc-related loss of sense of taste, both by acting as good sources of zinc, and by including a good zing of spices.

Zinc is also critical to vision. It works together with vitamin A to help sense light and to send nerve impulses to the brain. Although we don’t currently know how much of age-related vision loss is due to zinc deficiency, researchers have shown that zinc levels in the retina (the part of the eye that sees light) decline in tandem with vision loss.

Male Reproductive Health

Advanced deficiency of zinc can impair motility and number of sperm. In one study, young male volunteers ate a diet with only 10% of the Daily Value requirement (15 milligrams) for a little over a month. Researchers measured sperm quality and quantity before and after the zinc-deficient diet.

This study demonstrated that even brief periods of severe zinc deficiency can lead to measureable changes in sperm composition and quantity. Studies correlating diseases known to impair zinc nutrition with reduced fertility seem to second this conclusion. Here’s a recipe—our 7-Minute Sautéed Crimini Mushroom—rich in zinc and selenium, another nutrient necessary for proper sperm production.

Summary of Food Sources

The most well-known fact about zinc in foods is almost certainly that oysters are rich in zinc. A typical oyster weighing approximately one ounce will contain about 8-9 milligrams of zinc. So two oysters would put you over the WHFoods recommended daily amount of 11 milligrams. In addition to oysters, other shellfish tend to be rich in this mineral, as are many other animal foods. Shrimp, for example, rank as our 10th best WHFoods source of zinc. And our Oyster and Clam Chowder recipe contains more than 400% of the DRI for zinc.

Statistically, red meat and poultry make up the biggest contributions to zinc intake in the diets of Americans. However, this statistic is somewhat misleading, since the two animal meats are quite different in their concentration of zinc. Grass-fed beef ranks as our top WHFoods source of zinc with 1 milligram in every ounce. However, pasture-raised chicken only ranks as our 44th best source of zinc, with only one-quarter milligram per ounce. (The reason that poultry makes such a large zinc contribution in U.S. diets is due to the large volume of poultry that we eat.) The bottom line here: if you enjoy both beef and chicken in your meal plan but want to focus on your intake of zinc, beef is your better option. Fish—including scallops and shrimp—are both good sources of zinc. After beef, our best WHFoods land animal source of zinc is lamb.

It is also true that many nuts and seeds are rich in zinc. Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, for example, rank in our Top 10 WHFoods sources for this mineral! And cashews are not far behind at our 11th best source. These nuts and seeds also provide the largest amounts of zinc to our 7-Day Healthiest Way of Eating Plan. For people eating a largely plant-based diet, these sources will be necessary on a daily basis to ensure a consistent intake of zinc. Shiitake mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, spinach, and asparagus are examples of very good plant-food sources of zinc. Among our WHFoods whole grains, quinoa and oats are you best zinc sources.

For most nutrients, there are a few food sources that stand out as providing most of a day’s supply. Other than oysters, this is not true for zinc. Because of this, you’ll need to have multiple contributors most days to reach your recommended intake level. With 38 of our World’s Healthiest Foods containing at least 1 milligram of zinc, you’ll have a wide variety of items to choose from to make sure you meet your goal.

Nutrient Rating Chart

Introduction to Nutrient Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the World’s Healthiest Foods that are either an excellent, very good, or good source of zinc. Next to each food name, you’ll find the serving size we used to calculate the food’s nutrient composition, the calories contained in the serving, the amount of zinc contained in one serving size of the food, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling.” Read more background information and details of our rating system.

Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing

Like other minerals, zinc in foods is remarkably stable to shelf storage. In fact, your foods will go bad long before the zinc content changes in any relevant way. But because many of the zinc-rich foods (meats, shellfish, and seeds, for instance) have such a limited shelf life for other reasons (like risk of bacterial contamination), you’ll want to be careful in the way you store them.

Cooking meat does not lead to dramatic loss of zinc. So unlike some other minerals—for example, potassium—you don’t need to be concerned here about losing too much zinc if you enjoy cooked meats in your meal plan. (And by the way, we do not recommend consumption of raw meat due to contamination risk.)

In plant foods, you can expect some zinc loss in cooking liquids, but this loss tends to be less than that seen with most other minerals. For example, boiled lentils lose about 10-20% of their zinc content. While this loss is not exactly irrelevant, in a practical sense, this still leaves lentils as a good source of dietary zinc (and given that lentils generally are not eaten raw you can know that by preparing them you are still enjoying a zinc-rich food).

Soaking beans, seeds, and grains for several hours, then allowing sprouts to form, may significantly improve zinc bioavailability from these foods.

Risk of Dietary Deficiency

While the average U.S. diet provides adequate zinc for most men and women, symptomatic zinc deficiency does sometimes occur in the U.S. Unlike for many of the other minerals, however, the beef-rich diet of many Americans (averaging about 1 pound of beef per week) tends to provide zinc in good supply. Not only beef, but other animal meats, provide us with substantial amounts of zinc, including grass-fed lamb and pasture-raised turkey. Perhaps the biggest risk of zinc deficiency in a healthy adult would occur in a person who consumed few animal foods and whose diet was largely based on processed foods, with no routine intake of nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables, or whole grains.

On average, U.S. children have sufficient intake of zinc. By the DRI standard described below, less than 5% of children in any age group are currently eating zinc-deficient diets.

While the above statistic might sound like good news, it isn’t because children appear to be depending more and more on fortified foods—foods with extra added zinc in processing—rather than meeting their zinc needs from whole, natural foods. For example, ready-to-eat processed cereals have become an important source of zinc in kids’ diets. This trend has three unwanted results. First, it leaves kids lacking in nutrients that are naturally present alongside of zinc in whole foods. Second, it leaves kids with imbalanced intake of zinc in relationship to other nutrients (like copper). And third, it puts kids at risk of excess zinc intake due to overconsumption of fortified processed foods. According to present-day research, nearly 90% of children under age 1, and 50% of those aged 1-3 years, eat more than the age appropriate upper limit of zinc daily.

Vegetarian diets tend to be a bit lower in zinc than diets that contain meat. Still, this difference is not as great as you might predict from looking at the food source lists below. According to a 2013 review of previously published research, vegetarians on average eat just under 1 mg of zinc less than meat-eaters in their daily diets. If you eat a largely or fully vegetarian diet, including seeds on a daily basis might be a good step toward ensuring good zinc nutrition.

Other Circumstances that Might Contribute to Deficiency

In addition to poor dietary supply, increased need for zinc (beyond our typical everyday needs) can also contribute to a relative deficiency of this nutrient. Infections, trauma, stress, and steroid medications are just some of the examples of situations where body tissues take up extra zinc from the blood, creating a relative deficiency.

Serious gastrointestinal problems can impair the ability to absorb zinc from foods. For example, more than half of people with an inflammatory bowel disorder called Crohn’s disease have evidence of zinc deficiency. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, you’ll probably need some help from a doctor or nutritionist to ensure good vitamin and mineral intake.

Our bodies are able to somewhat compensate for a very low zinc intake by reducing the amount of the mineral lost in the urine and feces. People with kidney or bowel diseases may not be as equipped to respond to temporarily low-zinc diets as people with normal organ function.

Relationship with Other Nutrients

Too much zinc in the diet or from dietary supplements can impair copper nutrition. This interaction can occur in two ways. First, copper and zinc may directly compete for absorption from our gastrointestinal tract. Second, diets high in zinc may lead to overproduction of a protein called metallothionein, a protein that binds both copper and zinc. This second type of interaction might turn out to be the most important type in this arena.

The takeaway message here is probably two-fold. First, focus on foods that are strong sources of both copper and zinc. Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds would be good examples of these. Secondarily, using high doses of zinc supplements to circumvent the difficulty in finding good food sources may do as much or more harm as good.

Phytate—a phosphorus-rich molecule that may provide us with health benefits well beyond its phosphorus content—is also a molecule that can inhibit absorption of dietary zinc. (Phytate can inhibit the absorption of other minerals as well, including iron.) While phytate can be broken down in our large intestine by naturally occurring bacteria, it may not be a good thing to have too much zinc bound together with phytate, since zinc is typically absorbed from our digestive tract much earlier during the process of digestion. If too much zinc remains bound to phytate before the two can be separate, we may not be able to absorb as much zinc as would otherwise be desirable. As discussed earlier in this profile, sprouting grains and legumes may help reduce phytate levels to a significant degree. We would like to point out, however, that there is no research to suggest that consumption of non-sprouted whole grains and legumes in a balanced diet increases a person’s risk of zinc deficiency.

Risk of Dietary Toxicity

The major risk associated with excessive zinc intake is that you will crowd out the ability to absorb other important minerals. In particular, high zinc intakes impair absorption of copper, a nutrient we already struggle to obtain from our diets. Reduced copper absorption, in turn, can lead to anemia and a resulting fatigue.

Fortunately, it appears that all the published cases of excessive zinc intake involve either a nutritional supplement or a related non-dietary exposure (denture creams, for instance, can contain excessive amounts of zinc). It would be theoretically possible to obtain too much dietary zinc by eating several oysters every day, but this has never been reported to be a problem in published research studies, perhaps because oysters are also rich in the other minerals that compete with zinc for absorption.

There is a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) set for zinc by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences of 40 milligrams per day. The basis for this recommended limit involved research on enzyme activity in red blood cells. (The enzymes required a special balance between copper and zinc to function properly, and too much zinc upset this balance.) As described earlier, a good balance of zinc and copper in food might be able to help offset possible problems even if zinc intake regularly exceeded the UL. It is always worth remembering that ULs set by the National Academy of Sciences refer to regular intake of nutrients on a routine basis, not occasional intake every once in a while.

Disease Checklist

  • Common cold
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Down syndrome
  • Canker sores
  • Liver disease
  • Ulcer
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Macular degeneration
  • Infertility (male)

Public Health Recommendations

The 1999 Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) levels for zinc as established by the National Academy of Sciences are as follows:

All of the DRI recommendations above are Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs), except the recommendation for 0-6 month old infants, which is an AI (Adequate Intake) recommendation. (AI intake recommendations are somewhat less precise than RDA recommendations.)

The Daily Value (DV) for zinc is 15 mg per day for adults and children older than 4 years. DVs are the standards used on food packaging labels.

The National Academy of Sciences has set a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for zinc intake at 40 mg per day for adults. As noted in the toxicity section above, it would be very unusual to consistently be above this threshold by dietary intake alone.

As our WHFoods recommendation level for zinc, we chose the DRI standard for males 14 years and older of 11 milligrams. With the exception of pregnancy and lactation, this level covers the needs of females 14 years and older as well.

  • Alaimo K, McDowell MA, Briefel RR, et al. Dietary intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber of persons ages 2 months and over in the United States: Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Phase 1, 1988-91. Advance Data 1994;258:1-28.
  • Aliani M, Udenigwe CC, Girgih AT, et al. Zinc deficiency and taste perception in the elderly. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2013;53:245-50.
  • American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:748-65.
  • Arsenault JE, Brown KH. Zinc intake of US preschool children exceeds new dietary reference intakes. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:1011-7.
  • Bae YS, Hill ND, Bibi Y, et al. Innovative uses for zinc in dermatology. Dermatol Clin 2010;28;587-97.
  • El-Tawil AM. Zinc deficiency in men with Crohn’s disease may contribute to poor sperm function and male infertility. Andrologia 2003;35:337-41.
  • Erie JC, Good JA, Butz JA, et al. Reduced zinc and copper in the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid in age-related macular degeneration. Am J Ophthalmol 2009;147:276-82.
  • Foster M, Chu A, Petocz P, et al. Effect of vegetarian diets on zinc status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies in humans. J Sci Food Agric 2013;93:2362-71.
  • Gerber N, Scheeder MRL, Wenk C. The influence of cooking and fat trimming on the actual nutrient intake from meat. Meat Science 2009;81:148-54.
  • Grahn BH, Paterson PG, Gottschall-Pass KT, et al. Zinc and the eye. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20:S106-18.
  • Haros M, Carlsson NG, Almgren A, Larsson-Alminger M, Sandberg AS, & Andlid T (2009). Phytate degradation by human gut isolated Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum ATCC27919 and its probiotic potential. International journal of food microbiology, 135 (1), 7-14 PMID: 19674804
  • Haros M, Bielecka M, Honke J, & Sanz Y (2007). Myo-inositol hexakisphosphate degradation by Bifidobacterium infantis ATCC 15697. International journal of food microbiology, 117 (1), 76-84 PMID: 17462768
  • Hunt CD, Johnson PE, Herbel J, et al. Effects of dietary zinc depletion on seminal volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm morphology in young men. Am J Clin Nutr 1992;56:148-57.
  • Imoscopi A, Inelmen EM, Sergi G, et al. Taste loss in the elderly: epidemiology, causes and consequences. Again Clin Exp Res 2012;24:570-9.
  • Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
  • Kahmann L, Uciechowski P, Warmuth S, et al. Effect of improved zinc status on T helper cell activation and TH1/TH2 ratio in healthy elderly individuals. Biogerontology 2006;7:429-35.
  • King JC. Zinc: an essential but elusive nutrient. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:679S-84S.
  • Maserejian NN, Hall SA, McKinlay JB. Low dietary or supplemental zinc is associated with depression symptoms among women, but not men, in a population-based epidemiological survey. J Affect Disord 2012;136:781-8.
  • Mocchegiani E, Romeo J, Malavolta M, et al. Zinc: dietary intake and impact of supplementation on immune function in elderly. Age 2013;35:839-60.
  • Solomons NW. Mild human zinc deficiency produces an imbalance between cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Nutr Rev 1998;56:27-8.
  • Taylor CM, Goode HF, Aggett PJ, et al. Symptomatic zinc deficiency in experimental zinc deprivation. J Clin Pathol 1992;45:83-4.
  • Wang N, Hatcher DW, Toews R, et al. Influence of cooking and dehulling on nutritional composition of several varieties of lentils (Lens culinaris). LWT Food Sci Technol 2009;42:842-8.
  • Wang N, Hatcher DW, Tyler RT, et al. Effect of cooking on the composition of beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.). Food Res Int 2010;43:589-94.

It’s not quite cold and flu season. (Phew!) Still, now’s the best time to get proactive with your health. This means scheduling a flu shot at the optimal time. It also means stocking up on immunity-boosting foods, making ginger tea, and soaking up as much vitamin D as you can. Another game-changer when it comes to not getting sick is zinc.

Although it’s best known as an active ingredient in natural sunscreens. It’s also the fastest way to cure a common cold, according to science. Zinc should also be a regular part of your diet year-round—8 milligrams a day for women, 11 milligrams a day for men. That’s because your body doesn’t store it like it does other nutrients or enzymes.

Zinc supplements exist. They can help clear up acne and balance a vegan diet when taken regularly. But it’s also possible to increase your zinc through your diet. Keep reading for the benefits of getting enough zinc. Plus, find a list of foods that are excellent sources of zinc, below.

5 health benefits of zinc

1. Zinc supports your immune system

The human body needs zinc to grow and develop. A deficiency in the trace element can compromise your immune system. Read: Make you more susceptible to getting sick.

2. Zinc combats common colds

Zinc has antiviral properties that can stop or slow down the bacteria that cause the flu and colds when consumed within 24 hours of symptom onset. It’s like your own slo-mo filter for sickness.

3. It helps balance your hormones

Out of whack hormones are the underlying cause of many women’s health issues. Several factors influence imbalances. But research shows zinc plays an important role in regulating your thyroid. No longer seen as a mystery organ, research now links the thyroid to autoimmune diseases. Among them are Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

4. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties

Zinc’s praises are less sung than ginger and turmeric in this category. Still, it’s a superstar at fighting inflammation because it shows antioxidant properties.

5. Zinc can help soothe irritated bowels

Whatever it’s brought on by, diarrhea is the type of thing that can put a kink in your plans or an end to your day. Research shows Zinc can help keep prevent or reduce a bad case of the runs. (Gross, I know, but good news!)

Photo: Stocksy/Alberto Bogo

7 foods that are great sources of zinc

1. Whole grains

You can get 3 to 6 percent of your daily zinc from whole grains. Steel cut oats, brown rice, barley, and wheat spaghetti are all good sources. It’s important to note that it’s harder to absorb zinc from plants than animal-based foods.

2. Healthy shellfish

A top food source of zinc is shellfish. Oysters, for example, have a reputation for boosting libidos. But they’re also chock full of the trace mineral. Three ounces of them have 3.5 times the daily recommended amount of zinc for women. Another high-zinc option from the ocean are scallops. A three-ounce serving has 1.3 milligrams of zinc.

3. Legumes

Chickpeas, lentils, edamame, and beans are protein rich. Legumes also happen to have one of the highest amounts of zinc among common plant foods. For example, a half-cup of navy beans holds about 25 percent of your daily zinc needs.

4. Red meat

If you eat red meat, you’re getting a little over three milligrams of zinc for every three ounces of lean beef or pork.

5. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s got anti-inflammatory, memory improving, and potentially cancer-preventing properties. A bar of 70-percent dark chocolate also has about 3.3 milligrams of zinc.

6. Dairy

Foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products contain zinc that’s more bioavailable. What that means is it’s more easily absorbed by your body. Check the labels to mind how much of the mineral you’re getting per serving.

7. Eggs

Here’s something that could help curb that egg burnout. One egg can have as much as five percent of your recommended daily zinc intake.

In preparation for flu season, here’s what you need to know about ginger baths and a super-simple recipe for ginger tea.

Get daily zinc in food form with this 100% pure powder – more than 60 oysters in each bottle!

Oysters are the highest natural source of zinc — 10 times higher in fact, than the next richest source, red meat. As you may already know, advising your clients to take synthetic zinc in an isolated form can be dangerous, as too much is as bad as too little; and other elements like copper can become depleted if zinc is taken on its own.

Organic 3 Oysterzinc™

  • 100% pure oyster powder, made from only the extracted meatof the oyster with no shell included.
  • True food source of zinc with no additives or fillers.
  • Nutrients from more than 60 concentrated oysters in each bottle – the most potent oyster extract available!*
  • Also contains 19 amino acids including taurine, 59 trace minerals, 12 vitamins, plus omega 3 DHA and EPA.
  • Bound in peptides, amino acids and organic nutrients, making it very bioavailable.
  • Co-factors include manganese, copper and selenium in the right balance and form for easy absorption.

Our oysters are grown in pristine Atlantic waters along Ireland’s lush coastline and produced using a proprietary artisan process to preserve bioactivity. This ensures an extremely high quality, pure Oysterzinc™ extract.

All of the trace elements are present in significant yet sensible concentrations, so they work in harmony as nature intended. On the same note, none of the nutrients in our Oysterzinc™ are present in concentrations that could upset the body’s natural mineral and nutrient balance.

Zinc health benefits

Zinc is an important mineral that plays a vital role in protein synthesis and helps regulate cell production.* It’s mostly found in the strongest muscles of the body, and it’s especially concentrated in the white and red blood cells, retina, skin, liver, kidneys, bones and pancreas. The semen and prostate gland in men also contain significant amounts of zinc.

In the human body, there are more than 300 different enzymes that require zinc to function normally.

Yet zinc deficiency is common in the U.S. It occurs when people don’t eat enough foods that contain zinc or have problems absorbing – and using – zinc from foods due to digestive issues or poor gut health, like leaky gut syndrome.

Those most at risk for zinc deficiency include:

  • Anyone following a plant-based diet that doesn’t include meat or dairy products.
  • People who have severe stomach-acid issues and chronic digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome.
  • Alcoholics.
  • Women taking the birth control pill or who are on hormone replacement drugs.

Zinc helps support the immune and digestive systems, blood sugar levels, a healthy metabolism and the skin (people with eczema often use zinc). Also, it is helpful in terms of pregnancy, stress control, hair care, common colds and eye care.*


  • Adults: Up to 4 capsules daily, with food, fresh juice or a smoothie. Enjoy with Acerola Puree and fresh squeezed orange juice.
  • Sensitive Individuals: Adults: 1 capsule, once daily. May increase dose over time if needed.

Important: The supplements we carry are premium, pure and potent. Therefore, it’s critically important to start slowly, with a lower dosage than recommended. For example, a very small dose every other day, or even once a week, until you can determine how the supplement affects your body and what dose feels right for you.


Store in a cool, dry area.

Ready for your clients to try Oysterzinc™?

If you’re a retailer, here’s more information on where to buy Oysterzinc™.

You can also apply for a wholesale account today (practitioners and retailers alike)!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Amount of Zinc in Oysters

Welcome to the nutritional zinc content in 9 different types of oysters, ranging from 90.95 mg to 16.62 mg per 100g. The basic type of oysters is Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw, where the amount of zinc in 100g is 16.62 mg.

16.62 mg of zinc per 100g, from Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw corresponds to 111% of the zinc RDA. For a typical serving size of 1 medium (or 50 g) the amount of Zinc is 8.31 mg. This corresponds to an RDA percentage of 55%.

The percentage of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc is based on a 15 mg RDA level for a mature adult.

Top five oysters products high in zinc

Below is a summary list for the top five oysters items ranked by the amount or level of zinc in 100g.

Following on from the five top oysters items or products containing zinc we have a more comprehensive break down of Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw, and the highest item containing zinc which is Mollusks, oyster, eastern, canned. We also give a comparison of average values, median values and lowest values along with a comparison with other food groups and assess the effects of storage and preparation on the 9 types of oysters.

At the bottom of the page is the full list for the 9 different types of oysters based on the content in different servings in grams and oz (and other serving sizes), providing a comprehensive analysis of the zinc content in oysters.

Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw – Nutritional Content and Chart

The full nutrition content, RDA percentages and levels for Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw should be considered along with the zinc content. This food profile is part of our list of food and drinks under the general group Finfish and Shellfish Products.Other important and zinc related nutrients are Calories, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. For this 100g serving in your diet, the amount of Calories is 81 kcal (4% RDA), the amount of Protein is 9.45 g (17% RDA), the amount of Fat is 2.3 g (4% RDA) and the amount of Carbohydrate is 4.95 g (4% RDA). The nutritional content and facts for 100g, which includes Calories, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate is shown in the RDA chart below as percentages of the recommended daily allowance along with the zinc levels in oysters.

Our proprietary nutritional density score gives a nutritional value out of 100 based on 9 different vitamins, minerals and macro nutrients. Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw has a nutritional value score of 17 out of 100.Comparing the zinc content and the nutritional density in 100g for Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw; We class this as a high zinc content item.In terms of overall nutritional value we class this as an item with a medium nutritional density value.

Amount of zinc per 100 Calories

100 calories of mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw is a serving size of 1.23 g, and the amount of Zinc is 20.52 mg (137.04% RDA). Other important and related nutrients and macronutrients such as Fat, in 100 Calories are as follows; Protein 11.67 g (20.99% RDA), Fat 2.84 g (4.94% RDA), Carbohydrate 6.11 g (4.94% RDA). This is shown in the zinc RDA percentage chart below, based on 100 Calories, along with the other important nutrients and macro nutrients.

Content per Typical Serving Size 1 medium (or 50 g)

For the food Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw the typical serving size is 1 medium (or 50 g) which contains 8.31 mg of Zinc. The zinc percentage of the recommended daily value for this serving is 55 %.

To give 100% of the RDA, 1.8 servings of the typical serving size 1 medium (or 50 g) give the complete RDA. In terms of the gram weight and total content for this serving the Calories content is 40.5 kcal, the Protein content is 4.73 g, the Fat content is 1.15 g and the Carbohydrate content is 2.48 g. The percentages are shown below in the zinc chart, for the typical serving of zinc and the related and important nutritional values.

Macronutrients in Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw

The amount of protein, fat and carbs from this food described above is measured in grams per 100g and grams in a typical serving size (in this case 1 medium or 50 g), although it is also useful to give the number of calories from protein, fat and carbohydrate which are the most important macronutrients. For this serving in your diet here are the macronutrient calories. From protein the number of calories is 20.2 (kcal).The number of calories from Fat is 10.4 (kcal).The total calories from carbohydrate is 10.2 (kcal).

Milligrams of zinc in oysters (per 100g)

This list of 9 types of oysters, is brought to you by and ranges from Mollusks, oyster, eastern, canned through to Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw where all food items are ranked by the content or amount per 100g. The nutritional zinc content can be scaled by the amount in grams, oz or typical serving sizes. Simply click on a food item or beverage from the list at the bottom of the page to give a full dietary nutritional breakdown to answer the question how much zinc in oysters.

The list below gives the total zinc content in the 9 items from the general description ‘oysters’ each of which show the zinc amount as well as Calories, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. Below, is the top 9 food items shown in the zinc chart. This gives a quick and easy dietary comparison for the different items, where each item is listed at the bottom of the page with a nutritional summary.

The corresponding nutritional value for oysters based on our density score out of 100 (ranked by the amount of zinc per 100g) is shown in the below nutritional density chart.

The corresponding Calories for oysters ranked by the amount of zinc per 100g is shown below in the oysters calories chart.

Effect of Preparation and Storage on zinc

The level of zinc can be affected by the method of storage for example canned or frozen and also by the method of preparation for example either raw, cooked or fried. The number of food items classified as canned is 1 item. The highest amount of zinc from the 1 canned items is in Mollusks, oyster, eastern, canned where the level is 90.95 mg per 100g.The total food items which are raw is 3 items. The highest amount of zinc from the 3 raw items is in Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, raw where the content is 39.3 mg per 100g. The number of food items which are cooked are 5 items. The highest amount of zinc from the 5 cooked items is in Mollusks, oyster, eastern, cooked, breaded and fried where the amount is 87.13 mg per 100g. Comparing raw and cooked oysters shows that cooking can change the levels of zinc by 47.83 mg in a 100g serving.

Average Content for oysters

The average (or more correctly the arithmetic mean) amount of zinc contained in 100g of oysters, based on the list below of 9 different items under the general description of oysters, is 54.44 mg of zinc. This average value corresponds to 362.93 % of the recommended dietary allowance (or RDA) in your diet. The averages for the different nutrients are as follows; the average amount of Calories is 97.89 kcal, the average amount of Protein is 9.16 g, the average amount of Fat is 3.71 g and the average amount of Carbohydrate is g.

Median Amount

The median value of Zinc is found in Mollusks, oyster, eastern, farmed, cooked, dry heat which in 100g contains 45.15 mg of Zinc. This corresponds to 301 % of the recommended daily allowance. For this serving the amount of Calories is 79 kcal, the amount of Protein is 7 g, the amount of Fat is 2.12 g and the amount of Carbohydrate is 7.28 g.

Highest zinc Content per 100g

Using the list below for the 9 different oysters nutrition entries in our database, the highest amount of zinc is found in Mollusks, oyster, eastern, canned which contains 90.95 mg of zinc per 100g. The associated percentage of RDA is 606 %. For this 100g serving the Calories content is 68 kcal, the Protein content is 7.06 g, the Fat content is 2.47 g, the Carbohydrate content is 3.91 g.

The lowest amount of zinc in 100g is in Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw which contains 16.62 mg. This gives as percentage of the recommended daily allowance 111 % of the RDA. For this 100g serving the amount of Calories is 81 kcal, the amount of Protein is 9.45 g, the amount of Fat is 2.3 g, the amount of Carbohydrate is 4.95 g.

The difference between the highest and lowest values gives a zinc range of 74.33 mg per 100g. The range for the other nutrients are as follows; 13 kcal for Calories, 2.39 g for Protein, 0.17 g for Fat, 0 g for Carbohydrate.

Highest Amount of zinc per Serving

Please remember that the above gives an accurate value in 100g for high zinc foods in your diet. For example 100g of Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw contains 16.62 mg of zinc. However, there are other factors to consider when you are assessing your nutritional requirements. You should also take into account portion sizes when you are considering the zinc nutritional content.

The food with the highest zinc content per typical serving is Mollusks, oyster, eastern, canned which contains 147.34 mg in 1 cup, drained (or 162 g). The percentage of the recommended daily value for this serving is 982 %. For this serving the Calories content is 110.16 kcal, the Protein content is 11.44 g, the Fat content is 4 g and the Carbohydrate content is 6.33 g.

Nutritional Information Summary

From the list below you can find a full nutrition facts breakdown for all foods containing zinc which can be scaled for different servings and quantities. We have also sorted our complete nutritional information and vitamin database of over 7000 foods, to give a list of foods high in zinc.

Zinc: Optimum Intake and Sources for the Paleo Lifestyle

Zinc! It’s the essential mineral that’s praised by many advocates involved in the Paleo community. Most people generally recognize zinc for its reputation as a potent cold and flu virus prevention solution, but its numerous benefits also extend beyond its role as an immunity-boosting mineral.

Ensuring adequate zinc intake in one’s diet is absolutely necessary for achieving long term health goals while following an ancestral eating plan. Zinc is essential for maintaining numerous physiological functions within the human body including tissue and epithelial integrity, immune system regulation, cellular growth, gut health, and inflammation suppression. The current USA government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc averages in at approximately 10 mg. The USA RDA for zinc might be adequate for maintaining proper zinc levels for most healthy human beings that do not suffer from a zinc deficiency, but higher short-term dosages are likely needed to correct a deficiency. Physical indications of zinc deficiency include but are not limited to frequent viral infections, white spots or streaks on the fingernails, poor physical growth in childhood, hair loss, impaired vision, diarrhea, acne, dandruff, chronic dry skin, and impaired mental functioning (i.e. depression, anxiety, brain fog). It’s worth noting that all of the listed conditions can also result from the manifestation of other nutrient and mineral imbalances, and ensuring a highly varied nutrient rich ancestral diet that is rich in omega-3’s is crucial to preventing and resolving any of the aforementioned health issues.

Zinc in excess can be equally problematic as zinc deficiency. The daily upper limit threshold for zinc in healthy individuals is about 40 mg for adults over 19 and 25mg for those under 19. Excessive zinc consumption is characterized by severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite. Over the long term, excessive zinc intake in the absence of copper will result in the gradual depletion of copper from the human body. For this reason it is recommended that those looking to supplement zinc in their diets should avoid zinc dietary supplements and instead opt for “au-naturel” food-based sources of zinc that are inherently proportionately balanced with copper.

Those looking to ensure optimum zinc intake in their diet must decide whether to source their zinc from animal sources or plant sources. Below are two tables demonstrating a handful of the highest ranking sources of zinc from both plants and animals. The zinc content of each source is listed in mg. Note that many of the listed zinc-rich plant foods do not adhere to the Paleo lifestyle.

When examining the table above, it becomes obvious that ratio of zinc in animal-based foods is significantly higher than the ratio of zinc found in plant-based foods. Additionally, all of the animal-based sources of zinc naturally have appropriate zinc to copper ratios, so you don’t have to worry about creating a mineral imbalance while consuming these foods.

Now you might be wondering if it is still worth considering plant-based sources of zinc in your diet. From the tables above, it is immediately apparent that one would have to consume much higher quantities of zinc-containing plant foods to achieve the same proportion of zinc found in the animal foods listed above. Besides pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, all of the other listed plant-based zinc sources are off limits for Paleo followers. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that many of the zinc-rich plant foods such as legumes, seeds, nuts, and grains contain phytates (i.e. phytic acid). Phytates have been demonstrated to bind to zinc and other important dietary minerals such as iron and manganese. The bonding of phytates with zinc and other minerals upon digestion drastically reduces your body’s ability to absorb these key minerals, thus making you more prone to mineral deficiencies. Animal foods do not inhibit the absorption of zinc or other minerals and instead aid in absorption during digestion.

Oysters rank supreme amongst all other zinc containing food sources available for human consumption, and thus are ideal for treating individuals with zinc deficiency, and for those simply looking to incorporate zinc-rich food sources into their diets.

Oysters have long been revered for their rich taste and nutritional qualities across all parts of the globe. Preference for oyster consumption has shown up in historical documentation dating back to the ancient Greeks and Chinese. In fact, in Europe up until the 18th century oysters were considered a “luxury” food only reserved for the highest classes. Within the colonies of North America, oyster consumption was never restricted to the rich and thus most colonists and Native Americans consumed oysters regularly. The 19th century in The United States was marked by the widespread establishment of “oyster bars” that originated on the eastern seaboard and quickly became popular throughout the west. By 1881 there were nearly 379 oyster bars in Philadelphia alone! Zinc deficiency was likely not a major problem for oyster-loving 19th century Americans.

Nowadays oysters are becoming an increasingly obsolete food source. Oysters can be difficult to source fresh, especially if you are like myself and live thousands of miles inland from the nearest ocean. The best economical solution for inlanders is to purchase canned oysters from your local grocery store. A large majority of the oysters on store shelves are canned in cottonseed oil, which you will definitely want to avoid if you are sticking to a Paleo eating plan. Fortunately, Crown Prince offers a line of smoked oysters that are canned in extra-virgin olive oil. I have seen these oysters available in Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s for about $2 – $3 per can. If you are not quite adjusted to the “delicious” taste of oysters yet, try topping them with a few drops of Paleo-friendly hot sauce.

Zinc is necessary for many of the body’s processes and most people are chronically deficient in this vital mineral. It is an active agent in our body’s ability to metabolize food and nutrients. It assists with triggering over 100 differing internal enzymes required for many metabolic actions. Zinc is also crucial for the immune system. It supports growth through its role in protein building and synthesis and is therefore particularly needed by pregnant and lactating women.

It also plays a role in the body’s ability to heal itself after an injury. Zinc supports your sense of smell and is commonly linked to healthy eyes, skin, and hair. We must ensure that we get enough zinc in our diet, potentially from zinc supplements, as the body does not naturally have a zinc storage system.

Foods High in Zinc

Length: 2 minutes

8 Foods High in Zinc

Like most other nutrients, the best way to obtain zinc is through a healthy diet. There are many foods that contain zinc, but the following possess the most naturally-occurring zinc. These foods are a great addition to any diet.

1. Pumpkin seeds

Not only are they extremely high in zinc, pumpkin seeds also play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds also support immune system health. For maximum zinc-intake, the seeds should be eaten raw, as roasting them can deplete zinc intake.

2. Dark Chocolate

The occasional indulgence in a square of dark chocolate may offer a boost to your zinc levels. One hundred grams of unsweetened dark chocolate has up to 9.6 mg of zinc. Cocoa powder has 6.8 mg.

3. Garlic

This pungent bulb offers moderate levels of naturally occurring zinc and is easy to incorporate into almost any meal. Garlic is also a great food for detox that contains high levels of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium.

4. Sesame Seeds

Raw, toasted or ground into tahini butter, sesame seeds hold around 10 mg of zinc per 100g serving. Try incorporating more hummus (a tahini-butter-based Middle Eastern dip) into your diet, or even consider replacing wheat flour with sesame seed flour in your baked goods or bread.

5. Watermelon Seeds

It may seem strange, but dried watermelon seeds have 10 mg of zinc per 100g serving.

6. Wheat Germ

An excellent additive to sprinkle on your salad, toasted wheat germ offers 17 mg of zinc per 100g serving. This is over 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

7. Squash Seeds

Another popular Middle Eastern seed, squash seeds contain around 10 mg of zinc per 100 g serving. You can remove the seeds directly from the squash and eat them raw, or dry or roast them in your oven. I prefer raw.

8. Chickpeas

A 7-ounce serving contains about 2.8 mg of zinc. They also contain folate and are high in protein and dietary fiber.

Other Sources of Zinc

Aside from the foods listed above, there are other ways to get zinc in your diet. If you don’t eat many of the foods above, I recommend supplementing your diet with zinc.

If you decide to take a supplement, be sure to do your research on the different types of zinc supplements: They are not all created equal.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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According to a study done by, zinc deficiency symptoms can range from hard-to-notice issues, like an impaired sense of taste, loss of appetite or acne, to serious effects such as impaired immune function and delayed wound healing.

Zinc deficiencies are most common in older adults, vegetarians and pregnant women who are outputting much of their nutritional resources into their growing babes.

Vegetarians and vegans are at risk for zinc deficiency, as the most abundant sources of zinc tend to be animal proteins. Zinc can, of course, be found in plant sources such as legumes and grains, but they must be consumed in greater quantities. 2016 is the year of the pulse, after all, which are great sources of plant-based zinc.

Pregnant women should pay great attention to their zinc levels, as the mineral plays a huge role in growth and development in unborn babies. Prenatal vitamins tend to load women with folate and iron, which are also important for fetus development. However, these minerals decrease the bioavailability of zinc or our bodies absorption ability. Because low levels of zinc can lead to premature delivery and low birth weight, women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant should talk to their doctors about the best zinc supplements.

So how much zinc do you need? Adults 19 and over need between 8 and 11 mg. Pregnant women should focus on getting a full 11 mg and lactating or breastfeeding women should aim for 12.

Looking to add more zinc to your diet? Here’s a list of 11 plant-based foods packed with zinc.

1. Chickpeas

2. Lentils

3. Almonds

4. Sunflower seeds

5. Oatmeal

6. Chia seeds

7. Pumpkin seeds

8. Kidney beans

9. Tofu

10. Tempeh

11. Cashews

Looking for creative ways to add zinc to your diet? Oat flour lends these vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies a zinc boost.


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